Wildecats, Epps outrun Bulls

state semifinals class 3a

Team seeks to give DuVall storybook ending

November 29, 2008|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Wilde Lake's Jerrel Epps wasted almost no time taking control of last night's Class 3A state semifinal against No. 7 Hereford.

The diminutive running back, 5 feet 6, 150 pounds, scored two touchdowns in the game's opening 1:56, and one more four minutes later, that set the tone for the No. 6 Wildecats. Wilde Lake was never threatened by visiting Hereford in the 42-16 win and plays Westlake on Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium for the state championship.

Wilde Lake will not only try to win its sixth state title and first since 1997, but also give coach Doug DuVall a storybook ending to his career. DuVall plans to retire at the end of the season after 32 years.

"We knew we had to come out and get on them early," Epps said. "This is Coach's last year, and we have to win it for him. It's all we have been talking about. We just have to go out there and play our hardest. We have to win it for Coach DuVall."

Hereford (10-3) had trouble adjusting to the speed of Epps, who finished with 120 yards on 12 carries with four touchdowns, including a 60-yard score in the fourth quarter. The Bulls also committed five turnovers (four fumbles and one interception) in the first half and six for the game, which led to 14 points for Wilde Lake. Nick DePaola led Hereford with 86 yards on 17 carries.

Epps took the opening kickoff 70 yards through the middle of the field for a 7-0 lead. The Wildecats (12-1) recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Epps scored from 4 yards five plays later for a 14-0 lead with 10:04 left in the first quarter.

"We worked all week long on trying to play mistake-free football," DuVall said. "Hereford is a great football team with a long, storied tradition. We just got lucky on some plays and played hard. We had more speed."

Hereford got its second score with 11:22 left in the game on a 4-yard run by Neil Deluca.

"It's a shame we did not play the way we are capable of playing," Hereford coach Steve Turnbaugh said.

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