South Carroll ousts Milford Mill, 27-18



South Carroll junior Matt Greene said he woke up yesterday, ate waffles and watched a little TV. It was a fairly ordinary start to what evolved into a career day for the reserve running back.

With top back Ryan Hash sputtering against a defense designed to stop him, Greene gave the No. 15 Cavaliers the spark they needed, rushing for a career-high 121 yards on 15 carries and scoring a touchdown to lead the Carroll County team to a 27-18 win over No. 8 Milford Mill in the Class 2A state semifinals at Woodlawn.

"That was extremely big," South Carroll coach Butch Schaffer said. "Milford Mill has a tremendous defense ... and they did a great job game-planning. Fortunately, Matt was able to step up."

South Carroll (10-3), which finished 3-7 a year ago, will face Potomac in the Class 2A state title game, Saturday at noon at M&T Bank Stadium. It will be the Cavaliers' first trip to the finals after losing in the semifinals two years ago.

To get there, however, they needed the effort by Greene, as well as a standout defensive game by defensive back Jason Burns. Burns, also the team's quarterback, turned in an inspired performance, coming from the secondary to make several key tackles and intercepting two of Robert Jackson's passes, the second leading to Greene's 17-yard scoring run that extended South Carroll's lead to 20-12 late in the third quarter.

"He was running through some alleys making some big plays," Milford Mill coach Reggie White said of Burns. "We tried to do something with the passing game, but we just couldn't get it clicking. They game-planned us and did a great job."

Despite 155 yards rushing on 19 carries by senior Rodney Webb, and another 82 by teammate Joe Embree, the Millers (11-2) had difficulty finishing drives. They also hurt themselves on special teams, missing a pair of extra points, as well as a 26-yard field goal that would have given them the lead early in the second half.

A mistake on special teams also cost the Millers the lead when, leading 6-0, South Carroll's Jason Bartee picked up a bouncing kickoff at the 22, cut behind a blocker and went 78 yards down the left sideline midway through the first quarter. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown against Milford Mill all season.

The Cavaliers then extended their lead to 13-6 when Burns connected with Bartee on a 20-yard touchdown pass later in the quarter.

Milford Mill got back into the game midway through the second quarter when Antoine Staten blocked a punt near the goal line and Torrance Kelly returned it 3 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 13-12. Later, down 20-12, the Millers again answered when Jackson threw a lateral to Embree, who ran 33 yards untouched down the sideline.

The two-point conversion failed when Hash knocked a pass away from receiver Teddy Dargan in the end zone.

Leading 20-18, South Carroll then sealed the win with an 11-play, 70-yard drive late in the fourth quarter, capped when Burns, on a 4th-and-goal from the 7, rolled right and threw back across the field to Hash, who followed his blockers into the end zone.

"If we rolled to the right, their whole defense moved," Burns said. "So we felt like that play was going to work for us."

"We practiced it all week," Greene said. "I really didn't think it was going to work, but it worked good."

South Carroll 13 0 7 7 - 27

Milford Mill 6 6 0 6 - 18

MM-McDonald 5 pass from Jackson(kick failed)

SC-Bartee 78 kickoff return (Ritgert kick)

SC-Bartee 20 pass from Burns (kick failed)

MM-Kelly 3 blocked punt return (kick failed)

SC-Greene 17 run (Ritgert kick)

MM-Embree 33 run (pass failed)

SC-Hash 7 pass from Burns (Ritgert kick)

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