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A new challenge for New Town football team after repeat trip to 2A state semifinals

New Town Titans quarterback Brian Williams (1) passes against the Owings Mills Eagles during the first Ravens Rise game of the 2019 season, at Owings Mills High Fri., Sept. 13, 2019.
New Town Titans quarterback Brian Williams (1) passes against the Owings Mills Eagles during the first Ravens Rise game of the 2019 season, at Owings Mills High Fri., Sept. 13, 2019. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

The New Town football team made the Class 2A state semifinals last year before suffering a 35-0 loss at unbeaten Glenelg. The Titans are back again this season and hoping for better results.

This time, No. 13 New Town heads to Potomac for a 7 p.m. matchup in the Class 2A state semifinals. Playing in road games is often difficult for teams at this time of year, but the Titans don’t seem to mind.

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New Town (9-3) has won seven of eight games this season when playing away from their home field in Owings Mills. The Titans also are coming off of a big upset, their 3-0 overtime victory against Douglass of Prince George’s County, seeded first in the quarterfinals. New Town was seeded eighth.

New Town coach Mike Savage said the key for his team was stopping the Douglass triple-option. The Eagles got inside the Titans’ 5-yard line four times and never scored.

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“We weathered the storm, and we made it out against Douglass,” Savage said. “Now, [the players] want to out-do what they did last year. They’re very anxious to win.”

Potomac beat No. 7 Milford Mill, 33-26, in one of last week’s other Class 2A state quarterfinals. Milford Mill coach Reggie White knows both teams since his group played New Town in the season opener Sept. 6.

The Titans gave the Millers a battle that night, playing tough defense, and Milford Mill barely escaped with a 14-12 victory. White thinks that New Town could have a chance against that Wolverines.

“This is not the first time they have been here, so they are aware of the level of competition and the intensity of this game,” White said. “If they play their type of ball, and that is defense first, they will win.”

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On offense, New Town will rely on leading rusher Zavion Woodard and quarterback Brian Williams, who can run and throw well. Savage said his offensive line needs to pick up and deal with the schemes of the Potomac defensive line and give Woodard and Williams time to cause trouble.

Elijah Lawrence is a senior who starts at offensive tackle and defensive end, and the team has rallied around him as his mother has been battling through several health issues. This is a week that Lawrence is enjoying because the Titans are one step away from an appearance in the state title game.

“It’s a lot of fun, especially when you know what’s right in front of you, and we have to work hard for it,” Lawrence said. “We work hard every day.”

The defense uses what Savage calls a “rolling 40,” something that employs a variety of formations with four players on the front line. In addition to Lawrence, Gerrell Johnson (linebacker, committed to Massachusetts), Walter Ransom (tackle) and Kendal Marks (cornerback) have played well this season, and Savage is hoping for more of the same at Potomac (11-1).

Savage, now in his second year as the New Town coach, said he’s hoping his team learned from last year’s loss and does better the second time around.

“We got this far last year, and we were sent home,” he said. “That game last year, we didn’t push hard enough. We kind of got schooled up, and you learn from that."

2A state semifinals

NEW TOWN (6-3) AT POTOMAC (8-1)

Friday, 7 p.m.

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