Joppatowne goes on, 30-24

Mariners claim 2A East championship


High Schools


David Dudley helped carry the Joppatowne offense for much of this season, and the senior came through again last night.

Dudley ran for 205 yards on 34 carries, scored three touchdowns and made a crucial recovery of an onside kick late to help host Joppatowne pull out a 30-24 victory over Stephen Decatur in the Class 2A East Region championship game.

This is Joppatowne's fourth region title in the past five years and puts the Mariners back into the state final four. They lost in the Class 2A state title game in 2001, won Class 1A's state crown two years ago before losing in the championship last year. Joppatowne (10-2) will host Potomac next week in a Class 2A state semifinal.

The Mariners rely heavily on Dudley in their power-I offense and did it again last night. They changed tactics a little, going more to quick tosses that helped the speedy senior get away from the bliztes that Stephen Decatur (7-5) liked to use. The Seahawks had a big and speedy line, but they couldn't stop Dudley or slow the Joppatowne running attack, which finished with 295 yards, running on 55 of 56 plays.

"When you run for over 200 yards in a region championship game, it speaks volumes," Joppatowne coach Bill Waibel said. "He likes to shoulder the load."

Dudley has 1,975 yards and 24 touchdowns this season but didn't get long runs. His 29-yard run in the second quarter was the longest. Dudley scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and added two scores in the fourth period.

"I just had to get what I could get," Dudley said. "The key was to run away from the blitz. ... I think they were confused a little."

Joppatowne took a 9-0 lead that the Seahawks never bounced back from. A safety on a bad punt snap plus quarterback Antoine Brown's 14-yard touchdown run gave the Mariners that lead, and they held a 15-10 lead at the break.

After Decatur quarterback Bobby Hammond threw his second touchdown to Ryan Shank (43 yards) on the second play of the fourth quarter to slice the lead to 22-17, the Mariners and Dudley bounced back. Xavier Martin returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to the Seahawks' 24. Dudley scored on the next play before Martin ran for the two-point conversion.

Dudley then grabbed the onside kick after the Seahawks scored with 3:03 left and ran it back 17 yards. That let Joppatowne run out the clock.

"We knew they had a physical team ... and a good back," said Stephen Decatur coach Bob Knox. "We didn't back down. We just didn't tackle well enough."

South Carroll 21, Middletown 3 -- After South Carroll was shut out in the first half, Ryan Hash ran for three touchdowns and finished with 136 yards as the Cavaliers cruised past the host Knights in the 2A West final.

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