Severna Park 7
Two plays and 10 seconds were all Annapolis junior Darius Johnson needed. He scored on a 64-yard run to give the Panthers a 14-point cushion with nearly six minutes left in the game against visiting Severna Park last night, then on the next play from scrimmage, he intercepted a pass and returned it 38 yards for the final score of the night in a 27-7 Annapolis win.
No. 13 Annapolis (9-1) secured the Maryland 3A East Region title with the victory and eliminated Anne Arundel County neighbor Severna Park (8-2) from playoff contention. It was Annapolis's second game this week; the Panthers had lost for the first time this season on Monday in overtime against Old Mill.
"We lost to Old Mill because we made a couple of mistakes," said Johnson, who ran for 107 yards on nine carries. "We didn't make any mistakes tonight. The fewest mistakes win, that's what our sign says in the locker room."
Severna Park's mistakes were costly. With 1 minute 14 seconds left in the first quarter, Annapolis senior Patrick Cook-Deegan stopped a Severna Park drive with his sixth interception of the season. And Johnson's pickoff was the back-breaker for the Falcons.
Annapolis led 14-0 at halftime, with 142 yards rushing to Severna Park's 59. Severna Park senior running back Jeff Hoffman had 57 of that total.
Severna Park had a better second half, totaling 154 yards and trailed 14-7 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Severna Park's only score of the game came on the opening drive of the third quarter. After 10 consecutive carries by Hoffman, the Falcons scored on fourth and 13 from the Panthers 25 on a pass from David Horn to Matt Jahnigen.
Hoffman finished with 28 carries for 142 yards, but he was unable to score on fourth and goal from the 3 in the fourth quarter, as Johnson came up with a hard hit.
Severna Park can find consolation in a turnaround season -- the Falcons were 1-9 in 2001.
"I'm happy but I'm disappointed," Hines said. "We did good, but when it counted, they did what they were supposed to do. If you can't score on the 3-yard line, you don't deserve to be playing in the playoffs."