The Annapolis offense had proved unstoppable through much of the first five games, averaging more than 40 points and rolling to easy victories.
However, Severna Park shut down the Panthers for much of last night's game. The Falcons limited Annapolis to seven first downs and seven points during the first three quarters.
But Rayvon Johnson helped the Annapolis offense awaken in the fourth quarter. Johnson made several big plays, the last one coming with 34 seconds left when he caught a 29-yard touchdown from Mike Phaneuf to give No. 5 Annapolis a 21-17 victory over Severna Park in a battle of undefeated Anne Arundel County teams in Severna Park.
This game has long been a favorite among Anne Arundel County fans. The stands were packed at Severna Park in the 42nd meeting between the two teams.
Scheduling changes forced this game to be moved to midseason for the first time; this matchup traditionally had been the season finale for both. Annapolis has won the game two years in a row after losing five straight, and the series is deadlocked at 19-19-3.
Johnson ran for 766 yards in the first first games for Annapolis (6-0, 6-0), but Severna Park (5-1, 3-1) held him to 52 yards in the first three quarters--26 of which came on one play. He finished with 88 yards on 18 carries and also had 112 yards on three receptions.
"Rayvon said, 'Give me the ball,' [and] our big-play people made big plays," Annapolis Coach Roy Brown said. "It was one of the best games I've ever been in."
The Panthers trailed 10-7 when Johnson went to work. Annapolis used a slick misdirection/bootleg play than enabled Phaneuf to hit Johnson for a 60-yard gain. Aaron Copeland (93 yards) scored on a one-yard run two plays later for a 14-10 lead with 8 minutes 3 seconds left.
Severna Park answered later in the quarter on an 11-play, 88-yard drive. Chris Odom threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Paul Gillette with 1:50 left.
Gillette broke a tackle by Johnson to get in for the score. He then kicked the extra point for a 17-14 lead.
Annapolis wasn't done yet. Kevin Simms took the short kickoff and returned it 36 yards to Severna Park's 46 before Johnson stepped up again.
He raced around the right side for a 30-yard gain. Johnson then ran for three before a holding penalty wiped out Phaneuf's touchdown pass to Kyle Acker.
On first and 10 from the 29, Phaneuf lofted a pass down the left side that Johnson caught for the touchdown. Jagman Chahal added the extra point.
Derek Dixon led Severna Park with 114 yards rushing.
Annapolis finished with 312 yards total offense, 146 of which came in the fourth quarter, when it scored 14 points. The Panthers don't like to pass, but Phaneuf completed 5 of 9 for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
"I hope we earned respect this time," Severna Park Coach J.P. Hines said. "We've got a good football team, and we came to play."
CAPTION: Rayvon Johnson, left, of Annapolis, makes tackle on Derek Dixon. Johnson later caught winning touchdown pass.
CAPTION: Starke Mueller of Severna Park eludes a tackle in a matchup of unbeaten teams in Anne Arundel County.