Previewing the state football finals

State football championships

At Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis


TV: WNUV, Ch. 54


WISE (13-0) vs. QUINCE ORCHARD (12-1)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Coaches: DaLawn Parrish, Wise; John Kelley, Quince Orchard

Outlook: Wise has won two of its three state championships over the Cougars, including last year’s 42-7 victory. The Pumas are riding a 41-game winning streak that includes the past two state titles. While last year’s final wasn’t close, Wise won the 2012 title over Quince Orchard, 12-7. The top public-school team in the state poll— ranked second behind only St. Frances — the Pumas have six shutouts and have outscored the opposition by an average of 37.4 points. In the state semifinal, they rolled over No. 2 Howard, 42-7, as John Oliver ran for four touchdowns to boost his season totals to 153 carries for 1,221 yards and 20 touchdowns. Quince Orchard, which won the most recent of its two state championships in 2007, is in the title game for the fourth time in seven years. The Cougars, who defeated North Point, 40-21, in the semifinals, have a more prolific offense, putting up 606 points this fall — the most of any team in the state finals. Their only loss was a 42-41 setback to Bullis in September. Cougars quarterback Doc Bonner, who threw for two touchdowns, ran for one and caught a touchdown pass against North Point, has thrown for 2,134 yards and 24 touchdowns while running for more than 600 yards and 15 touchdowns.


NO. 9 MILFORD MILL (12-1) vs. LINGANORE (11-2)

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Coaches: Reggie White, Milford Mill; Rick Conner, Linganore

Outlook: The last time Milford Mill played for a state title, White was on the team. The Millers won that championship in 1987 and 30 years later, White brings an explosive Milford Mill team to the final. Since a season-opening setback against Tuscarora, Baltimore County’s Division I champion has won 12 straight games, tying No. 1 St. Frances for the Baltimore area’s longest active winning streak. In their first trip to the state semifinals since 2012, the Millers rolled past Long Reach, 33-6, as senior quarterback Brandon Savage had 210 total yards and two passing touchdowns. Savage has been one of the keys to the Millers’ success with his willingness to fill in at quarterback despite not having played the position since recreation ball, and also threw his fifth interception of the season in the semifinal. Running back Troy Scott Jr. (1,107 yards, 24 touchdowns) scored twice, and Desmond Shell, an electric return man, running back and safety, scored off his sixth interception of the season. Linganore, which has won five state championships but none since 2009, has a lot of weapons, too. The Lancers finished with nearly 500 yards of offense in last week’s 51-14 win over Oxon Hill. Davon Butler (231 carries, 1,385 yards, 20 touchdowns) ran for three touchdowns in the semifinal. The Lancers are in the state final for the 11th time while the Millers are in their third.


DAMASCUS (13-0) vs. GWYNN PARK (11-1)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.


Coaches: Eric Wallich, Damascus; Danny Hayes, Gwynn Park

Outlook: Like Wise, Damascus has won two straight state titles and hasn’t lost a game in three years. The Hornets, from Montgomery County, also have a 41-game winning streak. They won the past two Class 3A titles — over Franklin last year and Dundalk in 2015 — and are aiming for their 10th championship. The Hornets are in the state final for the 14th time and have more state titles than every team except Seneca Valley with 12 and Dunbar, also with nine. Gwynn Park reached the title game for the third time. The Yellow Jackets, from Prince George’s County, won their only championship in 2005, and this is their first trip back to the state tournament since, although they’ve been in the playoffs eight times in 10 years. Both teams won their semifinals over Baltimore area teams — the Hornets cruised by Glenelg, 42-7, while Gwynn Park edged No. 13 and previously unbeaten Harford Tech, 16-9. The Hornets rolled up 427 yards of offense in the first three quarters against Glenelg. Running back TD Ayo-Durojaiye scored three touchdowns to improve his season totals to 1,068 yards and 18 touchdowns. For the Yellow Jackets, who found themselves in a 9-9 tie with Harford Tech early in the fourth quarter, an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kamari Brown to Kelvon Brooks with 7:12 left made the difference. The Yellow Jackets have won eight straight games since suffering their only loss to Flowers.


NO. 7 DUNBAR (11-1) vs. FORT HILL (12-1)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Coaches: Lawrence Smith, Dunbar; Todd Appel, Fort Hill

Outlook: Dunbar and Fort Hill don’t see each other every year, but they’re pretty familiar with each other. Two of the most successful teams in state tournament history, they’ve met five times in the state final dating to 1994. Dunbar leads the series 4-1 with Fort Hill’s only victory coming in 1997. The Poets’ 55 playoff wins is a state record while the Sentinels have won 51. Dunbar has won nine state championships, second only to Seneca Valley’s 12 although Damascus also has nine. The Sentinels, from Cumberland, have won six, including the past four to tied the state record for consecutive titles. Dunbar spent the past four years in Class 2A and was a state semifinalist the past two. The Poets rolled through the playoffs with 48-0 wins in the first two rounds and a 52-27 win over last year’s state finalist Havre de Grace in the semifinals. Quarterback Jared Lewis (3,411 passing yards, 27 touchdowns) threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in the semifinal while bookend running backs Alfonzo Graham (1,116 yards, 16 touchdowns) and Andre Brandon (1,120 yards, seven touchdowns), each ran 12 times for two touchdowns and a combined 296 yards. The Sentinels had a tougher route to the title game, edging Allegany, 21-20, in the regional final, and Lackey, 34-33 in overtime, last week. Braeden Askins blocked a field-goal try on the final play of regulation and then made the tackle that stopped Lackey’s 2-point conversion attempt in overtime. Although he didn’t score against Lackey, running back Troy Banks has 1,457 yards and 23 touchdowns.