It's becoming clear what opponents shouldn't do against Edmondson: blink.
It only takes a couple minutes before the No. 5 Redskins assume command of a game.
Sixth-ranked Howard watched a 7-0 halftime deficit disappear in a third-quarter flash as Edmondson rolled to a 37-15 victory at Poly yesterday in a state 2A semifinal.
The Redskins (12-0) will collide with defending state champ and undefeated Urbana of Frederick County for the state title next weekend at College Park. Urbana demolished the area's No. 4 team, Hereford, 45-6, in yesterday's other semifinal.
In making its first trip to Byrd Stadium, Edmondson will be the lone area team playing next weekend, and the first Baltimore City school other than Dunbar.
After making short work of the Poets in last week's quarterfinals, the Redskins knocked out the Howard County co-champion Lions (10-2) with three touchdowns within the opening three minutes of the second half, sparked by an opening 90-yard kickoff return by Justus McLeod.
Darryl McCray (77 yards) rushed for two touchdowns for the Redskins, and senior quarterback Eddie Colbert tossed a scoring pass to Danny Dixon en route to their 18 straight win.
"The kids were playing well defensively, we weren't getting anything done offensively," Edmondson coach Pete Pompey said. "We made some adjustments at halftime and were able to put them in situations that worked to our advantage."
The Redskins turned three Lions turnovers in 22 points in the second half. Howard running back Gerald Smith managed 74 yards against Edmondson's defense.
On Howard's second play from scrimmage after McLeod's return, Dixon stripped the ball from Lions running back Travis Irving and Jemiah Green recovered for the Redskins at the Howard 24.
Three plays later, McCray scored from 6 yards out, then followed with the two-point conversion, giving Edmondson a 16-7 lead.
The next Lions' possession was a near-repeat as Irving fumbled and Raytron Leak recovered for Edmondson at Howard's 37. Colbert found Dixon open down the right side, extending the lead to 22-7 with 8: 04 left in the third quarter.
"Turnovers are turnovers," Howard coach Vince Parnell said. "Travis is one of the reasons why we're here, so I don't give that no significance. Those things happen, and that's part of football."
A promising drive in the fourth quarter for Howard ended with another fumble, this one recovered by Antwan Stevens. Four plays later, McCray ran 16 yards up the middle for his second score and a 30-7 lead with 7: 41 left.
In the first half, however, Howard had the Redskins a little shaken.
Trailing for one of the few times this season, McLeod gave Edmondson the burst it needed, taking the second-half kickoff, finding a seam in the middle and racing 90 yards for the touchdown.
"He [Pompey] told us we never been in this situation before, and we had to find out what we're made of," McLeod said. "We just had to come out play like we're capable of."
At Byrd Stadium
Brunswick vs. Forestville, 3
Gaithersburg vs. Eleanor Roosevelt, 7
Thom. Stone vs. Seneca Valley, 7
Urbana vs. Edmondson, 3