When Franklin played Dundalk earlier this year, the Indians posted a 23-point victory over the Owls. The teams met again in the Class 3A North Region final on Friday, and it was Franklin's night once again.
The visiting Indians got a special teams touchdown before they even gained possession, and that seemed to set the tone as No. 10 Franklin raced to a 28-point halftime lead and rolled to a 42-7 victory over No. 11 Dundalk
Franklin advances to the state semifinal next weekend. Franklin won the state title in 2013 and 2014 and made it to the finals in 2016, where Damascus beat the Indians, 14-12.
Franklin (10-2) simply had too much speed in different ways for Dundalk (10-2). The Owls moved the ball at times thanks to some good work from quarterback Treshawn Ray and got into Indian territory but couldn't come up with many big plays the way Franklin did.
But Dundalk also proved to be too much of a gracious host. The Owls turned the ball over four times in the first half, twice helping Franklin score.
Franklin scored before it even ran a play. The Indians' Elijah Solomon blocked a punt near the Dundalk 30, and the ball rolled back to the 7-yard line, where Montre Harris scooped it up near the right sideline and scored with 9:19 left. Simon Spath added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
"I think that gave us tremendous momentum from the very beginning," Franklin coach Anthony Burgos said. "I think it kind of set the tone. This team has overcome (issues) all year. This team has been motivated since the beginning of the year."
Franklin made it 14-0 three plays into the second quarter when Jonathan Smith ran for a 5-yard score, which capped a 57-yard drive. Elijah Solomon had the big play of the drive, a 46-yard run that gave the Indians first-and-goal at the 6-yard line.
Dundalk's third turnover gave Franklin the ball at the Owls' 31, and the Indians scored moments later when quarterback Vernon Brown threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Corey Crawford with 6:34 left in the half for a 21-0 lead.
The Owls then punted on their next possession, and Franklin needed just four plays to score again, this time on a 1-yard run from Daniel Yarborough with 1:59 left.
Dundalk turned it over for a fourth time on a Yarborough pick on the final play of the first half. Yarborough then started the second half with a 93-yard kickoff return which put Franklin at the 5-yard line, and Solomon ran for a 2-yard score on second down, which made it 35-0.
"I knew something was up," Yarborough said. "I knew we were going to play well. The intensity was great in practice this week. We knew they like to get to the outside. We wanted to stop that. "We wanted to start out with the early jump. Then, we kept our foot on the gas."
Class 4A East
North Point 46, No. 14 South River 7: Another upset was not in the cards for South River.
Unbeaten North Point extended their reign, dispatching South River in the 4A East final. Senior running back Joe Foy sparked the Seahawks (7-5) early with a first-drive touchdown, but the Eagles (12-0) held them to three scoreless quarters from then on.
Senior wide receiver Malik Lawrence had two touchdowns and an interception for North Point.
With the loss, so goes South River's first real playoff run of the millennium. It had been their deepest since 1986 after the Seahawks recorded their first postseason win in as many years, over top-seeded Broadneck last week.
— Katherine Fominykh, Baltimore Sun Media Group
Class 2A South
No. 6 Glenelg 35, River Hill 0: Senior running back Wande Owens scored three touchdowns and ran for 225 yards on 28 carries, and Glenelg (12-0) beat rival River Hill (8-4) at home to win the 2A South regional championship.
It's the third straight region title for the Gladiators, who will be the No. 1 seed and host a 2A state semifinal game on Nov. 23 or 24, and their fourth in the last five years.
Owens scored on a 24-yard run on their opening possession and again on a 13-yard scamper early in the second quarter to extend the lead to 14-0. He added 61-yard score on the second play of the third quarter to make it 21-0.
On their next possession, Michael Doughty caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Reiff on a fourth-and-three to cap a 13-play, 93-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock, and Kyle Dry scored on a 16-yard run to start the running clock midway through the fourth quarter.
Defensively, Glenelg forced two turnovers and never allowed River Hill into the red zone. The Gladiators also shutout the Hawks, 12-0, on Oct. 19.
"That's a tremendous accomplishment by our defense. All year, coach [Tim] Cullen has had those guys playing really, really well," Gladiators coach Butch Schaffer said. "It's a great feeling to beat River Hill, and it's even better to beat them twice."
— Tim Schwartz, Baltimore Sun Media Group
Class 3A West
Linganore 52, Westminster 20: Mistakes were going to likely become magnified in the Class 3A West region final between Westminster and Linganore, where the Owls were looking to put together a near flawless performance and grab a big road playoff win.
The Lancers limited their miscues. Westminster did not.
Four first-half turnovers put the Owls in an early hole, one that proved too difficult to overcome. Linganore took full advantage — the Lancers scored on five of their six drives in the half and rolled to a victory to capture the regional championship.
Lancers running back Davon Butler had more than 200 rushing yards in the first half and scored two touchdowns in the game. Speedy wideout Joseph Felton had five catches for 91 yards and a TD. Ryan Leyh, Linganore's senior quarterback, fooled the Owls' defense with a long touchdown run on fourth down.
— Pat Stoetzer, Baltimore Sun Media Group
No. 1 St. Frances 64, West Toronto Prep 0: The host Panthers finished the regular-season with a perfect 9-0 record. St. Frances built a 44-0 lead in the first half.
No. 5 Dunbar 41, Reginald F. Lewis 0: The Poets (11-0) dominated the Class 1A North region final against the Falcons (8-4).
No. 8 Mervo 21, Paint Branch 0: The Mustangs (10-1) stunned the host Panthers (10-2) to win the 4A North region title.