For the first time in two years, the Baltimore City All-Stars have claimed their dominance over the surrounding county football teams, after rallying past the Baltimore County All-Stars Monday at CCBC-Essex, 34-16.
“It was an exciting game and we had nine days of good, fundamental practice,” City All-Stars’ coach James Monroe said. “I am proud of them because they came out and played and represented Baltimore City, and we came out with the win.”
Not everything was looking up for the City squad, falling to a quick 7-0 deficit on the County’s opening drive, but high powered offense and explosive special teams were quick to play back to a 14-14 tie.
After the game’s first score, Douglass quarterback Carlos Croslin found Mervo receiver Lammar Farrar on a 15-yard strike to bring the City within one point of the County, 7-6, and took the lead after a blocked punt set up a one-yard touchdown run from Maritime’s Corey Plummer for a 14-7 lead.
“It was good running against them. They played hard, came off the ball well, but our offensive line just dominated them,” Plummer said. “I had a lot of chemistry with these offensive linemen, so we were all on the same page.”
Poly’s Mikal Davis was credited with the punt block, and returned it to the County’s 10-yard-line after extending his body for the block.
“We played hard,” County coach Scott Mathena said. “We had a couple bad bounces, and for an all-star game I am pretty happy.”
But that wasn’t the end of the City’s special teams for the night, as Croslin broke a 14-14 tie in the second quarter with a 90-yard kick return, silencing a 70-yard pitch and catch from Loch Raven’s Steven Boudouris to Parkville’s Darrick Williams, to lead 22-14.
“We went over a lot of things and made sure our special teams was a top priority,” Monroe explained. “Special teams in an all-star game, not a lot of teams go over it, but we went over special teams every day.
“We had a lot of communication on special teams,” continued Croslin, who received the game ball for his performance. “I told them that if the ball came to me, let me get it and you block, but if the ball comes to you, you get it and I’m going to block.”
The communication worked, and sent City ahead at the half, 22-16, following a County safety by Woodlawn’s Andrew Watson.
The City defense was on top of its game in the second half, holding the County scoreless after the big touchdown pass midway through the second quarter, and put its own score on the board with a fumble recovery for a touchdown by R.F. Lewis’ Devante Stewart to close the game, 34-16.
The defense had also forced another fumble on the previous County drive, resulting in Plummer’s second touchdown run of the night for a 28-16 lead.
“It was the line that got the pressure, and I was just in the right place at the right time to make the play,” Stewart said. “In the beginning, they had rules and regulations about what we could and could not do, but, come to find out, it was a bunch of miss communication,” But when we finally got things rolling on defense, things just started clicking and we started shutting them down.”
“Just because the City hasn’t won in two years, people came out here with a lot of doubts and we just played,” Croslin said of the decade long rivalry game.
“It feels good and I am lucky that I was a 12th grader this year,” Plummer added. “It feels good to bring it in.”
The good feelings that come with the all-star game were felt all around the field, even on the County side whih came away short of the win.
“I tell them it is an honor and great chance to showcase themselves against the best of the best,” Mathena said to the County squad. “It is an honor for me to get to know some of the kids from around the county. You play against them all year, and they kill you all year, so it is nice to get them all together playing for you instead of against you.”
|Baltimore City 34, Baltimore County 16|
|Co-Taylor 6 run (Ruark kick)|
|City-Farrar 15 pass fr|
om Croslin (conv. failed)
|City-Plummer 1 run (McRae 3 run)|
|Co-Williams 70 pass from Boudouris (Ruark kick)|
|City-Croslin 90 kick return (Plummer 3 run)|
|City-Plummer 1 run (conv. failed)|
|City-Stewart 30 fumble recovery|