Titans slip past Edmondson for 2A North football final spot (VIDEO HERE!)

New Town’s Gerrell Johnson captures the ball for a touchdown in front of Edmondson’s Barry Jones in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Class 2A North Region football semifinal. It proved to be the winning score as the Titans held on for a 13-12 victory over the Red Storm at Douglass in west Baltimore.

by Derek Toney

After his fumble was returned for the lead touchdown by Edmondson in the fourth quarter in Saturday’s Class 2A North Region football, New Town quarterback Shawn Miller ran back to the sidelines.

Waiting for him was Titans coach Mike Savage.

“I love you,” said Savage. “When we’re in practice and you mess up what do I tell you: Fix it. Find a way to make it better the next play.”

Miller actually made things a little more daunting, but the senior redeemed himself and the Titans are a win away from the state semifinals. New Town rallied for a 13-12 victory over the Red Storm at Douglass.

Miller’s touchdown throw to Gerrell Johnson with 10 minutes, 9 seconds left in regulation was the difference for the Baltimore County school which got another suffocating defensive performance to move closer to its first state football final four since 2013. The Titans (9-2 overall) will play league rival and 18th-ranked Eastern Tech, Friday night at CCBC-Essex, for the North title.

“We really wanted this win. We waited all season for this,” said Miller. “I knew it was my time.”

With his defensive mates keeping Edmondson in check, Miller’s 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter appeared it would be enough for New Town, but the offense started self destructing in the second half. Bryan Berry scooped a fumble around the 5-yard line and ran into the end zone for Edmondson’s first score in the third quarter.

In the fourth, Miller, with a Red Storm defender about to take him down, dropped the ball. Edmondson defensive back Kevin Martin picked up the ball at the Titans’ 15 and ran it back, giving the Red Storm the lead with 10:55 left in regulation.

On New Town’s next offensive play, Miller was intercepted by Malik Taylor.

“When they messed up in practice, I teach them to fight back,” said Savage. “Sometimes the defense kills the offense, and offense kills the defense, but it’s a competitive atmosphere. Steel sharpens steel.”

New Town’s defense did not relent, forcing a three-and-out followed with a Darrin Broach’s partial block on Edmondson’s punt, giving the offense the ball at the Red Storm 27. Facing a 1st-and-15, Miller found Andre Stuckey for 14 yards.

On 3rd-and-goal, Miller lofted the ball to Johnson, who pulled it down in front of a Red Storm defender in the end zone, giving New Town the lead back. Miller finished 9 of 12 for 143 yards.

“I wish I had him for four years. He has so much upside as an athlete and quarterback,” said Savage, in his first season at the Owings Mills school. “He believes in himself.”

While Miller found redemption, New Town’s defense wreaked havoc. The undersized, but lightning quick unit held Edmondson to 98 yards.

“We just stuck together through the mess-ups said junior linebacker/safety Darius Broach. “We just kept the energy high.”

“They’re very aggressive especially up front,” said Edmondson coach Corey Johnson. “They really shut down our run game.”

Despite losing its final three games after an 8-0 start, Johnson was pleased with the 2018 season after returning only five seniors.

“We got to get more physical up front,” said Johnson. “We weren’t a typical Edmondson team. We just weren’t physical.”

The Titans will get another shot at Eastern Tech, which advanced to the 2A elite eight with a 38-22 decision over Prince George’s County’s Crossland Friday at CCBC-Essex. The Mavericks posted a 13-7 decision Sept. 21 at CCBC-Essex, helping propel them to the Baltimore County Division II crown.

Shawn Miller (left) and Gerrell Johnson hooked up for the winning score for New Town Saturday while Darius Broach was part of a dogged defensive effort. The Titans will play No. 18 Eastern Tech for the region championship, Friday evening at CCBC-Essex.

“The opportunity is amazing. We haven’t been here since 2012,” said Miller. “We know exactly what to do to beat them [Eastern Tech], so we’re coming hard.”

Class 2A North Region semifinal

at Douglass

New Town 13, Edmondson 12

New Town 7 0 0 6 – 13

Edmondson 0 0 6 6 – 12

First quarter

New Town – Shawn Miller 15 run (kick good)

Third quarter

Edmondson – Berry 5 fumble return (run failed)

Edmondson – Wilson 15 fumble return (run failed)

Fourth quarter

New Town – Gerrell Johnson 13 pass from Miller (kick failed)