Potomac ends New Town’s 2A football playoff run; Anthony scores 2 TDs
The backfield of Xavion Woodard (left) and quarterback Brian Williams got New Town off to a fast start Friday evening with back-to-back first quarter scoring drives against Potomac. The No. 15 Titans, however, weren’t able to produce anymore points, falling to 16-6 to the Wolverines in a Class 2A state semifinal in Prince George’s County.
by Tom Hayden
Special to VSN
New Town High’s football team returned to Prince George’s County Friday evening, hoping to conjured up more postseason magic. After a promising start, the Titans appeared destined for one final trip.
Whatever good karma New Town had slowly faded in the chilly November air. Potomac ended the No. 15 Titans’ season with a 16-6 decision in a Class 2A state semifinal contest in Oxon Hill.
Dominique Anthony had a pair of rushing scores for the Wolverines (12-1 overall), who advanced to the state final for the first time since 2005. Potomac will play Frederick County’s Middletown, which denied 11th-ranked Elkton, in the other state semifinal Friday evening, next Saturday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for the state championship.
New Town (9-4), which upset previously undefeated and 2A overall top-seed Douglass-Prince George’s in Upper Marlboro last weekend, will have to wait another year to try to capture its first state title. The Baltimore County school scored on its first two possessions Friday, but went silent the final 36-plus minutes of regulation.
“I thought we did a good job staying balanced those first two drives,” said Titans second-year coach Mike Savage. “But once we got close, we couldn’t finish with touchdowns.”
After going scoreless in regulation in last week’s state quarterfinal before Samuel Okezie-imo’s 19-yard field goal in OT sent it back to Owings Mills with a 3-0 victory, New Town went 75 yards in 15 plays on the game’s opening possession. Okezie-imo split the uprights from 30 yards.
The Titans needed just five plays to reach the red zone on their next possession, running the ball effectively between Zavion Woodard and quarterback Brian Williams. New Town settled with a 39-yarder from Okezie-imo.
Savage knew early field goals wouldn’t be good enough against Potomac, which put up 33 points against New Town rival Milford Mill Academy in last week’s state quarterfinal victory.
“It was good to get points, but Potomac adjusted once we got close and their defense made plays.”
The Wolverines ‘ offense adjusted to New Town’s defense, producing the game’s first touchdown on Anthony’s keeper from 11 yards. Anthony keyed the drive with a third down run.
Potomac put together a promising drive in the third, but Xavier Gwinn’s 38-yard field goal attempt fell short. He atoned, connecting from 37 yards, to start the fourth quarter and extend the Wolverine advantage to 10-6.
Potomac continued chipping away at New Town’s defense as Anthony connected with University of Maryland commit Cory Dyches for 33 yards. A few plays later, Anthony, an Old Dominion commit, called his number near the goal line, plowing forward off left tackle.
New Town crossed midfield on its final three possessions, but turned the ball over on downs twice and fumbled.
After producing eight touchdowns in the North Region play (defeated Eastern Tech and Hereford), the Titans did not score a touchdown in state quarterfinal and semifinal play.
New Town lost to Glenelg, 38-0, in last year’s state semifinals.
“I thought we played with a lot of confidence in the first quarter,” said Williams. “We made a lot of good plays, but then we didn’t play with the same energy after that. Potomac made some adjustments and realized our right side was our weak side.”
It was end of Williams and 18 seniors, who helped New Town to back-to-back state semifinals for the first time in program history. The Titans have been to one state final (2012, lost to Dunbar in 1A final).
Savage, who’s won 19 games in two seasons (New Town won 18 in four prior seasons combined), said New Town is trending upward.
“The seniors picked it up in the summer and carried the team. We had a successful year,” said Savage. “We didn’t get the ultimate goal, but it was still a successful season.”
“No one expected us to get this far. All of us seniors really had a great run,” said Williams, overcome with emotion. “I’m going to miss everything about playing with the other seniors, the practices, the games, everything.”
CLASS 2A STATE FOOTBALL SEMIFINAL
Potomac 16, No. 15 New Town 6
New Town 6 0 0 0 – 6
Potomac 0 7 0 9 – 16
New Town – Samuel Okezie-moe 30 field goal
New Town – Okezie-moe 38 field goal
Potomac – Anthony 11 run (Xavier Gwinn kick)
Potomac – Gwinn 38 field goal
Potomac – Anthony 1 run (pass failed)