Greg Trogdon was the mastermind behind Woodlawn's offense during his two years as an assistant before leaving this year to become football coach at Milford Mill.
So it became Trogdon's idea to play against his former team -- and his childhood friend, Woodlawn coach Leonard Hart -- on the latter's homecoming yesterday. Trogdon got his wish, in addition to an emotionally charged 32-13 loss before a crowd of about 1,000 at Woodlawn.
Officials ended the Baltimore County 4A-3A League game with 3:14 remaining as players left their respective benches for a brief on-field fracas. Four players from Woodlawn and two from Milford Mill were ejected and will miss next week's games, in accordance with county rules.
The coaches embraced after the game.
"My defense played great, my offense just didn't show up. It was a really emotional game, tough to go against kids I practically raised," said Trogdon, who served with Hart as an assistant to Reggie White last fall and was a member of Hart's wedding party. "We figured one day, he'd have his program and I'd have mine," Hart said. "We knew it would come to this eventually, but that didn't make it any easier."
It was the sixth straight win for Woodlawn, which trailed 7-0 early after a 1-yard run by quarterback Andrae Brown.
But the Warriors (6-0 league, 6-1 overall) stormed back for a 26-7 halftime lead behind All-Metro quarterback Mark McKenzie and a defense anchored by second-team All-Metro lineman Jesse Hayes, Deron Bracewell, Dennis Jackson and Ben Noriega. Noriega returned one of two interceptions 60 yards for the game-winning touchdown and also had a sack.
Milford Mill's Dante Smith, who replaced Brown at quarterback late in the game, found Homer Griffin on a pass play that covered 60 yards and brought the Millers to within 26-13 with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter. But after his team recovered an onside kick at Woodlawn's 44, Smith was intercepted by Noriega, who followed four blockers down the Woodlawn sideline for the final score.
"My teammates threw some great blocks," said Noriega, who had a dislocated right shoulder popped back into place moments earlier. "I took a helmet shot, knocked my shoulder out. Soon as I came in, they threw it right to me."
McKenzie's 90-yard kickoff return, followed by Brandon Couser's conversion run, gave Woodlawn the lead permanently at 8-7 entering the second quarter. Woodlawn pushed the margin to 14-7 nine minutes before halftime after McKenzie's 15-yard pass to Michael Clarke. Clarke later scored on a 12-yard run for a 20-7 lead.
"We've been waiting for this game since the first day of practice," McKenzie said. "Some people lost their heads, but, otherwise, it was a great game."
With 1:30 left in the half, Woodlawn's Marc Spears scooped a Milford Mill fumble and raced 25 yards into the end zone for the halftime margin.
Milford Mill (5-1, 5-2) gained possession at Woodlawn's 36 on its second possession of the third quarter, and had a chance to get right back into the game. But on fourth-and-four at the Warriors' 8-yard line, Devin Singh was dropped for no gain. The Warriors also thwarted Milford Mill's next drive at the Warriors' 34.
McKenzie and teammates Kenneth Sutton and Joseph Young limited Milford's standout receiver, Dayron Arnold, to two receptions. "We shut down the passing lanes, didn't let No. 84 [Arnold] be the one to beat us," Hart said.
No. 5 Broadneck 28, Glen Burnie 21: Tommy O'Neil's 48-yard touchdown run with 6:45 remaining lifted the Bruins (6-1) to a victory on Glen Burnie's homecoming at Pop Whayland Stadium. The Gophers fell to 4-3.