Frederick 18, Seneca Valley 7
It was just like practice, Frederick running back Bruce Dorsey said. Just like when he has to run past teammates who throw large padded bags at his feet and waist to simulate defenders trying to tackle the burly runner.
Only when Dorsey took an option pitch from quarterback Cory Rhodes early in the fourth quarter last night, it was an opponent -- not a bag -- that Dorsey decided to try to jump. The outcome of his team's first postseason game in 17 years was hanging in the balance, and Dorsey cleared the would-be tackler at the 5-yard line. He found an easy path to the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown run that put the host Cadets in front for good, and they went on to claim an 18-7 victory over No. 13 Seneca Valley in a Maryland 3A West Region semifinal before a crowd of 750.
Frederick (10-1) will host the 3A West final next week against the winner of tonight's game between No. 14 Northwest and No. 15 Urbana.
Playing in a steady rain last night, Frederick often went to its "mud package," according to the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Dorsey, using two tight ends and putting Tommy Prazenica at fullback. "It's all power running game," Dorsey said.
That was fine for Dorsey, a senior who finished with 209 yards on 31 carries, giving him the school's single-season record at 2,029 yards. He scored the game's first points on a one-yard run up the middle after wide receiver Anthony Walker made a diving catch for a 30-yard gain on fourth and 14.
However, Frederick failed to convert the point-after try, and Seneca Valley answered when wide receiver Bryant England scored on a 19-yard reverse for a 7-6 lead late in the third quarter.
Trailing entering the fourth quarter, Dorsey put Frederick into scoring position with a 48-yard run to the right. Two plays later he took the pitch to the left from Rhodes and saw his path to the end zone was going to require an extra hurdle -- a move that Frederick Coach Vince Ahearn said he has seen a few times this season.
"We work on that all week with our position coach [Seth Sherwood], because that's how a lot of people try to tackle me," said Dorsey, who has scored 26 rushing touchdowns this season. "We have people standing with bags, and as I'm running down they throw the bags and I have to jump them and I never know when it's coming."
Frederick put the game away when Gerald Prince recovered a fumble in Seneca Valley territory and Rhodes scored on a 21-yard keeper with 3 minutes 28 seconds remaining. It was the Cadets' first postseason victory since 1985 and put them in position to possibly avenge their only loss this season, 29-16 to Urbana on Oct. 14.
"It wasn't all Dorsey," Seneca Valley Coach Fred Kim said. "That is probably the best offensive line we've faced all year. They banged us a little big and created some opportunities, and when you have a back [of Dorsey's size] running behind them, then it's like, 'Holy smokes.' "