In five different games this season Catonsville found themselves relentlessly dominating its opponent on the ground to the point where the contest was in hand and the clock was running come the second half.
Friday night against Old Mill the tables were turned.
Patriots running back Rob Chesson rolled up 306 yards rushing and scored all seven of Old Mill’s touchdowns as the Comets fell behind early in the first quarter and never could keep pace, falling 49-20 in the Class 4A State Semifinals.
“You got to look at it as, what we did all season, they did to us,” junior linebacker Joseth Hylton said. “We didn’t come out here and show up to play.”
The Patriots (13-0) held the Comets to season-lows in points and total rushing yards. Catonsville, which averaged 362 yards on the ground in its previous two playoff games, could only muster 171 yards on 35 carries Friday night.
Tailback DeAndre’ Lane’s 21st touchdown of the season helped the Comets (12-1) slice into a 14-0 deficit early in the second quarter, but overall, the junior speedster managed only 62 yards on 18 carries.
“We knew he was an incredible athlete coming in,” Old Mill head coach Chad McCormick said. “Catonsville has a ton of speed and our kids showed a lot of respect for them and understood what they were getting into…They had a few long runs, but overall we were able to hold them to minimal gains.”
On the other side of the ball, Chesson, as he’s done to 12 other teams this season, carved up the Comets on defense.
A Lane fumble on Catonsville’s opening possession set up the Patriots for a six-play, 67-yard drive that culminated in Chesson’s first score from 27 yards out. After Old Mill recovered the ensuing onside kick, the Patriots needed only four plays for the senior running back to find the end zone once more. (That score, Chesson’s 44th on the year, broke the Maryland state record for touchdowns in a season.)
Unfortunately for the Comets, he was just getting warmed up.
After Lane’s touchdown brought Catonsville within seven, two possessions later, Chesson ripped off a 50-yard touchdown run around the right end, and, would go on to add two more scores in the final 2:05 of the second quarter to turn a once manageable 20-7 deficit into a 34-7 route come halftime.
“I’ll tell you what, he looked great on film, but today he looked unstoppable,” Catonsville head coach Rich Hambor said of Chesson.
“Whether that was a little bit of us—but I think that was a lot of him—he’s the greatest back I’ve seen in years. His speed, his vision, his cutback ability, his patience too—he had it all.”
Chesson’s sixth and seventh touchdowns both resulted in a running clock, which goes into effect when one team is up by 35 or more in the second half.
However, the Comets certainly didn’t throw in the towel, as Josh Hylton’s touchdown gallop from 22 yards out and Deniko Carter and Aaron Jones’ 47-yard scoring hookup gave Catonsville a little reason to celebrate even with the outcome of the game all but secured.
Hambor knows that this one lopsided finish doesn’t overshadow a historic season for the Comets, who captured their first region title in school history. However, he understands if they don’t focus on that right away.
“This is a hard time to remind them of that. They’re not really thinking about that right now and rightfully so,” Hambor said.
“One of the things I said is when you get this far and you lose it feels a lot worse than losing a game week one or week two. This is as bad as it could feel to lose. But, I feel a lot of people are never going to get to experience what they’re feeling, so I think in retrospect they’re going to be super proud of what happened [this season].”
Slowly walking off the field, Joseth Hylton already seemed to have some perspective of what his Comets have done.
“All the guys, we’re cool about it,” he said of the disappointing loss. “We made history. We’ve done but what nobody’s done before. At least we accomplished things.”
A special thanks to Jonathon Moynihan at Severn Patch for the video highlights.
Old Mill 49, Catonsville 20
OM 14 20 7 7 ---- 49
C 0 7 7 6 ---- 20
OM -- Chesson 27 run (Hannon kick)
OM -- Chesson 1 run (Hannon kick)
C -- Lane 3 run (Medinger kick)
OM -- Chesson 50 run (kick failed)
OM -- Chesson 34 run (Hannon kick)
OM -- Chesson 39 run (Hannon kick)
OM -- Chesson 5 run (Kess pass from McKinney)
C -- Josh Hylton 22 run (Medinger kick)
OM -- Chesson 6 run (Hannon kick)
C -- Carter 47 pass from A. Jones (kick failed)