A year ago, Reginald Lewis High’s football team was 1-5 and languishing near the bottom of the Baltimore City Division II league. Elwood Townsend was in the midst of a tumultuous season at Douglass.
Now, Townsend and Lewis are forming a successful partnership. The Falcons improved to 7-0 Friday with a 35-6 rout of Northwestern in a Division II contest in northeast Baltimore.
Shamal Webb had 123 total yards and scored two touchdowns for Lewis (5-0 Division II), and Malik Green, Dariun Miller and Alfonzo Graham each added scores. Dalon Harris accounted for Northwestern’s lone score.
The Northern Parkway school scored the final 35 points, turning the battle of the lone unbeatens in Baltimore City into a rout. It’s the third time in four seasons Townsend has guided a team to a 7-0 start. He guided Douglass to consecutive perfect regular seasons in 2013 and 2014. The Ducks suffered losses in the Class 1A state final (both to Fort Hill).
Townsend, who stepped down at Douglass at the end of last regular season after 7 seasons, has put his fingerprints on the Falcons.
“These guys weren’t accustomed to practicing everyday and that goes into winning,” said Townsend. “I had to be hard on them, I?ll even bench my starters, it?s about changing the culture. We?re still turning the corner but we?ve done a good job so far.”
Townsend was nervous about Friday after a bad week of practice. The Falcons didn’t start well, Friday turning the ball over on downs. Northwestern (5-1, 5-1 Division II) needed 6 plays to strike first, ending the drive with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Rasheed Sanders to Dalon Harris.
Lewis would answer on the ensuing kickoff as Webb went the distance for 70 yards, tying the game at 6. Webb, a transfer from Douglass, finished an end-and-around with a flip over a defender at the goal line to complete an 8-yard run.
Green gave the Falcons a 22-6 advantage in the third quarter after a run into the end zone from 15 yards out. He and Graham (76 total yards) were a dynamic 1-2 punch in the backfield for Reginald Lewis.
Graham closed the scoring for the Falcons, snagging a deflected ball and returning it for a pick-six from 20 yards. After four straight shutouts, Reginald Lewis stymied Northwestern’s offense the final three quarters.
“[Up until that point] we never been scored on before so we had to take it slow, [and] we just took it step-by-step, came out and performed,” said Green, a junior.
With the win, the Falcons have pretty much locked up the No. 1 seed in the 1A South Region. Reginald Lewis finished 4-6 last season.
“We’ve been down this road before, half of us, we just have to work everyday,”said Miller, who started for Townsend at Douglass in 2014. “We’re not even worried about playoffs right now, we’re just worried about the next game and finishing this year off strong.”
Reginald Lewis 35, Northwestern 6
Northwestern 6 0 0 0 – 6
Reginald Lewis 6 8 21 0 – 35
Northwestern – Dalon Harris 56 pass from Rasheed Sanders (pass failed)
Reginald Lewis – Shamal Webb 70 kickoff return (pass failed)
Reginald Lewis – Webb 8 run (Dariun Miller run)
Reginald Lewis – Malik Green 15 run (Kendall Wagner pass from Miller)
Reginald Lewis – Alfonzo Graham 20 interception return (pass failed)
Reginald Lewis – Miller 2 run (Wagner kick)