Football games

November 24, 1995

Today

No. 15 Meade (8-3)

at Gaithersburg (10-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: After their 14-7 upset of top-seeded Arundel (10-1), the eighth-seeded Meade Mustangs (8-3) take on the biggest team they have faced when they play the fourth-seeded Trojans (10-1). Gaithersburg, winner of the 4A West region (Montgomery County schools), defeated fifth-seeded Eleanor Roosevelt, 22-7, to advance to the Class 4A semis. The Trojans won state championships in 1986 and 1992 and are 9-1 in postseason play under 38-year coach John Havrill while Meade is making its fifth appearance (2-4 overall, lost in 1986 semis) since the school opened in 1977. Gaithersburg averages nearly 300 pounds per man on its interior line with two-way tackle Jimmy Wingo at 6 feet 3, 340 pounds; has an outstanding quarterback in Cornell Hawkins (injured thumb on his throwing hand last week) and a superb running back in Derek Lancaster. The Trojans average 23 points and give up only 6.9 per game. In 11 games, Meade has averaged 21.2 points with running back Roman Harrison as the go-to guy. Harrison has 1,631 yards rushing and owns school season records for touchdowns (19) and total points (122). The Mustangs have given up 15.3 points a game, but last week their defensive unit, led by linebacker Wilson Rodriguez, shut down an Arundel offense that had been averaging over 30 points a game. Damion Moss (11 interceptions) and Willie Thomas (six interceptions) lead the secondary on a team with 25 interceptions.

Tomorrow

No. 5 C. Milton Wright (10-1)

vs. No. 1 Dunbar (10-1)

at Morgan State

Time: 1 p.m.

Outlook: Dunbar, Baltimore City's 3A champ and last year's 2A state champ with a 12-0 record, goes up against perennial Harford County champ C. Milton Wright in the Class 3A state semifinal. The game features two proven programs, with the Mustangs making their eighth straight playoff appearance under year coach Steve Harward, and the Poets reaching the semifinals for the third time in as many coaching seasons for Stanley Mitchell. Each has a marquee player. The Mustangs boast 6-4, 190-pound All-Metro wide receiver-defensive back Duane Fisher, who is headed for the University of Virginia; Dunbar has All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year Tommy Polley, who is being recruited for basketball as well. Each team has outscored opponents on average by about 24-8. C. Milton Wright has four shutouts, Dunbar two. The game could come down to which team makes the fewest miscues. The Mustangs are coming off a near-flawless 28-0 win over then-No. 8 Randallstown, but have reached the state finals just once -- in a 1990 loss to McDonough. Dunbar's defense has earned a reputation for capitalizing on other team's mistakes, but has made plenty of them as well.

Southern-Garrett (9-2)

at No. 8 Havre de Grace (8-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Outlook: Havre de Grace, which has won eight straight, does it with quality, particularly at the skill positions, rather than with quantity, because only 18-20 players will be in uniform for this Class 1A state semifinal. Senior QB Billy Jackson (1,550 passing yards, metro-high 25 TD passes, 10 interceptions, plus eight interceptions as a defensive back) teams with WR J. R. Clark (25 catches for 627 yards and a metro-high 13 TDs). Senior RB Wilbur Ballard has rushed for nearly 1,000 yards, and a 7.5 average. S Tim Wilson has more than 100 tackles. The Warriors average 335 yards per game, but give up 275. This is the first time Havre de Grace has been past the first round since 1988 (there was a first-round loss in 1992), coach Tom Marron's first year in his second tour of duty at the school. Southern is in the playoffs for the eighth time in Tom Woods' 16 years as coach. It lost only to 2A semifinalist Fort Hill and Beall, and gained revenge for the latter (30-20) with a 20-7 playoff triumph. The offensive line averages 238 pounds (Havre de Grace is around 200), and has made enough room for junior Aaron Newcomb to run for 1,252 yards and 12 TDs. Howard Crosco has 834 yards and 11 TDs. The Rams have scored at least three touchdowns in all but two games, whereas Havre de Grace has averaged 27 points in its eight-game streak.

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