Pictured above: Edgwood quarterback Antwan Banks rushed for 190 yards and all three Ram touchdowns in their 20-8 playoff win over Franklin.

Edgewood sends Franklin to early exit in 3A football playoffs; Banks rushes for 190 yards (VIDEO HERE!!)

Edgewood High’s matchup with Franklin in the Class 3A North Region football semifinals Friday marked the Rams’ first state playoff appearance in 11 years. They want to stay around for awhile.

An underdog to playoff veteran Franklin, the No. 19 Rams showed poise when it mattered, posting a 20-8 victory at McWilliams Stadium in Reisterstown.

The Harford County school advances to next weekend’s North Region final against either Milford Mill Academy or C. Milton Wright. The ninth-ranked Millers and Mustangs play Saturday afternoon in Baltimore County in the other semifinal.

Edgewood’s playoff history has been nondescript. Seven games. Seven losses. Franklin was playing its 29th postseason match since 2006.

After scoreless first half Friday, it was the Rams who made the key plays.

“This kids did an outstanding job, it’s been long since Edgewood has been here and we have been the underdogs all season,” Edgewood coach Charles Johnson said. “Each win we proved we could play with anyone and this is a big one beating Franklin on their home field.”

Junior quarterback Antwan Banks rushed for three touchdowns and 189 yards for the Rams.

“This is big, everybody doubted us, we started the season 2-3, then we went 7-3 and now we won are first playoff game in a long time, Antwon Banks said. “We just kept working and next week is just another game.”

The first half was tough defense struggle and neither team could find the end zone. With their offense struggling Edgewood coach Charles Johnson reached deep into his playbook to spark the Rams’ offense.

After gaining a few yards on their first second half possession, on fourth and seven the Rams lined up to punt the ball to the Indians, but senior Mike Johnson faked the punt and threw a 33-yard completion to Reyshawn Ivery-Gardner for a first down into Indian territory. It was a huge momentum boost for the Harford County school as its offense began to get positive plays against the Indians, who’ve been to four 3A state finals (won twice) since 2010.

“We watched a lot of film on them [Franklin] and noticed the rushed awfully hard and they left the middle wide open,” Charles Johnson said. “We had been working run that play for weeks and I thought that was the best time to use it.”

“We prepared to use it all week in practice, coach told me to put a little touch on it and I did just that,” Mike Johnson said.

On the next play Antwan Banks rushed for a 18-yard score to give Edgewood the lead in the third quarter.

Franklin would go three and out on the ensuing drive and gave the ball back to the Rams at their own 20. Edgewood (8-3) remained in an offensive rhythm as Deonte Banks (75 rushing yards) and Antwon Banks picked up yards on the ground as the 11 play drive was finished off by a 20-yard Antwon Banks run down the left sideline for a 20 yard touchdown putting the Rams up 13-0.

“He is so electric and exciting to see,” Mike Johnson said. “I am proud to call him my teammate, my brother, he is a sight to see.”

Franklin (7-4) finally responded late in the third quarter as quarterback Larry Smith hit Sam Botchway for a 33-yard touchdown pass to cut into the Ram lead.

Edgewood would pad their lead when Antwon Banks sliced his way through the Indian defense for a 59-yard touchdown run with 4:52 left in the contest.

The final two drives for Franklin ended with turnovers as senior safety Christian McDowell and junior Monzel Ware each nabbed an interception.

“No matter who we play next week we will mostly be the underdog, that is what we want and we will go out and continue to make history for Edgewood,” Charles Johnson said.