As field narrows, class of area is 2A


Five Baltimore metro area football teams are still standing after the weekend's state quarterfinals.

All five, three from Class 2A, are set to play at 7 p.m. Friday with hopes of reaching championship games at College Park the weekend of Nov. 30.

Top-ranked Hereford (11-0) of Baltimore County and No. 11 Joppatowne (11-0) of Harford County advanced to the 2A semifinals. Along with Howard County's Oakland Mills (7-4), a 1A semifinalist, they have won state titles.

Making its sixth consecutive postseason, Hereford won a 1A state title in 1997. Oakland Mills claimed the 1998 1A title, and Joppatowne was a Class C (now 1A) state champion in 1975.

No. 4-ranked Meade (10-1) of Anne Arundel will be a host for a 4A semifinal. Unranked City (11-0) from Baltimore City is the third 2A team. Neither City nor Meade has played in a state final.

The top 2A seed, Hereford plays host to City in one semifinal, assuring the local area of at least one team and maybe two in the final at Byrd Stadium. Joppatowne plays host to Middletown of Frederick County in the other 2A matchup of 11-0 teams.

Each of the 2A teams won tough quarterfinals. Hereford slipped past No. 7 Eastern Tech (9-2) on John Dinkins' 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, 10-7.

City won, 20-6, at the home of Potomac (9-2) in Prince George's County, and No. 2 seed Joppatowne won at home, 14-0, over Wicomico (10-0) on two second-half touchdown passes by Dalys Talley.

"I was curious to see how we would respond down there, and our kids stepped up," said City coach George Petrides, whose Knights rebounded from a 6-0 halftime deficit.

"It's been our goal from the beginning of the season to win a state championship, but we've got a really tough game ahead of us before we can get to the final."

Petrides and his staff scouted the Bulls a number of times this season, including Hereford's win Friday night over Eastern Tech.

In turn, Hereford coach Steve Turnbaugh and his staff have watched City play and were there Saturday at Potomac.

"They beat a real good Potomac team," said Turnbaugh, who says his current team is like the Bulls' 1997 state championship squad, except that this one is "bigger and faster."

"City runs their offense very well and they have quality athletes, and they are bigger than we are. I was also impressed with their defense."

Second-seeded Meade (10-1), the lone local team left in Class 4A, plays host to Prince George's Bowie (9-2), which routed No. 13 Patterson (9-2), 49-12.

"We know Bowie is big and tough, but they have to keep up with our speed," said Meade coach Kenny Gray, who has led the Mustangs to a school record for wins.

Meade's speed was evident in its 20-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 9 Old Mill (8-3), featuring an 84-yard touchdown pass play from Antwan Smith to Rodney Jackson.

It was the first time Meade has played a home game in seven playoff appearances.

In the other 4A semifinal, top seed Eleanor Roosevelt (11-0) plays host to defending state champion and fourth seed Gaithersburg (8-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Oakland Mills (7-4) travels to Washington County to face Boonsboro (9-2) in a 1A semifinal. Maurice Shaw ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns as eighth seed Oakland Mills rolled, 47-16, over 12th-ranked Forest Park (9-2).

Fifth-seeded Boonsboro routed Snow Hill, 49-21, and defending 1A champion Elkton (9-2) routed Rising Sun, 55-18, in a Cecil County matchup.

No area teams advanced in 3A. No. 10 Annapolis (8-3), last year's 3A runner-up, was defeated, 27-19, by No. 2 seed Patuxent (11-0), and third seed Randallstown (9-2) was eliminated, 28-12, by Richard Montgomery (10-0).

One 3A semifinal will have the feel of a championship game as 11-time state titlist Seneca Valley (10-0) will play host to Urbana (10-0), which won the past two 2A titles before moving up a classification. The latter has a 48-game winning streak.

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