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South Carroll smothered by Douglass-PG in 2A semifinal

OXON HILL — All week long, South Carroll readied itself to face a monstrous, four-headed Douglass-PG backfield in the Class 2A state semifinals. Like their own back, Chris Gavin, any of those Eagle runners were capable of a big game.

The preparation was there, and the game plan was set in motion from the opening whistle. Once the teams got on the field Saturday at Oxon Hill High School, however, the execution fell short.

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Behind Thomas Myers' three rushing touchdowns, quarterback Devin Butler's 105 yards on the ground and Mikale Makle's two-way effort, the Eagles rolled to a 43-0 victory over the visiting Cavaliers (9-4), setting up a Class 2A state title game next week against Dunbar.

"Even during the week it was raining and snowing and sleeting, but we still came out here and practiced," said Makle, who turned an interception in the third quarter into a 63-yard rushing score on the team's ensuing possession. "We knew they had a good offense, and a strong, heavy run. We just practiced tackling all week, and everybody came out and executed."

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Though the score was the most lopsided defeat of South Carroll's season, Douglass' biggest triumph was keeping Gavin in check.

Carroll County's leading rusher entered Saturday's game having already set school and county records for yardage. Against the Eagles, however, he was held to just 14 yards on nine attempts.

"Our guys, they swarmed to the football," Douglass coach J.C. Pinkney said of his defense. "They gang tackled, and that's what you need to do to tackle a kid like [Gavin]."

The Eagles (13-0) pounded the ball down the field on their opening drive on eight plays, including seven rushes. Butler scored from 12 yards out.

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On its next possession, Douglass took over deep in its own territory. The Eagles set up their second score with a 48-yard pass to Akiva Wedge up the seam midway through the first quarter.

A few plays later, Myers nabbed the first of his two touchdowns, this one from five yards out.

"I knew they'd throw deep, I just thought our defenders were better against their receivers and would be able to shut that down," said South Carroll coach Steve Luette. "We slipped here and there, and for one way or another, they were able to get behind us."

South Carroll's first two drives ended in punts.

Douglass' third touchdown of the first half came on a three-yard handoff to Myers. On the previous snap, Butler turned a broken play into a 52-yard gain to set up his offense at the goal line.

The Eagles scored on three of their six possessions in the first half, and it could have been worse had South Carroll junior Silas Kelly not pulled in a one-handed interception in the end zone during the second quarter.

The second half was more of the same, with Wedge taking a handoff eight yards for the score. Then, after Makle intercepted Cavaliers quarterback Andrew Louder's deep pass attempt, the senior took a handoff on the ensuing possession for the long score.

Myers punched it in one more time in the fourth quarter for the team's final touchdown.

The Eagles return to M&T Bank Stadium for the first time since back-to-back appearances in 2011 and 2012. With no state title to the program's credit, Makle hopes the team's younger players learn from those who have experience playing on the state's biggest stage.

"I want them to be excited to be there, but I also want them to know that it's not all about having fun," he added. "It's business, too."

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