Despite beating Douglass 28-6 on Oct. 30, Gwynn Park Coach Danny Hayes said he is not concerned about the possibility of his players being overconfident entering Saturday's Maryland 3A East Region final against the Eagles.
"You never have to worry about that with us," Hayes said. "We know what this game is going to be like. It's like we never played them before. We're going right back out and doing this like it's the first time we've played. We know what's at stake."
Gwynn Park-Douglass is one of five rematches in Maryland playoff games this weekend and one of two regional finals that matches the same teams as last season, along with Westlake at Lackey in the 3A East.
Other rematches are Friendly at No. 11 Potomac in the 2A South, Old Mill at Broadneck in the 4A East and No. 15 C.H. Flowers at Suitland in the 4A South. Sunday's Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game between No. 1 Good Counsel and No. 3 DeMatha also is a rematch.
Reidy Is Rested, Ready
Throughout the regular season, Damascus Coach Dan Makosy kept close watch over senior Matt Reidy's rushing attempts, making sure not to wear out his All-Met running back.
But with the defending Maryland 4A champions back in the playoffs, caution -- for the most part -- no longer has a place in the Hornets' playbook.
Saturday night in a 28-14 victory over Richard Montgomery in a Maryland 4A West Region semifinal, Reidy carried the ball 34 times for a career-high 267 yards and a touchdown. He also played defense and intercepted a pass.
"He never really carried the workload until the last few weeks," Makosy said. "He really gets stronger as he goes. I took him out [Saturday] to let the other running back get some carries, and he was right beside me saying, 'Okay, let me go back in.' "
Last year, in a remarkable display of endurance, Reidy had 150 carries in four playoff games, gaining 751 yards and leading the Hornets to the Maryland 4A title.
But Reidy did not start at running back until Week 5 last year. Makosy knew he would not be able to give Reidy the kind of workload he shouldered in last year's playoffs for an entire season -- a notion that was reinforced by foot and ankle injuries that plagued Reidy in the first half of this year. So in the Hornets' opener, Reidy played only one offensive series. He split time at running back in the third game of the season, and he sat out the fourth game entirely.
Now, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is back at full strength.
"I see quotes after teams play [Reidy] that they knew where he was going, but they couldn't tackle that day," Makosy said. "Everybody thinks they had a bad day tackling against him."
A Passing Advantage
It would have been very difficult for No. 5 Lackey to host Friday's Maryland 3A South semifinal against McDonough with "water literally flowing in two places on the field," according to Chargers Coach Scott Chadwick. But for the second year in a row, Lackey used its home-field advantage to help it through bad weather.
Lackey, with All-Met running back Morgan Green sidelined by a hamstring injury, would have struggled in the rain mounting a passing attack. But the following day, on a dry field, Aaron Smith threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Gibbons with 50 seconds left to give Lackey a 10-3 victory.
The game was postponed a day -- as was most of Friday's Maryland playoff schedule -- only after following state protocol: If a home team does not think its field is playable, a representative from the state must agree before seeing if the visiting team's field is viable. McDonough's field -- located five miles from Lackey -- was just as bad.
Lackey hosted Randallstown in last year's 3A semifinal, under even heavier rain and stiff winds. The Chargers, however, were happy to play in those conditions with a healthy Green, who carried on 25 of Lackey's 41 plays (gaining 116 yards and four touchdowns) in a 25-6 win.
Staff writer Alan Goldenbach and special correspondent Jake Schaller contributed to this report.