No. 8 Mustangs fall to North Point in 4A state football semifinal; Kimbrough accounts for 2 TDs
by Tom Hayden
Special to VSN
In reaching its first state semifinal, Mervo High showed resilience winning on the road. The No. 8 Mustangs were tenacious again Friday evening at North Point, but weren’t able to pull off another historic victory.
North Point ended the Mustangs’ season with a 23-13 decision in 4A state semifinal match in Charles County. Asa Williams ran for a score and threw for two for North Point (13-0 overall).
The Eagles built a 16-0 lead before holding off a Mervo second half rally to advance to their first state final. The southern Maryland school will play Montgomery County’s Quince Orchard for the state championship Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis.
The Mustangs (10-2) was looking to become the third Baltimore City school (Dunbar and Edmondson) to reach a state final.
“We really got off to a slow start,” said Mervo coach Patrick Nixon. “We just couldn’t get anything going offensively until the second half. We had a few mistakes early, but we made some adjustments and we were able to make it a close game in the fourth quarter. We just couldn’t get that last stop we needed.”
Trailing 16-0, Mervo got a Kelin Kimbrough’s touchdown run and 37-yard scoring throw from Kimbrough to Tyree Williams to close to 16-13 with 10 minutes, 8 seconds remaining in regulation. North Point dominated the remaining time.
The Eagles marched 81 yards in eight plays as Williams scored from two yards out. Williams, a junior, completed three passes for 55 yards in the drive, the last of which was a 34-yard toss to Malik Lawrence.
Mervo marched deep into North Point territory on its final drive, but turned the ball over on downs when Corey Shell was stuffed on 4th down-and-2 at the Eagles’ 7. North Point got one first down and Williams took a knee to run out the clock.
After winning at Howard and Montgomery County’s Paint Branch, Mervo had a frustrating time Friday. After a penalty-filled opening quarter for both teams, North Point broke through in the second quarter as Williams found James Warner on a 25-yard strike, capping a 7-play, 48-yard drive.
The Mustangs went three-and-out on their ensuing drive, then disaster struck on their next possession. The Hillen Road school was whistled for one false start penalty, then Kimbrough (9-of-26, 156 yards) was flagged for intentional grounding, leaving it to punt from its own end zone.
Mustangs punter Xavier Coles dropped the snap and alertly went to the ground for safety. Mervo put together its best drive of the half, reaching North Point’s 20. Lawrence intercepted Kimbrough to end the threat.
Mervo got on the scoreboard late in the third. The Mustangs went 65 yards in 11 plays as Kimbrough scored from one-yard out with 4:39 left in the quarter. Shell carried three times for 21 yards and Kimbrough connected with Corey Peterkin, Jr. for 35 yards to key the drive.
Mervo narrowed the gap early in the fourth quarter. Senior Terry Jones returned a punt 23 yards into Eagles territory, and, three plays later, Kimbrough connected with Williams for a touchdown. Kiran Herman added the extra point to bring the Mustangs within 16-13.
The Mustangs got no closer.
“It was the best season in Mervo history,” said Jones, who’s committed to Old Dominion University. “It was my best season. We started off slow and didn’t make enough plays and North Point did.”
Class 4A state semifinal
North Point 23, No. 8 Mervo 13
Mervo 0 0 6 7 – 13
North Point 0 9 7 7 – 23
NP – James Warner 25 pass from Asa Williams (Evan Patterson kick)
NP – Safety (punter tackled in end zone)
NP – Williams 4 run (Patterson kick)
M – Kelin Kimbrough 1 run (pass failed)
M – Tyree Williams 37 pass from Kimbrough (Herman kick), 1:52
NP – Williams 2 run (Patterson kick)