Patterson coach Roger Wrenn figured his team's best chance of defeating Eleanor Roosevelt was to deviate from its run-oriented offense and mix in a passing game.
The Clippers' air attack, however, didn't fly.
Roosevelt, meanwhile, rose to the occasion on both sides of the ball, as the Raiders of Prince George's County cruised to a 52-6 victory yesterday in a Class 4A state semifinal at Poly's Lumsden-Scott Stadium.
The Raiders (11-1), seeking their first state title, will meet Gaithersburg of Montgomery County for the championship 7 p.m. Friday at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.
Eighth-ranked Patterson (10-2), making its sixth state playoff appearance in the seven seasons Baltimore City schools have been eligible, trailed just 10-6 midway through the second quarter.
But a muffed punt by the Clippers led to a safety and seemed to ignite the Raiders.
Roosevelt went on to score touchdowns on all six of its remaining possessions. The Raiders scored 34 unanswered points in the second half and 45 consecutive points overall after taking a 7-6 lead following the first quarter.
Four second-half Patterson turnovers proved costly, as Roosevelt started four of its five possessions in the half in Clippers' territory.
Patterson crossed midfield just twice all day, and its best starting field position was its own 36. Raiders kicker Dan Remsburg had five touchbacks on kickoffs.
Roosevelt, led by junior running back Edwin Rios (131 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries), rushed for 299 yards and finished with 346 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Wendall Williams ran for two touchdowns and threw for another.
"I've seen them. I know how good they are," Wrenn said. "They're just an awfully good team offensively and defensively and kicking. They pinned us deep with field position that was very difficult for us to get out.
"I also thought we played uncharacteristically not sharp. We made a lot of mistakes, but I think they unnerved us."
It was Patterson, known for its smash-mouth offense, which tried to unnerve the Raiders by throwing.
"We saw [Patterson] a couple times during the season, and they mixed in some things today that we hadn't seen," Roosevelt coach Rick Houchens said.
The Raiders, however, seemed to adapt quickly. Clippers quarterback Gamayel Scott completed just two of nine passes for minus-5 yards with one interception.
Patterson senior running back Tony Smithson, who entered the game with 1,483 yards and 25 touchdowns rushing, was held to 38 yards on 12 carries. He also threw one pass, which was intercepted.
Rashidi Scott picked up some of the slack for the Clippers with 111 yards rushing on 10 carries, although 73 yards came on one play.
The game began as if it were going to be a shootout. On the second play from scrimmage, Rios ran 70 yards on a sweep down the left sideline for a touchdown to give Roosevelt a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Patterson threw incomplete passes on first and second down before Scott scored a 73-yard touchdown on a draw play up the middle. The run for the two-point conversion failed and it was 7-6 only 1: 18 into the game.
Roosevelt was just getting started, however, while the Clippers were limited to only 93 yards of offense the rest of the game.
Remsburg's 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter extended the Raiders' lead to 10-6.
Roosevelt then seized the momentum when Rashidi Scott was unable to handle a low snap on a punt and was tackled for a safety.
The Raiders next drove 55 yards on nine plays, capped by Williams' 1-yard touchdown run, to take an 18-6 lead at halftime.