Frederick Douglass High has never qualified for the state football playoffs. That could change in the next several weeks.
The Ducks are 5-1 on the season, and currently third in the Class 2A state North Region standings. The top four teams in each region advance to the state postseason tournament.
Douglass is tied atop the Baltimore City league’s Division II with defending champ Forest Park (both 4-0). Last season, the west Baltimore school finished 3-7.
“We had talent coming back, but it was all about putting it together,” said Douglass second-year coach Elwood Townsend. “I’m proud of the kids thus far, but we still got a long way to go before we’re competitive year in and year out.”
After a broken collar bone slowed his 2009 campaign, Carlos Croslin has put together a solid season for Townsend. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound quarterback has thrown for 661 yards and 13 touchdowns with another 832 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
”He was expected to come in this year and do big things for us,” said Townsend. Senior fullback Zach Morgan and sophomore wide receiver Maleek Williams have also been consistent offensive threats.
Townsend has been more impressed with the play of a makeshift offensive line, led by junior Tavon Braxton, a three-year starter. The Ducks are the highest scoring team (234 points; 39 ppg.) in the city league.
“We took some guys that played linebacker and some backup fullbacks,” Townsend said. “If you got guys that can hold up for a little bit with the kind of athlete Croslin is, we can do a lot of good things.”
Senior linebacker Cleveland Williams and sophomore backer Wayne Rouzer, and Matt Goode (free safety) have helped spark the defense. The Ducks play at Southside Academy Thursday then Maritime Academy the following week. Douglass hosts Forest Park Oct. 29 with the division crown likely at stake.
“Our work isn’t finish. Our goal was to win five games, our second goal is to win Division II championship and our third goal is to get to the playoffs for the first time in Douglass history,” said Townsend. “It’s hard to win, but it’s easy to lose, all you got to do is show up. You got to go out and play to win.”
Public school teams will be jockeying for playoff berths over the four weeks. In the state system, teams are awarded points for victories in addition to bonus points.
Several local squads are in great position to be playing in mid-November while others need some help.
In the South, Northwestern and Southside Academy (both 3.67 point average) are on the heels of Reginald Lewis (4.06) for the final spot. The Wildcats have a tougher road with Poly, Patterson and Edmondson left on their schedule in the Baltimore City league’s Division I. Lewis, which plays in Division II, has to play Division I City College, but gets Southside Oct. 29.
Unless Northwestern is able to pull an upset or two, the Southside-Lewis Oct. 29 winner should get a playoff berth.
In the North, Pikesville (3.85) is holding the fourth and final spot with Sparrows Point (3.50), Owings Mills (3.33) and New Town (3.0) right behind. Pikesville can put itself in a favorable position with a win over region-leading and unbeaten Western Tech Friday. Sparrows Point has Owings Mills this weekend, and closes the season at home against Pikesville.
The Pointers can strengthen their case with a win next weekend over Dundalk (currently 5-1). Owings Mills has Sparrows Point, Western Tech and Dundalk upcoming in Baltimore County 1A/2A play.
In the East, Perryville (3.17) and Patterson Mill (3.0) are standing 6th and 7th respectively. Both would have to at least go 3-1 and have Joppatowne (4th; 4.83), Snow Hill (5th; 4.0) and Cambridge-South Dorcester (6th; 3.33) stumble. Perryville does get a shot at region-leading and unbeaten Bohemia Manor next weekend.
Standing 7th and 8th respectively, Glenelg and Oakland Mills will have to run the table in the South Region. The Gladiators have teams with winning records, all chasing playoff spots, in Howard, Atholton and River Hill the next three weeks. Oakland Mills has Reservoir and River Hill the next two weeks.
In the North, Chesapeake-BC and City College sit 5th and 6th respectively behind Edmondson. The Bayhawks’ hopes can be rejuvenated with a victory over Catonsville (4-1) while City has Edmondson and Poly remaining. If the Knights win those games, they’re more than likely in.
In the East, Bel Air (3.67) sits sixth and Rising Sun (3.5) seventh with Fallston (6.54) currently holding the No. 4 spot. The math doesn’t favor both unless they win out along with a complete collapse by the teams ahead of them.
Reservoir (4.00) is sixth in the East and will have to run the table against a remaining schedule of Oakland Mills, two 5-1 teams in Hammond and Wilde Lake, and winless Marriotts Ridge. River Hill, Wilde Lake, Atholton and Howard are atop the region.
In the North, Catonsville (5th; 5.9) and Poly (6th; 5.83) are outside looking in with Towson holding the No. 4 spot. Catonsville is at Chesapeake-BC Saturday and hosts Eastern Tech next weekend. The Comets would place themselves in good position with a win over Eastern Tech.
Poly has matches with Dunbar and City College remaining in Baltimore City’s Division I play. If the Engineers win both, they should get in.
Woodlawn and Southwestern are outside the North picture as is South River is in the East. South River (5th; 6.33) must beat No. 2 and region-leading Arundel to have any shot at qualifying. Woodlawn (2.87) and Southwestern (2.85) appear to have too big of a gap to make up with defending champ Thomas Johnson (4.83) sitting firmly in the No. 4 position.