No. 4 Edmondson/Westside (7-3, 6.84) at No. 1 Gwynn Park (8-1, 9.50), Nov. 10, 7 p.m.
Edmondson-Westside is currently on a 2 game skid with losses to Dunbar and Mervo in the last two weeks. Needless to say the Red Storm is a team you don’t overlook. Coach Corey Johnson is one of the top offensive minds in high school football. Edmondson has the ability to move the ball quickly down field if quarterback Teon Gardner is given time and standout wide receiver Deshawn Ruffin isn’t contained. During the regular season, Edmondson’s offense averaged over 26 points a game. In three contests they posted over 30 points. On the defensive side, the Red Storm is fast and physical led by Junior Linebacker Lauron Taylor. From our perspective the defense is possibly the strength of the team. Edmondson held opponents to an overall average of 14 points the entire season. In six games they only allowed 1 touchdown or less.
Gwynn Park is no stranger to post season play as the Yellow Jackets only missed the playoffs twice in 14 years. Unlike Edmondson, Coach Danny Haynes kids are entering the playoffs on a 5 game winning streak after defeating Suitland in their season finale. The Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A Champs went undefeated in their division this year. The offense averages over 33 points per game and the defense held opponents to an average of 10 points per game. What we know of the Yellow Jackets is they are very athletic on both sides off the ball. They’re led by senior running back and linebacker Ryan Clemons. Coach Haynes uses a three running back rotation to keep fresh legs in the backfield and zone coverage on defense.
So who’s going to win? Edmondson is a resilient team. Sometimes it looks like the Red Storm is ready to implode but the disfunction turns into motivation. In order for them to defeat Gwynn Park they need to stay mentally focus all four quarters. We checked the yes box on whether they have the pieces to pull off the upset. What concerns us is Edmondson’s playoff history. The last several years the Red Storm typical thrash their first round opponents who happen to be from the Baltimore City area. Playing outside the area is a contrast against the norm. Couple that with playing on the road and entering the playoffs on a 2 game losing streak, we feel is a bit much for the Red Storm to overcome. Gwynn Park is the number one seed for a reason. We give the Yellow Jackets the nod to advance in the 2A north.
No. 3 Hereford (7-3, 6.96) at No. 2 Forest Park (8-1, 7.84), Nov. 10, 6 p.m., Poly-Western Complex
Baltimore City versus Baltimore County match-up on Friday at Poly. Forest Park is back in post season play after taking a year hiatus. Hereford continues their playoff streak dating back to 2013. From our research, neither team has a significant win. The Foresters averages over 33 points per game on offense and allows an average of 7 points a game on defense. Coach Sean Markley’s team recorded 5 shutouts during the regular season. Hereford also averages over 33 points per game but allows an average of over 24 points a game on defense.
So who’s going to win? On one hand, Hereford has a history of struggling against athletic teams in the playoffs. But on the other hand, I’m not sure Forest Park has enough athletic pieces across the board to defeat a smash mouth discipline Bulls team. What we know is Hereford can score but Forest Park has a stingy defense. Hereford gives up a lot of points on defense but Forest Park hasn’t lit up the scoreboard against playoff caliber opponents. Basically, another coin flip game. Our decision is solely based off of playoff experience. Hereford advances in the 2A North division.
REGIONAL FINALS NOV. 17-18
STATE SEMIFINALS NOV. 24-25
STATE FINAL DEC. 2, 7 PM at Navy