Frederick Douglass High School freshman quarterback Devin Butler was one part lucky and four parts very good during Friday night’s 34-20 2A state semifinal win against host Edmondson-Westside at Poly High School in Baltimore.
The luck came in the first half as Butler’s first touchdown pass of the game came off a deflection; the young signal caller looked to get the ball to Paul Harris, but the ball sailed off the hands of a Red Storm defender instead and then landed in the hands of Marc Dickens for a 24-yard touchdown pass.
“The first touchdown, I didn’t see how they were in the same place because it wasn’t the right route combination but when I seen him caught it, I was happy,” Butler said. “I knew we needed to keep scoring, scoring and scoring.”
Next came the good as Butler tossed three more touchdowns to Harris of 13, 57 and 64 yards, besting Edmondson’s initial single coverage on the future University of Tennessee wideout and then its rotating safety to stake the Eagles (12-1) to a 34-6 lead late in the third quarter.
Douglass then held off a late Edmondson rally, which was primarily led by running back Hakeem Holland (176 rushing yards, 207 total offensive yards), to reach the 2A state final for the second straight year.
“When I saw him in one-on-one coverage, I knew if I put the ball where he was, he could go up and get it,” said Butler, who finished with 170 yards on 7-of-10 passing. “It’s just an amazing feeling that every time I threw to him, he caught it for a touchdown.”
The Eagles advance to face Middletown (13-0) for the 2A state championship in a repeat of last year’s final, which the Knights won handedly, 43-6.
“It’s a heck of an accomplishment because there had been a drought at Douglass for some time,” Douglass coach J.C. Pinkney said. “Even though we’ve had a lot of success, [past teams] never could get through the semis.
“Last year’s team broke that glass ceiling for us. We set a goal at the end of last year and we intend to live it out. We’re back with an opportunity to showcase ourselves again.”
Luck spotted the Eagles a 6-0 lead, then Butler connected with Harris from 13 yards out on a pass in the back of the end zone for a 12-0 advantage with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first half. The two then connected from 57 yards out with 43 seconds remaining in the second quarter and Butler tossed a two-point conversion pass for a 20-0 halftime advantage.
Harris followed with a 64-yard touchdown reception from Butler with 8:13 left in the third quarter for a 26-0 lead. He initially bobbled the ball, but gained control and then ran some 40 yards untouched for the score.
“We just took advantage of what they gave us,” Harris said.
Edmondson got on the board on a 2-yard run by Holland with 4:28 left in the third quarter, but Douglass answered with a seven-play, 50-yard drive that Butler capped with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 32-8 advantage late in the third quarter.
The Red Storm made things interesting following an 8-yard touchdown run by Holland and then a 16-yard pass from Tyjuan Eaton to Jaleel Sassafrass with 4:44 left to cut the lead to 14 points. The Eagles, however, were able to run out the final 4:40 to secure the win.
Frederick Douglass 34, Edmondson-Westside 20
Douglass (12-1) 6 12 14 0 —34
Edmondson (11-2) 0 0 8 12 — 20
FD — Marc Dickens 24 pass from Devin Butler (run failed)
FD — Paul Harris 13 pass from Devin Butler (run failed)
FD — Paul Harris 57 pass from Devin Butler (Tre’ Gibson Hall pass from Devin Butler)
FD — Paul Harris 64 pass from Devin Butler (run failed)
EW — Hakeem Holland 2 run (Shawn Stewart pass from Tyjuan Eaton)
FD Devin Butler 3 run (Avery Wood run)
EW Hakeem Holland 8 run (pass failed)
EW — Jaleel Sassafrass 16 pass from Tyjuan Eaton (run failed)
Frederick Douglass — Devonte Williams 9-67, Devin Butler 19-66, Avery Wood 8-32, Kenneth Freeman 6-28, Kevin Freeman 8-25, D’Ondre MacKey 1-12.
Edmondson-Westside — Hakeem Holland 20-176, Marcellus Pack 6-19, Tyjuan Eaton 4-9, Eric Tate 1-6.
Frederick Douglass — Devin Butler 7-10-170-0
Edmondson-Westside — Tyjuan Eaton 10-22-75-2
Frederick Douglass — Paul Harris 3-134, Marc Dickens 1-24, Devonte Williams 1-7, Kenneth Freeman 1-7, Kevin Freeman 1-(-2).
Edmondson-Westside — Hakeem Holland 4-31, Damon Barnes 2-20, Shawn Stewart 2-3, Jaleel Sassafrass 1-16, Quantaye Battle 1-5.