SANDY SPRING – This was not has how the season was supposed to end for the Sherwood varsity football team.
After finishing the regular season undefeated, few would have suspected the Warriors would lose a first round playoff game to school that has never won one.
But that is exactly what happened.
Baltimore’s Mergenthaler Vocation Technical High School (8-2) shocked Sherwood 30-20, upsetting the Warriors (10-0) Friday night during the Maryland 4A Regional Semifinals.
After the victory, Mustangs Head Coach Patrick Nixon told his team that they were going to “shock the State of Maryland.”
“We’ve have been successful the last few years in the city, but this is the first time in school history we won a state playoff game,” Nixon said. “We’ve been working our butts off and a lot of people didn’t give us a chance, you know. I know that they’re a great team, had a great season, but a lot of people didn’t give us a chance coming from Baltimore City and never winning a playoff game, so we wanted to come out here and show people we can play football too.”
The jubilation of the Mervo players was only equaled by the visible disappointment of players from Sherwood.
After the game, some of Sherwood’s players dropped to the ground. Others embraced one another as they came to grips with a sudden end to their season.
“I think it’s just a big disappointment, you know, every guy had high hopes and they believed that were going to go all the way and all that,” said Sherwood running back Travis Levy.
The Mustangs contained Levy, Sherwood’s leading rusher, by dominating the game in the trenches and having multiple defenders dedicated solely to covering Levy and quarterback Michael Mbony throughout the game.
Levy rushed for only 33 yards on 15 carries with no touchdowns.
Mbony ran more effectively for Sherwood with 94 yards on 10 carries, picking up two touchdowns rushing and one passing.
“We put our two best athletes in front of them and just said we’re not going to take our eyes off of them,” said Mervo Head Coach Patrick Nixon.
While penalties propelled the Warriors to a touchdown on their first drive, Mervo recovered and never looked back.
The Mustangs finished off a 10-play, 67-yard drive right before halftime, capped off by a touchdown by running back Rykim Lemon and then struck again with a 95 kickoff return for a touchdown by Armarni Addison to make the game 22-7.
Nixon said the win validated his team’s upcoming status.
“I think we are a good team, I think the sky is the limit for us,” Nixon said. “I think this win right here is big for us now because we thought we could win, but now I think we believe we can win, we know we can and that was a big hurdle for us.”