3A South No. 3 seed
First round: 7 p.m. Saturday at Westlake
For the Falcons, the playoffs could become a role-playing disaster: Their star quarterback turns into a water boy; their running back turns into a quarterback; their promising, junior varsity freshman turns into a primary ball carrier.
A crucial injury two weekends ago negated much of the Falcons' experience. Quarterback Greg Zingler -- a tested, talented junior -- broke a bone in his hand during a game on Oct. 29, and he'll continue to wear a cast into December.
In his place, Severna Park will start former running back Andrew Ferris, who had never played quarterback before. It will move freshman Ryan Clark onto the varsity team to start at running back in place of Ferris.
"It's a very different look," Falcons Coach J.P. Hines said. "These kids need to step up and play more experienced than they really are."
When the Falcons play to potential, they may be the best team in Anne Arundel County. Problem is, they don't play that way very often.
When they're on, they're machine-like (wins over state powers Broadneck and Eleanor Roosevelt); when they're off, it can be a long day (shut-out loss to Southern). "Sometimes," Zingler said earlier this season, "it feels like two different teams."
The question is, which team will show up? The one with the mammoth defensive line capable of shutting down top running backs? Or the sloppy one that sometimes looks lost on the field?
Here's all you need to know about Hines' ability to motivate: With every plausible disadvantage piled on the Falcons last weekend, Hines convinced his team that it could beat Broadneck. And it did.
The Severna Park coach has a passion that's contagious. He runs around the field and scrimmages with his players during practices. He spits, hollers and screams on the sideline during games. With his team needing a win against Broadneck, Hines found a way to motivate his players again.
"He just made it clear that we needed this one," said Jonathan Hartman, the kicker who made a last-second, 32-yard field goal to beat Broadneck. "It's impossible not to get excited playing for him."
-- Eli Saslow