A throwback for Edmondson coach


December 01, 2006|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun reporter

The last time Dante Jones shared a field with Southern, he was a junior linebacker on a Dunbar squad that was routed, 43-24, in a Class 2A state semifinal in 1993.

Jones, 30, will face the Bulldogs (8-4) in another 2A semifinal tonight at Poly - this time as coach of third-ranked Edmondson (11-1). The winner will play in next weekend's title game at M&T Bank Stadium.

In '93, Southern lost the title game to Damascus, of Montgomery County, 13-6. But in '94, Jones helped the Poets win the city's first state title, 30-15, over Fort Hill, of Allegany County, to complete a 12-0 season.

Edmondson has averaged nearly 35 points in nine straight wins, as it looks to reach the title game for only the second time in school history. Edmondson was runner-up to Urbana in 1999.

Southern has won seven of eight games on the road. The Bulldogs defeated previously unbeaten Queen Anne's and Wicomico in their past two games. They beat Wicomico, 20-19, on a touchdown by 6-foot-2, 250-pound linebacker-running back Eric Foote.

Jones got a firsthand look at Foote in the Bulldogs' season-opening, 21-6 win at Poly, a team his Red Storm defeated, 44-20, on Nov. 3.

"I walked down and stood beside him. I can attest to his stature," Jones said of Foote, who has received scholarship offers from Towson and James Madison. "He's a tough kid - a big, strong, bruising running back. You have to gang-tackle him. I'm impressed by him."

Speed vs. power

Tomorrow's Class 1A semifinal will showcase the speed of 10th-ranked Dunbar against the power of Elkton, of Cecil County.

Elkton coach Bill Russell is looking forward to the matchup between his offensive line - including Joe Hall (6 feet 2, 240 pounds), Chris Pearson (6-3, 230) and Kyle Melvin (5-9, 230) - against a Dunbar defense anchored by linebacker Derek Session and defensive end Gary Onuekwus, who have eight sacks each.

Running backs Tavon Austin and Maurice Portee have combined for 39 touchdowns for the Poets (9-3), winners of seven straight. The Golden Elks have won eight of their past nine after an 0-3 start.

"Rising Sun had a fullback that gained 1,300 yards, and we ended up stopping him. But he wasn't a slasher like [Austin and Portee]," Russell said.

Class 4A rematch

The Broadneck-Suitland Class 4A state semifinal tomorrow figures to be a repeat of the one in 2004 - a hard-hitting, defensive game. That's the feeling of both coaches, Broadneck's Jeff Herrick and Suitland's Nick Lynch.

Suitland won, 14-0, at Broadneck in 2004 and went on to win its first state title. Tomorrow's game is at Suitland.

"Certainly we're glad to be home, but at this point in the season, I don't see it as an advantage," Lynch said. "We're very similar to Broadneck. Both of us have very good special teams, hard-nosed defenses, and offenses that don't make mistakes.'"

Herrick agrees.

"Both teams are pretty good statistically on defense and on the field, and the kicking games are consistent. Their team speed is exceptional and they have a fluid, athletic quarterback [Carlos Fields]."

Broadneck has given up 94 points in 12 games, while the Rams have yielded only 78 - 30 coming in a 30-6 season-opening loss to Douglass-PG. Suitland has won 11 in a row, and Broadneck has won eight straight.

Both secondaries are noted for big plays. Suitland's James Proctor has returned three of his eight interceptions for touchdowns, and the Bruins' J.J. Hicks has returned three of his four for scores.

Longest ride

Havre de Grace (8-4) has won five of seven road games, including three straight, but is in for its longest ride of the season in visiting Fort Hill, of Allegany County, for tomorrow's 1A semifinal.

Known for the large crowds that pack Greenway Stadium, the Sentinels (11-1) have averaged more than 40 points during a five-game winning streak.


Sun reporter Pat O'Malley contributed to this article.

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