When Milford Mill High football coach Bob Greene told reporters that his team could beat Wilde Lake because the Wildecats weren't aggressive, some thought Greene had come up with a new version of his run-and-shoot offense -- run your mouth and shoot yourself in the foot.
But there was a method to Greene's madness. The first-year coach knew his Millers were no physical match for the second-ranked Wildecats in yesterday's state Class 1A semifinal, so he tried to use psychology on the Wildecats. Maybe in an effort to make the Wildecats too aggressive.
And it worked, but only for one play on the Wildecats' first drive, when a Wilde Lake player was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for talking too much.
The Millers needed more than mind games to handle the Wildecats, who cruised to a 22-0 first-half lead en route to a 42-0 victory before a crowd estimated at 2,000 at Wilde Lake.
Wilde Lake (12-0), which won the Class 2A title last season and has won 25 straight, will meet Smithsburg (11-1) in the state final Saturday at 4 p.m. at Byrd Stadium. Smithsburg beat Joppatowne, 37-6, in yesterday's other Class 1A semifinal.
"They are a super team and I knew they were a super team," Greene said after the game. "I wanted to get my guys pumped up. I came out and scouted them, I knew they had good athletes. When you have athletes like that team has, all you have to do is roll the ball out there."
And when you have a coach making statements like Greene, all you need is a copy machine. Wilde Lake posted copies of the stories containing Greene's comments in its locker room and also had an enlarged computer print out that read "Big Boys
Not Aggressive, Bob Greene".
Inspiration was not a problem for Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall.
"It over-inspired them," said DuVall. "Actually, they came out smoking and wanted to show they are really an aggressive team. In fact, we are aggressive on defense."
Said linebacker Brent Guyton, who led a defense that limited Milford Mill to 89 yards of total offense: "It inspired me a lot. I'll tell you the truth, I only got two hours of sleep last night."
Wilde Lake gained 272 yards total offense and could have had more, but the Wildecats enjoyed good field position throughout the game.
Wilde Lake's poorest field position to begin a drive was its 31, but the Wildecats scored a touchdown on that drive. Wilde Lake started seven of its 12 drives inside Milford Mill's 29.
Senior running backs Damon Hamlin and Andre Martin were the keys to the offense. Hamlin had 15 carries for 96 yards and three touchdowns, and Martin had 11 carries for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Wildecats defense and special teams bottled up Milford Mill (8-4). The Millers started eight of their 12 drives inside their own 20.
"Field position was a major factor, and that's all part of the special teams doing what they had to do," said DuVall.
Wilde Lake shut down the Millers' run-and-shoot offense and quarterback Jerome Dennis, who completed 10 of 25 for 62 yards and had one interception. Dennis, who threw for more than yards during the regular season, was sacked three times, including one for a safety by Tony Farace in the second quarter.