One week after rushing for nearly 250 yards in a win over Poly, Hereford gained only 30 yards on the ground. The Bulls' defense, owner of six shutouts, was bullied by a running game that mirrored their own.
That was the story of last night's 21-7 Class 2A North region title victory at CCBC-Essex by No. 1 Eastern Tech (12-0), whose 18th straight win earned a berth and the home-field advantage in next week's state semifinals.
Eastern Tech tied a school record with its 12th victory of the season - its second of the year over the No. 8 Bulls (9-3) - ending a seven-game winning streak by the two-time defending state champs who were denied their eighth state semifinal berth.
The Mavericks of first-year coach Marc Mesaros earned a state semifinal berth for the first time since 1998, when Eastern Tech went 12-1 under coach Nick Arminio and finished as 3A state runners-up. Eastern Tech plays the winner of today's semifinal between Glenelg and Potomac of Prince George's County.
The Mavericks built a 21-0 lead, generating 327 yards behind Bill Brinegar, Sean Pierce, Eric Borman, Kris Erline, Jordan Distance and Josh Jones. They covered 65 yards in eight plays on their first scoring drive, and 85 yards in 13 plays on their second.
"[Running back] Stephen [Samuel] had a great game, and our line played great. I think Hereford got tired and we wore them out," running back Dietrich Wright said. "We beat them once [24-0] earlier this year, and we did it again. When was the last time a team beat Hereford twice in one season?'
The answer is not ever under ninth-year coach Steve Turnbaugh.
Junior Tom Farmer (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) gave the Mavericks a 7-0 halftime lead on his 28-yard scoring reception from Josh Hager (28-0 as a high school quarterback). It was 14-0 late in the third period after Wright (96 yards) scored his 27th touchdown of the year from a yard, moving him within one score of tying Maryland's all-time career record for touchdowns (86) by Georgetown Prep's Marcus Mason.
Samuel (97 yards) scored his ninth touchdown of the year from 25 yards - one play after teammate Justin Schaffer's interception - and Mitch Troyer's third extra-point kick made it 21-0 as time elapsed to end the third period.
Meanwhile Schaffer, Jones (one sack, one fumble recovery), Distance (one pass breakup), Lamont Smith (two pass breakups) and Farmer, who intercepted his 11th pass of the season, were part of a Mavericks' defense that held Hereford (9-3) to 42 total yards in the first half and 145 for the game.
Wayne Martin had a team-high seven tackles, followed by Greg Pinkney (five) and, with four each, Eugene Thiesen and Brandon Myers.
Only a 10-yard run by Hereford quarterback Andy DePaola with 10 minutes to play kept the Mavericks from earning their eighth shutout of the year, and the 11th shutout of their winning streak.
"We played hard, but they out-played us on a few big plays," said Hereford second-team All-Metro defensive end Billy Rueter, who registered his 24th sack of the year (the 41st of his career) last night. "We played well, but they played a little bit better."
Hereford 0 0 0 7 - 7
Eastern Tech 0 7 14 0 - 21
ET-Farmer 28 pass from Hager (Troyer kick) ET-Wright 1 run (Troyer kick) ET-Samuel 25 run (Troyer kick) H-DePaola 10 run (Dinkins kick)