Dunbar's Austin one short of state touchdown record

Notebook

November 21, 2007|By Stefen Lovelace | Stefen Lovelace,SUN REPORTER

Dunbar junior running back Tavon Austin continued his march toward the state career touchdowns record during the Poets' rout of Forestville in the Class 1A South semifinals Saturday.

Austin, who rushed for 249 yards and four touchdowns in No. 2 Dunbar's 66-29 win over the Prince George's County school, has 33 touchdowns this season and 86 for his career, one shy of the state record held by Old Mill's Ryan Callahan (2003-05).

"His performance ... was remarkable," Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said of Austin's play against Forestville. "We come in and teams are always going to key on him."

Austin, who has rushed for 2,098 yards this season for the 11-0 Poets, gives credit to his offensive line.

The offensive linemen might want the record even more than Austin, Smith said.

"I just feel that he's not really worrying about it, and the offensive line worries about it more," Smith said. "They do the hard work for him, and he appreciates them a lot, so they want it a whole lot more than he does."

The offensive line mixes young talent with senior leadership. It is made up of seniors Matthew Odezugeo and Malcolm Speller, juniors Antonio Brown and Anthony Wartters and sophomore Devin Clark.

Austin appears likely to break the record in the South championship game against Surrattsville of Prince George's County, a 44-0 winner over Digital Harbor in the other semifinal. Surrattsville has a great running back in Davin Meggett, a University of Maryland-bound senior.

"When they play in a high-profile game, [Meggett] will take their team to the next level," Smith said. "They're looking forward to this game."

2-overtime thriller

The No. 12 Edmondson and No. 13 City football teams are used to playing exciting, tight games.

This season, the Red Storm beat the Knights, 28-27, after stopping a two-point conversion with 1:11 remaining in the game.

Saturday's Class 2A North semifinal between the teams might have been even more dramatic. Edmondson (9-2) survived a double-overtime thriller, beating City (8-3), 20-14.

"It was a hard battle," Edmondson coach Dante Jones said. "Both teams were coming out really aggressive. It came down to the wire, but our kids stepped up and made plays."

The Red Storm defense was able to keep a talented City offense out of the end zone late in the game. Edmondson defensive ends David Mackall and Anthony Rice, cornerback Christopher Green, and safeties D'andre Green and Aaron Moore all broke up passes to limit City's aerial attack.

The decision-making of Red Storm quarterback Carroll Washington ended up being the difference in the game. In the second overtime, Washington dropped back and looked for tight end Jeremy Dorsey. Dorsey was double covered, so Washington took off toward the end zone.

He scored from 13 yards, giving Edmondson the victory and keeping the Red Storm in the hunt for back-to-back state titles. If Edmondson can repeat, the two victories over rival City will be among the main reasons.

"You have two teams with great athletes and two teams with great coaching staffs," Jones said. "Every year we play them it's been close.

"It's a great day of football when the City Knights and the Edmondson Red Storm take the field."

Comets' defense matures

The Catonsville football team advanced to Friday's 3A North regional title game against Hereford, and the Comets' defense has been the key.

The Comets defeated Franklin, 31-0, last week and have a defense filled with sophomores and freshmen, including two first-year football players. Their progress has been an integral part of the Comets' success.

"We have a lot of young guys, and there has been a real maturation on defense," coach Rich Hambor said. "I think it took them a month or two to get comfortable with our defense."

Two players that have shown big improvement are freshman linebackers Tyler Weedon and Wayne Emerson, who anchor the defense.

Catonsville defeated Franklin, 38-35, during the regular season after being down 28-6 at halftime.

This time around, Hambor stressed playing the whole game well, rather than just the second half.

Catonsville was led offensively by quarterback Darius Savage (6-for-8, 113 yards, two touchdowns rushing, one touchdown pass) and running backs Brian Chapman (26 carries, 151 yards) and Sam Burk (12 carries, 88 yards, one touchdown).

The Comets will play for the North title Friday night at 7 at Hereford.

stefen.lovelace@baltsun.com

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