Football Playoffs: New Town Hangs 40 on State's Stingiest Defense
The Titans will play Overlea in the Class 1A North final.
Coming into Friday night's game, Northwestern High School had allowed just one touchdown all season.
But New Town matched that total against the Wildcats' defense in the first four minutes of the first quarter, then scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to put away Northwestern and move on to the second round of the MPSSAA 1A North playoffs.
Titans quarterback Shawheem Dowdy threw touchdown passes of 45, 30 and 22-yards and the New Town defense mostly bottled up the speedy Wildcats running game en route to a 40-12 victory at Kevin W. Liles Stadium at Woodlawn High School.
"They're the No. 1 defense in the state," Titans coach Joe Holland said of Northwestern. "All week [we got ready]...they played a chess game."
Holland's pieces, however, played better Friday night. In the first half, New Town had success running the ball as the Wildcats kept two safeties back, daring the Titans to keep it on the ground.
But after junior running back Rayshawn Clark ran a sweep right for 14-yards and a touchdown to give New Town a 14-6 lead in the second quarter after a successful 2-point conversion, Northwestern started to play eight men near the line of scrimmage.
Dowdy, the senior quarterback, made them pay with three long touchdown passes in the third quarter, the second coming just 1:30 after the first, following a fumble recovery off the Wildcats' muffed kick return.
Northwestern answered several minutes later with a 45-yard touchdown run to get within 14. But Dowdy's third touchdown of the quarter and a 30-yard scoring run by senior running back Darrell Wyche finished off the Wildcats.
New Town will face first-seeded Overlea in the Class 1A North final.
Holland, for one, is glad his team is facing Overlea -- the only team to beat the Titans this season, by a 24-18 score back in week two.
"We didn't know that was going to be a playoff game," Holland said, with a wide grin.
New Town will be ready this time, he said.