Mervo continued its undefeated season with a dominating 35-0 win over Towson in the second round of the 3A North Regional playoffs Friday.
Mervo quarterback Kelin Kimbrough has made dazzling plays through the air and on the ground all season and, against the Generals, it was his legs that led the way with a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Despite the successful outing, Kimbrough was quick to point out that there is still plenty of room for improvement moving forward.
“We had a few penalties that set us back on some drives, but the main thing is that we have to try and get back on the sticks,” Kimbrough said. “Staying on the sticks has been key all year. We had a problem early in the season.
“We’ve got multiple guys that can break a big play at any moment. I can do it with my legs if needed be and I did it today. So, the guys trust in me, trust in my calls and my checks and that’s the biggest thing. No matter how far off of the sticks we are, which we don’t want to be, they trust my decision-making and they trust that I’m going to get us where we need to be.”
With the victory, Mervo (11-0) advances to the 3A State Quarterfinals. The eight teams in the classification that won their second-round playoff games will now be re-seeded based on the MPSSAA point system in regular-season play, which will likely set up a match-up for Mervo against Westminster next weekend.
Kyle Parker got the Mustangs on the board against Towson in the first quarter, scoring on a 23-yard rushing touchdown. Kimbrough then followed Parker’s score with a four-yard rush for a touchdown with just 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The score remained 14-0 heading into halftime and, although Towson started the second half by recovering an onside kick, Mervo grabbed the momentum right back by forcing a turnover on downs. Later in the third quarter, Kimbrough scored his second touchdown on a 16-yard scamper to increase the lead to 21.
Tyree Williams (19-yard rushing score) and Daeryl Fletcher (52-yard fumble recovery for touchdown) helped the Mustangs pad their lead down the stretch.
Mervo’s defense did the rest, pitching the team’s seventh shutout of the season.
“We pride ourselves on being a defensive program,” said Mervo coach Patrick Nixon. “The offense is catching up this year — they are doing a hell of a job. It’s been a pleasant surprise. We lost a lot of guys from last year’s team on defense. We only had two returning starters.
“I’m just proud of the guys that bought in and got better each and every day and every week. They definitely bought into the game plan and executed.”
For Towson, it was the team’s second playoff appearance in school history and last Saturday’s win against City marked the first postseason victory for the program. Head coach Ryan Pittillo said that his group has a lot to be proud of, even in defeat.
“We did a really good job,” Pittillo said. “It’s just the second time ever making the playoffs in Towson history and the first playoff win in Towson history, that’s a lot to be proud of. Damone Moore played well all year and our guys really fought.
“We had two turnovers inside our own 20. 14-0 at the half against a good team — that’s a good job. Then a scoop and score ... it’s tough to beat a good team like that, especially when it’s three turnovers.”