After Douglass High’s homecoming victory over Digital Harbor Friday afternoon, a group of older alumnus told football coach Elwood Townsend they would be attending the Ducks’ remaining games. Not long ago, interest in Douglass’ football was non-existent with the program mired in futility.
The Ducks have been revived and marching toward a perfect season after a 24-0 decision over the Rams. DaQuan Alexander and Michael Owens each had rushing touchdowns for Douglass (8-0 overall) and Camron West threw a scoring passes to Teon Maeser.
Douglass has sole possession of first in the Baltimore City league’s Division II (5-0) with one league game remaining. The Ducks also put a grip lock on the No. 1 seed in Class 1A South Region playoffs.
“It’s tough, it’s definitely tough,” said Townsend when asked about being the only undefeated in the city league (one of five overall in Baltimore region). “The kids have worked hard, week in and week out. It’s good feeling and the kids are going to enjoy this.”
The Ducks are playoff bound for the second straight year and the third time in five seasons under Townsend, who played at Patterson under legendary coach Roger Wrenn. The Gwynns Falls Parkway school had just one winning season since 1990 before Townsend’s arrival.
“We come to work to go to work,” said Douglass linebacker Donyea Moody. “We’re trying to make it to M&T Bank Stadium [site of state finals] and trying to make a change in the school.”
Moody and fellow linebacker senior Donte Smith helped lead a fourth shutout in the last five games. Daniel McManus recovered a Digital Harbor fumble inside Douglass territory to secure the shutout.
West and Maeser gave the Ducks’ offense and their faithful an immediate jolt, connecting on 45-yard pass play on Douglass’ first possession. West ran it in for the two-point conversion.
“Taevon had the dig route and I saw the linebacker come up and it pop open. I just tried to throw a good ball,” said West. “We got a lot of room for improvement.”
Owens scored from 12 yards out on the first play of the second quarter, followed by a West conversion pass to Maeser, advancing the Ducks’ lead to 16-0. Douglass, which had favorable field position most of the game, got a 22-yard touchdown run by Alexander (96 yards) with four minutes left in regulation.
“It seemed like they were getting to the C-gap a little more, we weren’t containing,” said Digital Harbor coach William Brandon, whose team fell to 6-2 (3-1 Division II). “It comes down to preparation. We got off the bus a little late and the kids stayed in the moment. We didn’t start competing until the third quarter.”
Last season, Douglass reached the Class 2A playoffs, losing to eventual state semifinalists Edmondson in North Region semifinals. The Red Storm took eventual state 1A champ Dunbar to the wire and lost to eventual 3A state semifinalist Milford Mill.
Douglass, who played in Division I last year, can clinch the Division II title with a victory at W.E.B. DuBois this Friday. The Ducks closed the season against currently undefeated Carver Vo-Tech (8-0) Nov. 8 in the annual west Baltimore neighborhood rivalry match.
Smith, a three-year starter remembers when Douglass finished 3-7 in his sophomore year.
“We were supposed to go [state finals] last year, but we’re going this year,” said Smith. “It’s minor setback in a major comeback.”
Douglass 24, Digital Harbor 0
Digital Harbor 0 0 0 0 – 0
Douglass 8 8 0 8 – 24
Douglass – Maeser 45 pass from West (West run)
Douglass – Owens 12 run (Maeser pass from West)
Douglass – Alexander 22 run (West run)