THE TEAMS: No. 1 Queen Anne's vs. No. 2 Eastern Tech
GAME DETAILS: Saturday, Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, Md.)
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Eastern Tech defeated Lake Clifton 50-12 in the region semifinal; defeated Chesapeake-Balt. 20-6 in the region final; defeated Douglass-PG 27-12 in the state semifinal.
Queen Anne's defeated Wicomico 43-29 in the region semifinal; defeated Kent Island 41-17 in the region final; defeated Middletown 48-33 in the state semifinal.
RECORD IN FINALS:
Eastern Tech: 0-3
Queen Anne's: First appearance
Passing Game Advantage: Queen Anne's
Like the 1A game before it, don't expect much in the way of passing offense in the 2A final. Queen Anne's and Eastern Tech have combined 1,300 passing yards this season. Although Eastern Tech's Zach Burkhardt is very efficient - completing 55 percent of his passes and more than a third of them going for TDs, the edge goes to Queen Anne's Tyler German. The senior has 850 passing yards and 14 touchdowns while throwing only two interceptions.
Running Game Advantage: Eastern Tech
Eastern Tech grounds out victories - 38 of them over the past three seasons to be precise. Both teams use a backfield-by-committee approach. Eastern Tech is strong on the line and has experience with Emmanuel Gbor leading the rushing attack. Burkhardt and Criszon Brown also have more than 600 rushing yards. Queen Anne's counters with Matt Fitzgerald and twins Jake and Quinn Haley. All three have rushed for more than 500 yards. Fitzgerald is coming off a 166-yard, three-touchdown performance in a state semifinal win over Middletown.
Defense Advantage: Eastern Tech
Eastern Tech has held eight opponents to two scores or less. Even in the game Eastern Tech allowed 28 points, it scored 62. The Maverick's 5-2 defense is led by ends Gbor and Jake McNew, who both have 11 sacks. Eastern has four players with nine or more sacks, and the Mavericks have been strong against the run. Brandon Wilson lead Queen Anne's with 104 tackles. Queen Anne's, like Eastern, runs a 5-0 front.
Special Teams Advantage: Queen Anne's
The Haleys are game-breakers. Jake and Quinn may be the first twins to ever return kicks and punts for touchdowns in the same high school season. Between them, they have six special teams touchdowns. Gbor and Brown have been effective for Eastern Tech, but not as explosive as the Haleys. The kicking game also slightly favors Queen Anne's, as well.
Coaching Advantage: Eastern Tech
Marc Mesaros is regarded as one of the best coaches in Baltimore, and the only thing missing from his resume is a state title. Since taking over Eastern Tech seven seasons ago, Mesaros is 74-14. His teams are accustomed to advancing deep in the playoffs, and a third straight trip to M&T Bank will not be an overwhelming experience for this team.
The past two years, Eastern Tech has reached the state final with an undefeated record, but has been the underdog in what ended up as back-to-back losses to River Hill. This year, the Mavericks have a loss, but could be considered the favorite thanks to its experience. One thing for certain, one of these teams will walk away with its first state title in what will be a rare victory of their respective leagues. No Baltimore County school other than Hereford (2001-2002) has won a 2A state title and there hasn't been a 2A Bayside champ since the classification was known as "B" and Cambridge-S.D. won the 1979 crown.