By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 5, 2009
BALTIMORE -- It turns out Old Mill isn't a one-man show.
And that's why the Patriots are Maryland 4A champions.
After touted recruit Josh Furman went down with a left knee injury on the game's opening drive, senior running back Jason Clements stepped in and rushed 40 times for 164 yards and a touchdown Friday night to carry the ninth-ranked Patriots to a 17-16 victory over No. 6 Wise before 8,534 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Old Mill (12-2), playing in its first state final, claimed Anne Arundel County's first championship since 1994 and just the county's second in 30 years.
"All season, we talked about [Furman and me] being a 1-2 punch," Clements said. "Tonight, I was the one."
Furman, who rushed for a combined 615 yards and eight touchdowns in the Patriots' previous two playoff victories, went down on the game's eighth play from scrimmage. After staying down for a couple of minutes, he walked off and returned later in the first quarter, but left after one play.
"I felt it pop and I was scared for my career," said Furman, who had 12 yards on six carries. "But then I started walking on it and I was fine, so I went back in, but it tightened up and I couldn't go."
Old Mill Coach Damian Ferragamo said: "We kept saying, 'We have more than one player.' We said we'd run [Furman] until the wheels fell off, and tonight, the wheels fell off, and someone else stepped in. We knew [Clements] could do it. This isn't some JV kid we pulled up."
The 5-foot-10, 187-pound Clements entered the game with 1,144 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns -- a little more than half of Furman's totals in both categories.
But Clements was far from half the player on the field against Wise (12-2). On three separate sequences he carried the ball on at least six consecutive plays, helping Old Mill hold an edge in time of possession of more than 19 minutes.
Clements has just one college scholarship offer, from Morgan State, but Ferragamo said, "I expect some more to start coming down the way after this."
On Old Mill's second drive, Clements carried on all six plays, capped by a four-yard touchdown run to open the scoring at 7-0.
Wise struck back two plays later on a 47-yard run by quarterback DeAndre Smith. Rahsaan Moore ran in the two-point conversion to put the Pumas up, 8-7. The Pumas went ahead 16-7 less than three minutes before halftime on an eight-yard touchdown run by Smith and another two-point conversion by Moore.
Furman shed his shoulder pads before coming out for the second half and the Patriots knew they would be without their top gun.
Led by linebackers Randy Spann and Joe McCargo, Old Mill held Wise to just two first downs and 34 yards of offense in the second half. On it first possession of the third quarter, Old Mill took over at its own 12-yard line and picked up four first downs before quarterback Joe Thornton hit Chad Hicks in stride at the goal line for a 38-yard touchdown pass to make it 16-14.
After the Pumas punted, Old Mill drove 61 yards in 14 plays before facing a fourth and six at the Wise 9. Ferragamo said had the Patriots not lost two yards on third down, he probably would have gone for it.
Instead, senior Brad Cummings came in and kicked his ninth field goal of the season, a 26-yarder to put Old Mill back ahead 17-16, and the Patriots defense carried them the rest of the way.