Visiting Douglass of Prince George's County kept No. 11 Eastern Tech waiting an extra 45 minutes for the start of Friday night's Class 2A state semifinal at CCBC-Essex - a combination of a miscommunication and then getting lost on the way.
Once the Mavericks got rolling, however, they were difficult to stop, rushing for 294 yards and taking command with three touchdowns in the final eight minutes of the first half in a 27-12 win.
The Mavericks (12-1) advance to the Class 2A state final at M&T; Bank Stadium, where they will face Queen Anne's at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday. The Baltimore County team will be making its third straight appearance in the final and is shooting for its first title.
To get there, it pushed around a defense that entered the night allowing just 7.6 points per game with seven shutouts.
"Our mantra all week was that we can't let them dictate how we play this game," Mavericks coach Marc Mesaros said.
Douglass (10-3), making its fourth trip to the semifinals this decade, was shooting for its first appearance in the final since 1975.
The Eagles had difficulty stopping the Mavericks' running game all night. Emmanuel Gbor finished with 105 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while quarterback Zach Burkhardt added 91 rushing yards and threw for a pair of touchdowns.
After a scoreless first quarter, Eastern Tech took control with three touchdowns in the final 7:57 of the half.
First, the Mavericks drove deep into Douglass territory on a 39-yard keeper by Burkhardt, then capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive on Marquiese Bannister's 1-yard plunge.
After the Eagles answered on Emmanuel Paul's 39-yard burst through the middle, Eastern Tech struck again when Burkhardt rolled left and fired a 44-yard strike to Criszon Brown, all alone near the goal line.
The Mavericks then got the ball back with just more than a minute left in the half and took full advantage. Bannister hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Burkhardt with 4.9 seconds left, making a one-handed catch on a ball that was thrown behind him, to extend the Mavericks' lead to 21-6.
D 0 6 6 0 - 12
ET 0 21 6 0 - 27
ET-Bannister 1 run (Kratochvil kick)
D-Paul 39 run (run failed)
ET-Brown 44 pass from Burkhardt (Kratochvil kick)
ET-Bannister 12 pass from Burkhardt (Kratochvil kick)
D-McKenzie 70 pass from Barber (run failed)
ET-Gbor 10 run (kick failed)