A Sept. 5 Sports article incorrectly said that Eleanor Roosevelt High School's football team had not lost a season-opening game in eight years before Saturday. The team lost its opener in 2002. (Published 9/8/04)
Severna Park 13,
Eleanor Roosevelt 7
Moments after Greg Zingler's 33-yard touchdown pass to Ben Hunt gave Severna Park a last-minute, 13-7 win over No. 5 Eleanor Roosevelt, the victorious Falcons gathered for a noisy midfield celebration. There were raised helmets and group hugs and euphoric proclamations -- "We beat Eleanor Roosevelt, baby! . . . That says a lot . . . they're big time!" shouted lineman Chris Anthony to his roaring teammate.
Severna Park Coach J.P. Hines tried valiantly to sprinkle some perspective onto the celebration, quieting his team with a sober speech that began, "We've got a long way to go."
The ending, though, was drowned out by a shower of ice water, courtesy of Steve Metzger and Chase Kettler, which touched off another round of cheers.
It was quite a party for a Week 1 victory, but Anthony -- a veteran of the Falcons' 1-9 season three years ago -- had a ready explanation for the jubilation.
"We're Anne Arundel County; we're known for lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, but football? Never," he said. "To beat a [Prince George's] County team, at their place, in the first game of the year -- it's just incredible."
After a scoreless first half, senior Andrew Ferris put Severna Park (1-0) ahead with a 32-yard run on the first series of the second half, and a swarming Falcons defense nearly made that score stand up. Severna Park forced a fourth-quarter fumble, twice stopped the Raiders on crucial fourth downs and mostly bottled up Eleanor Roosevelt quarterback Derrick Williams. Williams, the top recruit in the country, was held to 61 yards on 19 carries and was dropped for a loss five times.
But the Raiders (0-1) began moving the ball in the fourth quarter, finally mounting a six-play drive that ended with a 31-yard scoring strike from Williams to senior tight end Will Davis.
With the score tied and 1 minute 28 seconds left, Zingler and the Falcons got the ball back at their own 39-yard line. A 15-yard facemask penalty and 16-yard pass to Dan White set up the game-winning touchdown grab by Hunt, a 6-foot-4 senior who will play lacrosse at North Carolina next year and hasn't played football since his freshman year.
His score handed Eleanor Roosevelt its first season-opening loss in Coach Rick Houchens's eight-year tenure and started the Severna Park party.
"We played better than they did today," Hines said. "We're young, we're small, but the kids don't quit."