Warriors come unglued in rain, wash out, 32-6 Early Thom. Johnson TDs sink Woodlawn in mud

Class 3A semifinal

November 22, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In last season's playoff loss to Thomas Johnson, Woodlawn trailed by 17 points at halftime and nearly came back. Last night, the No. 9-ranked Warriors got another opportunity at the Patriots, ranked ninth in the state, for a spot in next weekend's Class 3A state championship game.

This time, the Warriors fell behind 12-0, but any hope of a comeback was washed away, literally.

Steady rain turned the Catonsville Community College field into a quagmire, and Woodlawn was never able to get on track, losing 32-6.

The Patriots (11-1) from Frederick will meet Wilde Lake for the Class 3A state title at the University of Maryland's Byrd stadium.

Mike Briscoe rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and Ricky Roberts added 90 and a touchdown as Thomas Johnson scored on its first three possessions of the second half to secure its first trip to the state finals since 1982.

After racking up more than 350 rushing yards in its quarterfinal victory over Aberdeen, Woodlawn's offense was unable to sustain any momentum last night.

Leading rusher Tavon Mason, who ran for more than 1,500 yards during the regular season, only had 36, and Reggie Danage didn't play after the first quarter because of back spasms.

"If you live and die by speed, you need conditions that are favorable," said Woodlawn coach Brian Scriven. "Thomas Johnson showed why they are a great program. They simply played smash-mouth football."

Woodlawn's lone bright spot came from Antwan Simmons, who scored on a 22-yard run with 1: 59 remaining in the game.

Coming out of the locker room down by 12 points, Woodlawn moved the ball to midfield, but Thomas Johnson, keying its defense to Mason all night, knocked him back for a 3-yard loss and the Warriors had to punt.

The Patriots then went 66 yards in five plays as Briscoe broke through for a 46-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 20-0 with 34 left in the third quarter.

After a turnover by Woodlawn on a bad punt snap, Briscoe scored from 3 yards. Kris Derwin went 44 yards for another touchdown to make it 32-0 with 11: 10 left in the game.

"The weather proved to be more of a hindrance to Woodlawn," said Thomas Johnson coach Ben Wright. "The field had at least three inches of mud, but we were able to overcome it."

The conditions made an immediate impact, with three fumbles occurring in the first eight plays from scrimmage.

Thomas Johnson took advantage of Woodlawn's first turnover for its first score. Roberts went around the left side for a 44-yard touchdown with 8: 21 left.

The lead grew to 12-0 as lineman Paul Lively fell on a Woodlawn fumble in the end zone in the second quarter.

"The weather didn't bother us last week," said Mason, who was (( held without a touchdown for the first time this year. "Thomas Johnson was just more aggressive and wanted it more than us."

Pub Date: 11/22/97

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