UPPER MARLBORO— A year after losing in the first round of the playoffs, the Frederick Douglass High School Eagles find themselves in the state semifinals after capturing the Maryland 2A South Region championship with a 57-19 victory against the Patuxent High School Panthers. The Eagles had four different rushers score on the Panthers and accumulated […]
UPPER MARLBORO— A year after losing in the first round of the playoffs, the Frederick Douglass High School Eagles find themselves in the state semifinals after capturing the Maryland 2A South Region championship with a 57-19 victory against the Patuxent High School Panthers.
The Eagles had four different rushers score on the Panthers and accumulated more than 400 yards on the ground. Running backs Akiva Wedge and Thomas Myers combined for 307 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the day.
Myers himself put up 189 yards rushing to go along with three touchdowns. A majority of his yards came after first contact as Patuxent tacklers struggled to take him down.
“That’s just how I was taught to run,” Myers said. “That’s how I was taught since little league.”
Myers said the team anticipated coming up with a win, but did not know the score would be as one-sided as it ended up being. The Eagles play hard, he, and that’s how they were able to get the win.
Early on, the game was close. Patuxent went up 7-0 early, becoming the first team to take a lead on Douglass all season.
Douglass answered right back, however, with a touchdown by Denzel Goode to take an 8-7 lead following a two-point conversion.
Patuxent answered back with a field goal, but Douglass again scored a touchdown to take a 16-10 lead. Then the game changed.
After holding Patuxent to another field goal, Douglass was driving when Goode went down with an injury. Goode stayed down until an ambulance arrived and transported him off the field.
According to Eagles’ head coach Julius Pinkney, Goode went down with a lower leg injury, but he did not know the severity of the injury. However, he said there is a possibility Goode may miss the rest of the postseason for the Eagles.
After the injury the Eagles put up two touchdowns in the span of 45 seconds to take control of the game. Wedge scored on a 34-yard touchdown run and the Eagles recovered the ball on the ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, Myers found pay dirt on a 20-yard touchdown run.
“After seeing our teammate go down, the team came together and we played hard,” Myers said. “Emotionally it crushed me, but I just had to do it for him because he’d love to play and he’d love to see me do good just as well as I’d love to see him do good.”
It felt good to come out and get a big win against a very good Patuxent football team, Wedge said. He said the team’s performance is a testament to the work it puts in during practices and throughout the offseason.
“It’s a great feeling, a great feeling,” Wedge said. “We’ve been waiting to get here and we worked so hard over the offseason to get to this point. Last year it left a sour taste, but this year we already had the mindset that we were going to work hard to get where we’re at now.”
This Douglass team is more of a family, Wedge said, whereas the season before players were on different pages at times.
Pinkney the score surprised him because he did not expect to blow out Patuxent. He said Goode’s injury gave the team an emotional spark.
“I’m just really happy that things worked out for us and we can live on for another week,” Pinkney said.
One area where the Eagles will need to improve in the state semifinals is on third down on defense. The Eagles could not get off of the field early on in the game, giving up several long third down conversion. Pinkney said it is important to make sure the defense does not give explosive offenses such as Patuxent’s extra opportunities.
“I was happy we faced adversity today,” Pinkney said. “I expected to have adversity and I preached that to our kids all week, too. Our guys’ mindset is that they understand we have to play to the final whistle and they executed.”
Patuxent head coach Steve Crounse said his team ran into an excellent opponent in Douglass. His team was outmatched, he said, and losing to Douglass was “inevitable.”
Patuxent lost the game at the line of scrimmage, Crounse said, and struggled to finish drives in the red zone, settling for field goals instead of getting touchdowns.
“There’s nobody better in the state. Head and shoulders,” Crounse said. “They’ve got everything. They’re not really weak anywhere. I don’t want to jinx them, but I’m rooting for them.”