Falcons advance to 1A North football final (VIDEO HERE!!)
Overlea High football coach Craig Rollins said his team has been its “own worst enemy” at times this season. Going into Saturday’s Class 1A North Region semifinal against undefeated Reginald Lewis, Rollins knew the Falcons needed to maintain their poise.
Trailing in the fourth quarter, Overlea did just that, posting a 28-12 victory over the Falcons at Sugar Cain Field in east Baltimore. The victory earns the Baltimore County school a return trip to Cain Field for Friday evening’s region title match against No. 8 Dunbar.
The Falcons (8-3) scored the final 22 points in regulation, earning their first region final since 2011. Overlea lost region opening round matches in 2012, 2014 and last fall.
“It’s like getting over the hump,” said Rollins. “I knew we had an opportunity in this game. We’ve been our own worst enemy all season, so it all depend on what team showed up.”
“We all just knew what we had in us,” said Falcon senior two-way linemen Keivon Bowman.
Bowman rumbled down the sidelines for a 60-yard interception return score, putting Overlea up 28-12 with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left in regulation. Trailing 12-6, Falcons senior quarterback Jalen McMillian found junior wide receiver Jaheim Johnson for the tying score.
Jeremiah Bryant got the two-point conversion for the lead. The Falcons got another score to upped the lead to 20-12 before Bowman, 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, got Lewis quarterback Jamaal Douglas’ throw and returned it for the pick-six.
Lewis (10-1), which won a second straight Baltimore City Division II title and had a second consecutive undefeated regular season, was unable to rally. Lewis lost to Edmondson in last year’s region final.
Rollins, who started preseason practice with 17 players, knows Friday will be a much different challenge with Dunbar. The Poets are 26-1 since the state football tournament went to a region format in 2004.
“They’re a championship-caliber team,” said Rollins. “We got to keep our poise and play four quarters.”