Sideline Report Previewing the Weekend's Playoff Games

Sideline Report Previewing the Weekend's Playoff Games

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Region Finals

4A South: No. 18 Wise (8-3) at No. 13 C.H. Flowers (10-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.: Wise, in its third year of existence, is in the playoffs for the first time. Flowers lost in the regional final in its three playoff appearances, in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

These are two teams that pride themselves on being physical. The Flowers defense is known for its tough linebackers, led by Maryland recruit Lorne Goree Jr. and Brandon Killebrew. But Wise also is strong on defense. The only score the Pumas allowed in the teams' regular-season meeting was on a 92-yard kickoff return by Dwayne Powell. Wise allowed just one touchdown to Eleanor Roosevelt in its 14-6 double-overtime victory last week, forcing four turnovers and nearly creating a safety, except for an inadvertent whistle that nobody seemed to hear.

The key will be which team is able to move the ball. Flowers relied on running back Reginald Woods in its 29-6 victory over Suitland on Monday, with Woods rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Wise struggled to move the ball against Roosevelt until sophomore quarterback DeAndre Smith led a late touchdown drive to force overtime. Wise running back Anthony Wright has rushed for 1,389 yards and 19 touchdowns this season but was held to 66 yards on 21 carries in the teams' first meeting, his second-lowest total this season.

2A South: Douglass (9-2) at No. 4 River Hill (11-0), tomorrow, 7 p.m.: Douglass is making its fifth consecutive playoff appearance. The Eagles had lost in the regional semifinals the past two seasons but were regional champions in 2004 and 2005. River Hill is the defending state champion and is making its fifth consecutive playoff appearance. The Hawks had been 0-4 in playoff games against Prince George's County opponents until beating Gwynn Park, 20-6, last week in the regional semifinal.

Since losing twice in three weeks in the middle of the season, Douglass has put together a four-game winning streak, impressing opposing coaches with its discipline and running game. Quarterback Richard Barber has shown an ability to lead the offense with his passing game when needed. And the Eagles' ability to score on two-point conversions has been a big help.

Offensively, Douglass spreads the ball around, with Emmanuel Paul's 556 yards leading the team. Marcus Alexander is a dangerous kick returner. Of Barber's 45 completions, nearly one quarter (11) have gone for touchdowns, with four to Maurco Bradley.

River Hill isn't necessarily a one-player show, but the Hawks do have one of the state's most dangerous players in All-Met running back-safety Michael Campanaro, who has scored 29 touchdowns. He had a huge play in last week's victory over Gwynn Park, taking a throwback screen pass 39 yards for a touchdown. Expect Douglass to make sure that a player other than Campanaro is responsible for any big plays.

WCAC Championship

No. 1 Good Counsel (11-0) vs. No. 11 DeMatha (9-2), Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, 7 p.m.: DeMatha has won five consecutive league titles and is trying to become the first team to win six in a row. The Stags have beaten Good Counsel in the championship game each of the past four seasons. Good Counsel, which beat DeMatha 42-21 in the regular-season meeting, has never won a WCAC title.

The teams' regular-season meeting was stunning. Good Counsel running back Caleb Porzel proved too fast for the Stags. He finished with 16 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns, with all of the scores coming in the first quarter on plays in which he was never touched by a defender. Good Counsel quarterback Tyler Campbell also was extremely efficient in the game, completing all nine of his passes for 177 yards.

Since that game, however, DeMatha has won its past six games without much of a threat. Running back Marcus Coker, slowed by an injury earlier in the season, has scored at least one touchdown in each game during the winning streak, posting three 100-yard games. The Stags seemed to gain confidence throughout the teams' earlier meeting, which could prove handy for the rematch.


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