Maryland State Football Championships 2014


The MPSSAA Division 2A state football championship at M&T Bank Stadium, 2013. Credit: Wayne Lee Dutrow

In often wet and uncomfortable early December weather, the Maryland State Football Championships concluded at M&T Bank stadium over the past weekend. Four MPSSAA champions were crowned, but only one was a new winner since 2013 – 2A victor Douglass-PG High School.

MPSSAA Division 4A – Northwest 34, Old Mill 31

Neither Old Mill High School (Anne Arundel County) nor Northwest High School (Germantown) are strangers to state football playoffs and championships, both having been states winners and participants in recent years. But in an entertaining game that went back and forth, Northwest prevailed 34-31 to capture their second consecutive state championship.

The winning Jaguars were powered by 197 rushing yards from E.J. Lee, including touchdown runs of 35 and 59 yards. Quarterback Mark Pierce factored into the other three TDs by passing for two of them and running for a third.

The backbreaking play of the game came with just under 4:00 remaining, with the score sitting at the final 34-31. Old Mill had stopped Northwest at the OM 47 yard line on a fourth-and-7 to force a presumed punt. Lining up in punt formation, the Jags pulled a fake with a pitch play to gain 10 yards and the first down.

That was a gutsy call that sealed a gutsy win in a game featuring two very talented teams.

MPSSAA Division 3A – Franklin 35, Damascus 21

Franklin High School (Reisterstown, MD) had a first quarter of football that was even worse than that of the Baltimore Ravens yesterday in Miami. In fact, the defending state champs waited even longer to turn the game around.

But after falling behind 21-0 to the unbeaten and Washington Post #1-ranked Damascus Hornets, the Indians rallied to win their second consecutive title by scoring 35 unanswered points.

The first comeback TD for Franklin did not occur until just 38 seconds before halftime at the end of a 72-yard drive. The touchdown was on a 30-yard pass play from senior Jacquez Adams (headed to WVU) to junior wide receiver Steven Smothers – who would eventually tally four touchdowns on the day (three through the air and one on a fumble recovery to seal the victory).

The late first-half score was a harbinger of things to come in the second half.

Having deferred on the coin toss, the Franklin Indians opened the second half with a drive capped by a 35-yard touchdown run by Kiandre Burrell.

The momentum had entirely shifted, and Franklin in the end tallied 482 yards (326 in the second half) to 264 for Damascus.

MPSSAA Division 2A – Douglas-PG 38, Dunbar 0

Dunbar High School out of Baltimore city is arguably the most successful football program in Maryland, having won a total of nine state championships. But a first-time champion was crowned this year with Douglass of Prince George’s County prevailing 38-0 in a steady rain.

It was the story of a veteran team in Douglass (14-0) overpowering a young and surprising Poets squad (10-4), particularly by dominating the line of scrimmage. Dunbar had won two narrow playoffs games to simply make the finals, but they were no match for the Eagles’ veteran team.

It was a relentless rushing attack that carried Douglass to the win, as the Eagles ran for a total of 410 yards. The top rusher was Akiva Wedge with 159 yards on 16 carriers. Mikale Makle added 110 yards on 14 attempts, while quarterback Davin Butler contributed with 95 yards in 12 carries.

Douglass tallied eight shutouts over the course of their dominating season.

MPSSAA Division 1A – Fort Hill 40, Frederick Douglass of Baltimore 8

The state 1A finals was a perfect sort of weather day for the tough mountain kids of Western Maryland, as the Fort Hill Sentinels defended their 2013 title by defeating Frederick Douglass High School of Baltimore 40-8 in a driving rain.

The game was closer than the final score might seem to indicate, as Fort Hill was holding onto a 14-8 margin in the middle of the third quarter.

Ultimately the big line of the Sentinels prevailed in the second half, as Fort Hill controlled the ball for 18 of the 24 minutes, grinding their way to the final 40-8 margin.

The Cumberland County school has a current winning streak of 28 games in a program known for football excellence and where they play in a stadium that is far larger than what most small colleges have.

The same two teams met in the finals just a year ago, but Douglass will be moving up to 3A in 2015 as a result of the semi-annual state reclassification process.