Joe Kelly, left, and Wilde Lake meet No. 6 Franklin for the state… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
At M&T Bank Stadium
No. 12 Dunbar (12-1) vs. Havre de Grace (11-2)
When: Saturday, noon
Coaches: Lawrence Smith, Dunbar; Johnny Brooks, Havre de Grace
Key players to watch
Dunbar — DeonTay McManus, Jr., WR/FS (22 receptions for 309 yards, five TDs; 78 tackles, four INTs), Travon Garrett, Sr., TE/LB (15 catches for 299 yards, four TDs; 137 tackles, three INTs). (Stats do not include the state semifinal.)
Havre de Grace — Darin Washington, Jr., QB/DB (138-for-235 passing for 2,163 yards, 25 TDs; 52 carries for 236 yards, eight TDs); Michael Kelly, Sr., WB/DB (176 carries for 1,605 yards, 17 total TDs)
Outlook: Both teams have enjoyed a lot of success at the state playoff level. Dunbar has won six state titles and has 35 playoff wins in 15 appearances dating to 1993. Havre de Grace's state tournament experience dates back to 1978 with three state titles and 22 state playoff victories in 17 appearances. The Poets are coming off a 20-14 comeback win over Fort Hill decided on Kevin Estep's 1-yard quarterback sneak with three seconds to go. The Warriors knocked off another Western Maryland team, Brunswick and its 6-foot-6 quarterback Ian Fisher, as Kelly ran for 289 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-14 win.
Brooks, who played on Havre de Grace's 1981 state championship team, said he is a bit wary of his team falling for "the Dunbar mystique." The Poets have won four of the past six Class 1A titles, while the Warriors haven't won since 1986. Both teams have similar game plans — get off to a good start and take care of the ball. Turnovers have been a problem for the Poets this season, although they didn't have any turnovers against Fort Hill. Both teams will look to run — Havre de Grace behind Kelly and Dunbar behind Epe Henriques, who rushed for 233 yards against Fort Hill — but they can mix it up.
Urbana (12-0) vs. Wise (12-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Coaches: Ryan Hines, Urbana; DeLawn Parrish, Wise
Outlook: Urbana is the only undefeated team left in the state semifinal field, and Wise is looking for fourth state title and their first since 2001. The Hawks rolled over Gaithersburg, 37-6 in their semifinal. Wise, in only its fifth season as a varsity program, is also going for its first state title after beating No. 3 Broadneck, 14-7, in last week's semifinal. The Pumas scored off a Bruins turnover and ran the ball exceptionally well, with Uriah Bethea (202 carries for 1,584 yards, 26 TDs) running for 112 yards in the second half.
McDonough (12-1) at Middletown (12-1)
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Coaches: Luke Ethington, McDonough; Kevin Lynott, Middletown
Outlook: Each team is looking for its first state title. Middletown's defense did a great job stifling defending state champion Eastern Tech's offense in the red zone in last week's 20-6 state semifinal victory. The Knights did that against a Mavericks team that ran 66 plays on offense — 27 more than the Knights. McDonough also has a tough defense, but its offense lit up Queen Anne's last week in winning, 55-17, in the state semifinals.