Football state semifinals

November 30, 2007|By Sun reporters Stefen Lovelace, Glenn Graham and Pat O'Malley

Tonight's games

CLASS 3A

Lackey (7-5) @ No. 5 Hereford (12-0)

When -- 7

Outlook -- Hereford is undefeated behind an explosive wing T, triple-option offense that has scored 555 points and is averaging 46.3 points behind running backs Lonnie Liggins, D.J. Wacker, Hasani Cromwell, Nick Depaola and Eric Hemmeter, who each have scored at least four TDs. Liggins leads the attack with 1,103 rushing yards, 20 rushing TDs, two kick-return TDs and an interception return for a TD. Under coach Steve Turnbaugh, the Bulls have been county champions nine times, region champions seven times and state champions three times, most recently in 2002. Lackey, of Charles County, is a misleading 7-5, having had to forfeit three games because it used ineligible players. This is the team's third trip to the semifinals in the past five years. Michael Johnson is the featured RB in the Chargers' multiple I scheme, with 1,426 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. FB Lorne Williams has recorded 318 rushing yards and seven TDs.

No. 12 Wilde Lake (10-2) @ Damascus (11-1)

When -- 7

Outlook -- Although the Wildecats rely on an impressive running game that controls the clock and wears down opponents, the Hornets counter with a balanced offense that keeps defenses guessing. Wilde Lake running backs Ashton Hayes, Jarrel Epps and Vaughn Stamper have rushed for a combined 3,255 yards and 33 TDs, with QB Danny March also a strong option in the backfield. The Hornets' big three on offense starts with QB Kyle Frazier, who has thrown for 1,381 yards and 19 TDs. Evan Zedler has rushed for 1,822 yards and 29 TDs, and Lee Hertzel is the team's top receiving threat with 31 catches for 604 yards and eight TDs. Damascus has captured six state titles, most recently in 2005. The Wildecats won their fifth and most recent state crown in 1997.

CLASS 2A

Elkton (10-2) @ No. 1 River Hill (12-0)

When -- 7

Outlook -- After making its first state semifinal appearance in 2005, River Hill took it one step further by advancing to the state championship game last year. This year, the Hawks are on a mission to bring home the program's first state title. River Hill has overpowered the competition, outscoring its opponents 509-14, with 10 shutouts. Michael Campanaro has 1,592 yards and 21 TDs on the ground and 13 receptions for 362 yards and six more TDs. Running back-linebacker Zach Martin has 1,292 yards of total offense and 17 TDs, with 134 tackles to anchor the defense. The Hawks will look to stop Elkton RB Travis Bullock, who has rushed for 1,401 yards and 30 TDs. Golden Elks QB Justin Driver has thrown for 667 yards and four TDs. Elkton is making its first appearance in the state playoffs.

No. 6 Eastern Tech (12-0) vs. Clarksburg (12-0)

Where -- CCBC-Essex

When -- 7

Outlook -- This is the Mavericks' fifth straight playoff appearance since 2003, and this year's senior-led group is determined to go out with the school's first state championship. Eastern Tech uses the wing T offense with talented backs in seniors Derryck Davis and Thomas Edwards and junior Darian Conners, who have combined for 1,707 rushing yards and 27 TDs. Senior Travis Crane manages the game at quarterback, throwing for 533 yards and 12 TDs and rushing for 374 yards and eight TDs. The Mavericks' defense has given up just 59 points, with senior LB Bryan Watson leading the team in tackles with 75 and ball hawks Joe Jones and Andre Hall combining for 10 interceptions. Clarksburg, of Montgomery County, in just its second year of football, relies heavily on running backs Mark Small, who has 1,844 rushing yards and 14 TDs, and Avery Graham, who has scored 13 TDs and rushed for 654 yards.

CLASS 1A

No. 13 Joppatowne (11-1) @ Allegany (12-0)

When -- 7

Outlook -- The Mariners are faced with a four-hour bus trip to Western Maryland, where the host and eight-time state champion Campers play in Greenway Stadium, which seats 15,000. Joppatowne's leading rusher, Tavon Henley, broke his leg in the eighth game after running for 1,011 yards, and the Mariners have compensated with a committee of rushers. QB C.J. Townes has run for 817 yards and 10 TDs and has thrown for 394 yards in the Mariners' power I. Linebackers Josh Albowicz and Jake McGinnis have been involved in nearly 300 tackles and will face the Campers' wing T offense that features RB Jake Twigg, who has rushed for 1,552 yards and 25 TDs. Allegany, which last won a state title in 2005, averages 230 pounds on its offensive and defensive lines. The Mariners won state championships in 1975 and 2003 and last played in the state semifinals in 2005.

Tomorrow's games

CLASS 4A

No. 4 Arundel (12-0) @ Suitland (12-0)

When -- 1:30 p.m.

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