All season, teams found it virtually impossible to run the football on Fairmont Heights. Yesterday, Walkersville of Frederick County had no problems at all.
The Lions' outside-inside duo of Byron Holiday (137 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 75 and 28 yards) and Donald Staggers (116 yards on the ground and one touchdown) led Walkersville to a 21-16 triumph in the Maryland Class B state championship game at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.
For the first three periods, the Lions (12-1), who lost the Class C final in '86, controlled the line of scrimmage and opened big holes for Holiday and Staggers in taking a 21-0 lead.
"On both my long runs, Bob Page made outstanding blocks," Holiday said. "They were playing a seven-, eight-man line and we caught their ends inside and were able to get outside several times. We just felt we could run against them. We are a run team and we block well."
But the Hornets (11-2) rallied in the final 12 minutes. Butch Wilson, who had 137 yards rushing on 13 carries, scored on a 43-yard run on the first play of the last period. Jeff Turner ran in the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 21-8.
Fairmont Heights got a big play later in the period to get within 21-16. Dominic Johnson, subbing for Danny Taylor, who left with an injured shoulder, threw a bomb that Erin Cash grabbed near midfield and ran in for an 80-yard touchdown with 3:24 to play. Turner ran in the two-point conversion again.
But the Hornets' onside kick was recovered by Page at midfield and the Lions ran out the clock for their first state title.
The success of Walkersville's running game allowed the Lions to hold the ball nine more minutes than Fairmont Heights. Quarterback J.P. Filchock tried only five passes, completing two for 43 yards. Walkersville gained 250 yards rushing and finished with 293 total yards. The Hornets had 231 yards, but 123 came on the two big touchdown plays.
Walkersville's defense also had a few heroes -- end John Digges being one -- as it made three sacks and recovered two fumbles. The Hornets didn't help themselves with 13 penalties, seven against the offense. They also failed to score on a first and goal from the 10, and Eric Myers missed a 26-yard field goal try.
The Lions got on the board when they drove 80 yards in 11 plays, Staggers carrying for 17 of that total, including the final two for the score. Billy Stouffer threw to Will Pearce for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Walkersville increased its lead to 15-0 when Holiday, picking up several nice blocks, swept around the left side and raced 75 yards down the sideline. Jeremy Long's kick was good.
The Hornets wasted a 40-yard kickoff return by Turner to the Lions 40. Then, the Lions drove 60 yards in eight plays for their third touchdown. A penalty against the Hornets nullified an interception by Willie Green and kept Walkersville's march alive. Holiday picked up a fine block from Page and scampered 28 yards for what turned out to be the winning points. Fairmont Heights (11-2) 0 0 0 16 16 Walkersville (12-1) 0 8 13 0 21
W -- Staggers 2 run (Pearce pass from Stouffer)
W -- Holiday 75 run (Long kick)
W -- Holiday 28 run (kick failed)
FH -- Wilson 43 run (Turner run)
FH -- Cash 80 pass from Johnson (Turner run)