Annapolis took advantage of Whitman's quarterback problems and came up with the big plays of offense to rip the Vikings, 28-14, and capture the Maryland Class AA state football title yesterday at Severna Park High School.
In winning its first state football crown, the Anne Arundel School finished at 12-0, the only team in the state with an unblemished mark. Whitman, the Montgomery County champion saw its nine-game victory streak snapped and finished at 10-2.
"On Aug. 15, the first day of practice I felt we were very positive for a good season," said Annapolis Coach Al Laramore, who also has coached a Panther squad to a state basketball crown.
"Our team has worked hard, it's been a good season."
Fortune was in Annapolis' favor yesterday with Whitman starting quarterback Tim Agee, on the sidelines, hurt a week ago in the Vikings' 10-7 semifinal win over Dulaney.
Whitman Coach Rich Cameron chose Brad Bernstein as Agee's replacement and the senior called a gutty game, directing Whitman to touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters.
But in between, Annapolis made all the big plays. After Whitman had gtabbed a 7-0 lead on Pete Mathos' one-year buck, the Panthers came right back on Kevin Thompson's 80-yard burst through the middle following the kickoff.
"It was a quick trap." explained Laramore. "Whitman did a good job shutting it down in the second half, but that allowed us to do other things."
"That play really brought us together," said Panther quarterback Darryl Brown, who tossed a pair of touchdowns. "We were feeling a little down after Whitman scored (following an Annapolis fumble and a return of 34 yards to the nine by David Hastings).We're not use to coming from behind."
two-point conversation and an 8-7 Annapolis lead.
Brown ran around right end for a Brown's versatility led to the Panthers' second score on the final play of the first half. Randy Pittman ran 27 yards to the Whitman 36, then took a Brown screen pass to the 18. Two plays later, Brown evaded a Whitman tackler and threw to John Rodney for a 13-yard touchdown.
"He (Brown) has good balance, a good arm and handles the ball well," said Laramore, who had returned to coaching this fall after a year's leave for medical reasons.
Whitman miscues set up both second-half Annapolis scores. First, Bernstein fumbled while attempting to pitch out and 240-pound tackle Daryl Parker recovered for the Panthers Brown passed seven yards to Thompson for the score.
Annapolis improved its lead to 28-7 early in the fourth quarter after Rodney made the first of his two interceptions. The Panthers took over at Whitman's 20 and three plays later Rodney broke through the middle to score from 12 yards out.
With time running out, Bernstein who had failed to complete a pass, took Whitman on a 75-yard march, passing 27 yards to Joel Greenzaid for the score.
The Vikings held Annapolis on four downs and took over at their 37. In six plays, Bernstein moved Whitman to the Pather 19, but Rodney completed Whitman's frustration with a goal-line pass theft as the game ended.