Woodlawn rallies, falls to T. Johnson, 31-20 Down 17 at half, Warriors get within 3 in quarterfinal

November 16, 1996|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Trailing by 17 points at halftime, Woodlawn's chances against Thomas Johnson looked to be falling as fast as the temperatures at Catonsville Community College last night. The No. 15 Warriors did fight back in the second half, closing to within three, but couldn't make a final push, losing to the Patriots of Frederick County, 31-20, in a state 3A quarterfinal contest.

Thomas Johnson (9-2) advances to the semifinal round, where it will play Damascus of Montgomery County, ranked No. 15 in the Washington area, for a spot in the state title game Thanksgiving weekend. Damascus defeated Thomas Stone of Calvert County, 43-24, in a quarterfinal game last night.

The Patriots, winners of eight straight, built a 23-6 halftime advantage only to see Woodlawn (8-3) close to within 23-20 with 11: 31 remaining. Thomas Johnson turned the momentum back in its favor with a 12-play, 62-yard scoring drive that took more than six minutes for the game's final score.

"The game was much closer than the score indicated," said Woodlawn coach Brian Scriven. "They capitalized on every opportunity they had."

On Woodlawn's ensuing possession at its 19, Omahi Michell broke for a long gain, but was stripped from behind by Leroy Ambush of Thomas Johnson with 5: 21 remaining. It was one of many big plays Thomas Johnson made all evening.

Facing a third-and-seven from its 47 and clinging to a 23-20 lead, Thomas Johnson got a big 19-yard reception from Kris Derwin to keep the drive alive. Ambush later scored on an 11-yard run.

Thomas Johnson rushed for 293 yards in a balanced attack, led by 81 yards from junior fullback Mike Briscoe and 140 all-purpose yards from Randall Jones.

The Warriors also had a strong ground game as junior Tavon Mason rushed for a game-high 118 yards and Antwan Simmons contributed 112.

Down 23-6 at halftime, Woodlawn opened the second half with a 13-play, 67-yard drive, capped by a 11-yard TD carry by Michell with 5: 10 remaining in the third quarter, making it 23-12.

After Woodlawn recovered a fumble by Jones, the Warriors went 49 yards in three plays as Mason raced 34 yards around the left side for a touchdown. A conversion run by Simmons made it a three-point deficit.

"We had a couple of chances to put them away, but they came back and had us on the ropes," said Thomas Johnson coach Ben Wright. "They are a lot bigger than us and ran the ball right at us."

Thomas Johnson rushed for 212 of its 268 total yards in the opening half, building the 17-point cushion.

The Warriors' opening possession was quick and productive, going 68 yards in four plays as Simmons scored on a 1-yard run with 5: 42 remaining. Simmons, who rushed for 71 yards in the first half, highlighted the drive with a 55-yard run on Woodlawn's second play from scrimmage.

But Thomas Johnson put together back-to-back drives, with the help of a Mason fumble, to take a 16-6 lead.

"We didn't step up in the first half," said Simmons, a 5-foot-8 junior. "We had our chances to come back, but we couldn't step up."

Thomas Johnson 8 15 0 8 -- 31

Woodlawn ......6 0 6 8 -- 20

Pub Date: 11/16/96

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