With local bragging rights on the line yesterday, Baltimore City's Patterson visited Baltimore County's Woodlawn in what marked the 11th football playoff meeting between the two districts since 1993.
"Some trash-talking went on," said Woodlawn linebacker Lenard Leslie. "But we got the last word."
Leslie rushed for one touchdown, made an interception to set up a scoring pass to his twin brother, Lewan, and teammate Justin Ross was 10-for-15 for 232 yards and two touchdowns as the No. 3 Warriors (11-1) won their 10th straight game, 20-14.
The victory ended an eight-game winning streak by No. 11 Patterson (9-3) and gave Woodlawn the Class 4A North regional crown and its ninth state semifinal berth. The Warriors will play at No. 2 Broadneck (12-0) on Friday night.
Patterson still was within striking distance in the game's final 1:40 after recovering a fumble at Woodlawn's 47.
But after driving to the Warriors' 4-yard line, Charles Coughman's fourth-down pass - with no time left - fell shy of a diving Orlando Webb at the Woodlawn 2. The county leads the series, 7-4.
"We had a chance to put it away, but there wasn't time," said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn. "Woodlawn was big, strong, tough - everything we thought they'd be."
Woodlawn's Brandon Jones had a sack, and James Gamble and Kheon Hendricks combined for six tackles for lost yardage as part of a defense that sought to contain Patterson's Thomas Smith (6 feet 1, 217 pounds), who finished with 119 yards and his 29th and 30th touchdowns.
Though held to scarcely more than 100 yards for one of the few times this season, Smith made his contribution felt nevertheless.
Smith threw a 53-yard option pass to Webb and rushed for 32 yards and a 14-yard scoring run in an eight-play, 82-yard drive. His effort, and Coughman's conversion run, had Patterson up 8-7 with 7:50 left in the first half.
Later, Smith's 4-yard run tied the score at 14-14, ending a four-play, 65-yard drive midway through the third quarter.
"I think we hit him like he hasn't been hit before," Lenard Leslie said. "But he still did his thing."
The Clippers' defense was equally tough, limiting six Woodlawn rushers to a combined 56 yards. DeShawn Barrett and Ronnie Williams recovered fumbles, and Barrett, Eugene Land and Stanley Epps all had sacks.
Coughman (80 yards passing, 52 rushing) contributed to an offense that generated 303 total yards, but Ross twice capitalized on his teammates' defense for scores.
One play after Lenard Leslie's interception, Ross found Lewan Leslie for a 44-yard touchdown pass, putting Woodlawn up 7-0 with 9:26 left in the first quarter.
Ross later engineered a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive for a 14-8 lead 1:29 before halftime, contributing 68 passing yards to a march that ended with Lenard Leslie's 2-yard scoring run on fourth-and-goal.
With the score tied at 14 with 1:29 left in the third quarter, Ross took advantage of Ronnie Brown's fumble recovery, sending a 75-yard scoring pass to Keith Mallory on the next play.
"We saw on film that we could take advantage of their one-on-one coverage," Ross said. "I just led our receivers and they'd make the play."
Before the game, Woodlawn coach Leonard Hart said Wrenn, 57, hugged him and told him, "I'm proud of you." Wrenn once coached Hart, 31, in an all-star game at the end of the latter's senior year at Mervo in 1989.
"It meant a lot to me that he did that," Hart said. "But today, I coached with the best, and our team banged with the best."
Patterson 0 8 6 0 - 14
Woodlawn 7 7 6 0 - 20
W-Lew. Leslie 44 pass from Ross (Bias kick) P-Smith 14 run (Coughman run) W-Len. Leslie 2 run (Bias kick) P-Smith 4 run (run failed) W-Mallory 75 pass from Ross (run failed)