Outlook: The Millers were stung by a first-round playoff loss to eventual state champion Franklin, 15-12, and they’re hungry to do better this season. White said Jordan Morant will be the featured tailback on offense, and he likes the development of quarterback Rishon Holmes.
Outlook: The Owls will have quarterback Treshawn Ray back, and he’ll be tough to stop. Dundalk lost a bunch of talent from last year’s team but still should do well.
Coach Anthony Burgos Franklin Indians have been the cream of the crop in Baltimore County for the last decade, and things project to stay the same this year, though their post-season slate may get a little thicker. The Indians 13 consecutive playoff appearances is the fifth longest streak in MPSSAA history.
Last year, the Indians became just the second school (Seneca Valley ‘77-80, ‘92-94) in MPSSAA history to win three 3A state titles in six seasons. Coach Burgos’ Indians have been the winningest program in the Baltimore area over the last 7 years, winning 75 games.
This season’s Indians have a talented cast, though they lost two-way stalwarts Elijah Solomon and Jay Thompson, along with Robert Garrett, from their state championship team.
Both Franklin and Milford Mill return their starting quarterbacks, and both are pre-season favorites within their region – the Indians in the 3A North, the Millers in the 2A North.
A look at the county’s top teams;
Franklin (12-2, 6-1) >>> The Indians return Mekai Felton (Fordham commit) and Xavier Cokley (JMU commit), both who made key contributions to last year’s title team. Felton caught 3 receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown in the state title win, while Cokley led the Indians in passes defended, with 16.
Vernon Brown returns at quarterback after throwing for more than 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns, as does kicker
Simon Spath, who kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired in the state championship game. Two-year captain and two-way lineman Isaiah Lewis returns, while junior defensive back Daymon David is garnering major college looks.
The Indians, who opened with Wise in ‘11 and ‘12, Calvert Hall In ‘13 and ‘14, McDonogh In ‘15 and ‘16, then a pair of week 2 meetings with DeMatha in ‘17 and ‘18, take on a relative gauntlet of a schedule again, heading to Long Island to take on St Anthony’s in week 1, followed by a trip to McDonogh, then hosting Dundalk, before going to Milford Mill, all while leaving a matchup with Mt St Joe in week 8.
Milford Mill (9-2, 6-1) >>> Coach Reggie White’s Millers split their two games with the state champion Indians last season, and had a great opportunity for a sweep, before falling just short to their league rivals in the regional semifinal.
Junior quarterback Rishon Holmes returns, following a season where he threw for 1,432 yards and 21 touchdowns, while adding 691 rushing yards and four scores on the ground. The talented Jordan Morant joins Holmes in the backfield.
Morant rushed for 470 yards and 8 touchdowns playing behind Desmond Shell last season, adding 58 tackles on the other side of the ball. Holmes’ top target in ‘18, Tyree Sheppard (21-406-5), returns. The defense, who lost 3-year starting linebacker Kevin Neal and tackle Darius Woods, does return defensive end Makai Booker, linebacker Khalil Scott, lineman Shawn Lewis, and defensive back Isaiah Craig (3 int).
Dundalk (10-2, 8-1) >>> The Owls reached the 2018 3A North regional final, following a 26-20 win over Edgewood, and preceding being on the wrong side of a 42-7 rout at the hands of Franklin. The Owls 10 wins in ‘18 doubled their ‘17 total of 5 victories.
The Owls lost running back Ronnie Brown to graduation, but has quarterback Treshawn Ray returning, along with wide receiver-cornerback Malik Lindsey, plus linemen Joe Delveccio and Marcus Barry.
New Town (10-3, 6-1) >>> The Titans advanced to the 2A state semifinals last season, after two hard fought wins over Edmondson and Eastern Tech, before a 35-0 loss to Glenelg in the final four. The regional title was the second in school history, after finishing as runner-up in 2012. Coach Mike Savage’s Titans allowed just one touchdown or less in 9 of their 13 games last season. Returning for the Titans are brothers Daron and Darius Broach, both two-way skill players, as well as U Mass commit Gerrell Johnson, and quarterback Shawn Miller.
Woodlawn (7-3, 4-3) >>> Coach Elwood Townsend’s Warriors missed out on a playoff berth last year, with a 14-12 loss to Towson, but did post a win over eventual regional champion New Town, 16-6. The Warriors have won 12 of their last 16 games, dating back to the 2017 season. The Warriors earned their last playoff berth in 2009, with their last post-season victory coming in 2003. The Warriors feature a pair of talented running backs in Zamia Renwick and Jabar Gainer.
Parkville (3-6, 2-4) >>> After going 13-6 in ‘16 and ‘17, the ‘18 Knights hit a stumbling block, finishing 3-6. Together with a handful of key 3-year starters, and a schedule that doesn’t include Franklin, Milford Mill, Dundalk or New Town, the Knights may grab a top 4 seed in the 4A North. Knights Coach Justin Payne is enthusiastic about this year’s campaign, with the returning leadership of running back-defensive back Noah Hambrick, the Knights MVP the last two years, and 3-year starting lineman Emmanuel Anokute.
Kenwood (6-4, 3-4) who. will have to battle Franklin, Mervo, and Dundalk in the 3A North, features defensive back Daymon Duncan.
Eastern Tech (10-2, 6-1) and Hereford (7-3, 5-2) will compete with Milford Mill in the 2A North. The Mustangs, who have made post-season appearances in 11 of the last 16 years, boast running back Omar Parker. The Bulls, the one-time, long-time county power, won their last regional title in 2009.
Perry Hall (5-4, 4-3) joins Parkville in the 4A North.
Games to watch; WK1 – Franklin at St Anthony’s NY, New Town at Milford Mill; WK2 Franklin at McDonogh, Concordia Prep at Dundalk; WK3 Dundalk at Franklin, Eastern Tech at Milford Mill; WK4 Franklin at Milford Mill, Douglass PG at Dundalk; WK5 Woodlawn at Dundalk; WK8 Franklin at Mt St Joe; WK9 New Town at Eastern Tech, Woodlawn at Franklin, Parkville at Kenwood