In a way, it helped top-ranked Seneca Valley when starting wide receiver LeVar Scott dropped a pass while open just a few plays into last night's Maryland 3A semifinal against seventh-ranked Damascus. Scott knew he would have to redeem himself and did so in splendid fashion, catching two touchdown passes and kicking six extra points as Seneca Valley won, 48-7, before 5,500 in Germantown.

The Screaming Eagles (12-0) won for the 38th consecutive time and will play 10th-ranked Thomas Stone--which defeated Randallstown, 16-7, last night--in the 3A final Saturday at 7 p.m. at Byrd Stadium.

Seneca Valley's third straight trip to Byrd was forecast three plays after Scott dropped the pass deep in Damascus territory. On a second-and-11 from Damascus's 16-yard line, Screaming Eagles quarterback Chris Kelley lofted a pass toward Scott, who was double-covered near the goal line. Scott wrestled the ball from the defenders, then rolled into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes 54 seconds left in the first quarter.

Following a Damascus punt, Scott again caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Kelley, breaking two tackles before racing in to give the Screaming Eagles a 14-0 lead with 3:28 left in the half.

"My mind just went blank on the pass I dropped," Scott said. "I just felt so open. I knew I would have to redeem myself somehow. I just went up and pulled the passes in."

That was more than enough offense for Seneca Valley and just the beginning of a special night for the seniors playing their final home game. Kelley, a senior, ran for touchdowns of 24 and four yards before halftime and had a 43-yard punt return for a score.

Senior linebacker Brett Chamberlain returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown seconds before halftime to give Seneca Valley a 35-0 lead. Senior defensive end Clint Pitts returned an interception 97 yards early in the fourth quarter for the game's final points.

Damascus's points came after quarterback Mac Mollet's pass was intercepted by Mike Ricucci, who then fumbled the ball. Damascus wide receiver Joe Scritchfield returned the fumble 30 yards for a touchdown.

Damascus finished with 163 yards offense, including 137 yards passing by Mollet. The Swarming Hornets (10-2) got inside Seneca Valley's 10-yard line only twice and turned over the ball both times.

"They just whipped us in every way possible," said Damascus Coach Dan Makosy, whose team's only other loss this season was by 28-6 to Seneca Valley. "I have no idea what happened."

CAPTION: Seneca Valley quarterback Chris Kelley runs for two touchdowns, throws for two touchdowns and returns a punt for one touchdown against No. 7 Damascus.