When Reginald Lewis scored first, courtesy of an Edmondson’s mistake, early in Friday night’s Class 1A South Region football final at Poly, the ghosts of failure that’s hovered over the Red Storm the last several years appeared to again to take residence inside Lumdsen-Scott Stadium. But Edmondson showed those ghosts, as well as that so-called gorilla the door, and the Red Storm are finally back in the state semifinals.
The west Baltimore school defeated previously undefeated Lewis, 40-20. Sophomore quarterback Teon Gardner accounted for four touchdowns for Edmondson (6-6 overall), and Deshawn Ruffin had two interceptions, including a 56-yard pick six.
The Red Storm scored 24 points over the final eight minutes to win its first region title since 2012 (Class 2A). Edmondson will play Havre de Grace, which defeated Prince George’s County’s Surrattsville in the East final Friday night, next Friday for a spot in the state final at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis Dec. 3.
It’s been a journey of heartbreak and disappointment for the Athol Avenue program in the postseason since its last state semifinal appearance. In 2013, Edmondson was a yard away from winning the South title in overtime against Douglass, but fumbled. The Ducks won in the second overtime.
The next year, Douglass, sparked by twitter comments by Red Storm coach Corey Johnson, routed Edmondson, 45-2. Last year, Edmondson lost to FAET, a city league Division II program in just its third varsity season. The Red Storm led 14-0 in the first half.
Despite a losing record in the regular season, Edmondson’s postseason experience helped it past an upstart Lewis (11-1) squad, coming off its first playoff victory last weekend. It was far from pretty as both teams had numerous turnovers and penalties.
Looking to add to a 16-14 lead, Edmondson turned the ball over on the Falcons’ 2-year line. Donaye Belle tackled Reginald Lewis running back Shamal Webb in the end zone for a safety.
Gardner extended the Red Storm’s lead to 26-14 with an 11-yard touchdown scamper. Reginald Lewis closed to within a score, 26-20, as Alfonzo Graham crossed the end zone from 4 yards. Edmondson pulled off a successful onsides kick with Kelly Richburg recovering the ball at Lewis’ 47.
Gardner connected with Deshawn Ruffin for a 61-yard scoring pass with 3:44 left in regulation. On 4th down, Lewis quarterback Dariun Miller went deep, only to be intercepted by Barnes, who took it back for Edmondson’s final tally.
The Red Storm gained the first break Friday as the Falcons missed the ball on the opening kickoff, setting Edmondson near midfield. The Red Storm gave the ball back as a shotgun snap sailed over Gardner’s head and Lewis’ Martise Chambers recovered.
A couple of plays later, Graham hit the corner and streaked 45 yards down Edmondson’s sideline into the end zone. Gardner answered for the Red Storm, throwing a 13-yard pass to Aaron Clarke-Williams and added the two-point conversion.
In the second quarter, Gardner found Cameran Edwards open near the corner of the end zone for a 8-yard score, and Edwards slipped open again to haul in the 2-point conversion for a 16-6 advantage. Graham pulled Lewis to 16-14 before halftime with a 20-yard touchdown run followed by Miller’s conversion pass to Antwain Partlow.
But the Red Storm didn’t relinquish the lead, moving a win away from its first state final since 2006.
Class 1A South Region football championship
Edmondson 40, Reginald Lewis 20
Edmondson 8 8 0 24 – 40
Lewis 6 8 0 6 – 20
Lewis – Graham 45 run (run failed)
Edmondson – Clarke-Williams 13 pass from Gardner (Gardner run)
Edmondson – Edwards 8 pass from Gardner (Edwards pass from Gardner)
Lewis – Graham 20 run (Partlow pass from Miller)
Edmondson – Safety (Belle tackled Graham in end zone)
Edmondson – Gardner 11 run (Green pass from Gardner)
Lewis – Graham 4 run (pass failed)
Edmondson – Ruffin 61 pass from Gardner (Gardner run)
Edmondson – Barnes 56 interception return (pass failed)