MIDDLETOWN — By the time Edmondson made its initial first down, Middletown had already scored two touchdowns. That put the Red Storm in a hole it couldn't climb out of in Friday night's Class 2A state semifinal.
Edmondson didn't make a first down until early in the second quarter, and host Middletown took advantage of good field position from short punts and turnovers to jump in front quickly and pull away for a 48-8 victory.
The Knights (12-1) will face Frederick Douglass for the state title next week at M&T Bank Stadium.
"When you get down early on a good team, it's hard to come back," Edmondson coach Dante Jones said. "We just made a couple of mistakes, and it hurt us."
The Red Storm finishes its season with an 8-5 record. Edmondson was trying for the school's second state title in six years, but
early mistakes proved too much to overcome — along with the big plays that the Knights kept making. Middletown senior quarterback Michael Pritts rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another. He finished with 100 yards rushing and completed 4 of 7 passes for 141 yards. Zach Welch ran for 75 yards, while Jess Powell added 73 yards.
Edmondson quarterback Tyjuan Eaton got picked off twice in the first half (and five times overall), and the Red Storm's offense didn't get moving until the second quarter, when
Eaton made some nice throws and running back Steve Everette flashed his speed. But Edmondson couldn't turn that into points, and Middletown held a 17-0 lead at the break.
The Red Storm's short punt on the game's first drive helped Middletown start its initial drive at the Edmondson 35. The Knights scored five plays later when quarterback Pritts tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Ben Lewis.
After that, Eaton got picked off on the second play of the second drive. That gave the Knights possession at the Middletown 47, and they scored five plays after that for a 14-0 lead on a Pritts 2-yard run.
"We wanted to come out strong and hard," Pritts said. "We felt like if we could get up on them early, that would be huge."
Middletown made it 17-0 on Welch's 30-yard field goal with 7:19 left in the half. That came after the Knights picked off Eaton for a second time and began a drive at the Red Storm 39-yard line.
Edmondson got its only touchdown when Jamal Nesbit ran for a 46-yard touchdown on a fake punt in the third quarter. Everette then ran for the two-point conversion to make it 24-8, but Middletown wound up scoring 21 points in the third quarter to seal the win.
Jones said the Red Storm will hopefully learn from the loss and be back again.
"We just keep building," he said.
Class 2A state semifinal
Middletown 48, Edmondson 8
E 0 0 8 0-8
M 14 3 21 10-48
M- Lewis 3 pass from Pritta (Welch kick)
M- Pritts 2 run (Welch kick)
M- Welch 30 FG
M- Pritts 53 run (Welch kick)
E- Nesbit 46 run (Everette kick)
M- Pritts 1 run (Welch kick)
M-Powell 10 run (Welch kick)
M-Welch 26 FG