"What better high school football game could you see anywhere?" asked Randallstown coach John Buchheister. "You had two unbeaten teams tied 7-7 at halftime."
That tie with Oxon Hill lasted all of one play. Buchheister's No. 1-ranked Rams accepted an offsides penalty to their 31-yard line negating the first down of the second half. Then Larry zTC Washington ran off right guard, cut back to his left and raced 69 yards for his 32nd touchdown this season.
Was it a special play designed at halftime?
"Nah," said Buchheister. "He did that on his own. You don't get this far unless you have the big gun, and we've got him."
Washington, who finished with 202 yards and scored another touchdown, will lead the Rams against Thomas Wootton Saturday at Westminster (2 p.m.) for the Class 4A state championship.
Washington has rushed for 2,020 yards on the year. It is believed he is the first area back ever to top the 2,000-yard mark.
Randallstown (12-0) has not won a state Class 4A championship since 1984.
Buchheister was mildly surprised that Wootton was a 20-7 winner in the other Class 4A semifinal over defending state champ Springbrook, the Washington, D.C., area's No. 1-ranked team.
"We've scouted them," Buchheister. "We're only interested in looking at Wootton. They've got some size. They are fast and their secret weapon is their kicker."
Indeed, Wootton (12-0) had a pair of 31-yard field goals from Geoff Pearce to seal the victory over Springbrook. The Patriots also scored on a 99-yard kickoff return and on a 35-yard fumble recovery return.
For area fans, it's easy to think of Randallstown as one-dimensional. The 6-foot, 210-pound Washington draws attention all over the field. His crunching tackle near the end of the first half against Oxon Hill -- he actually used a shoulder block to knock Oxon Hill's Mark McCain right off the field -- fired up the Rams.
But there were lots of other standouts for Randallstown.
Not known for his passing, quarterback Shaun Poulton connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass to end Tyrone Wells after Oxon Hill had scored first.
"That did seem to loosen up their defense," said Poulton. "They just kept creeping up [close to the line of scrimmage to stop Washington], so the pass was open."
Senior running back D.J. Dorsey, who only came out for the team this fall, also sparkled. He rushed for 68 yards, much of it coming as Washington took short breathers on the sideline. Dorsey also killed an Oxon Hill drive with a fumble recovery.
"I never played before this year because I wanted to make sure my academics stayed in order," Dorsey said. At least one college recruiter sought out his father for a quick recruiting chat after the game.
Buchheister also praised center Eric Gertner and right guard Alec Grodnitzky.
"They must have been doing something right, because we had running room in the middle whenever we needed it," said Buchheister. "And be sure to mention this. There were rumors that we would have problems playing at Oxon Hill. None of it was true. Oxon Hill was first class all the way. The coaching staff greeted us cordially, the spectators [estimated at more than 5,000] were perfect. It was just a great experience."