Severna Park senior lineman Chase Kettler was so keyed up for the Falcons' game last night against No. 20 Old Mill that he dreamed three times this week that he recovered a fumble deep inside Patriotsterritory.

Early in the fourth quarter, with his team clinging to a 21-17 lead, Kettler's dream became a reality when he pounced on a loose ball at the Patriots 13. Moments later, teammate Marques Johnson scored and Severna Park had all the cushion it would need in a 28-17 victory at home.

Linebacker Mark Otto forced the fumble when he sacked Old Mill quarterback Kelian Stevens.

"I had three different dreams this week that I would pick up a fumble in the red zone with my bad hand," said Kettler, who has torn ligaments in his hand. "And sure enough it did happen. . . . And that's a true story right there."

The win tightened an already tight Anne Arundel County race, improving Severna Park to 5-1 overall, 5-0 league; Old Mill fell to 5-1, 5-1.

"It's a huge win, it's not the biggest win but it sure keeps one thing straight: I love being the underdog," Severna Park Coach J.P. Hines said. "I hope everyone keeps having us getting beat."

The Falcons were tied for first place with Old Mill and Annapolis in Anne Arundel County coming into the game, but few felt they were the favorite last night. Old Mill won last year, 30-28, and the Falcons got off to a shaky start last night, fumbling the opening kickoff and giving the Patriots the ball on the Severna Park 9.

But the defense held the Patriots to a field goal, deflecting a pass on first down and containing Old Mill running back Ryan Callahan on second and third down.

"I always tell my kids to be prepared for sudden change," Hines said. "The defense held tight [on the first fumble] and I thought that was a big stand when they could have just buried their heads and it could have been 7-0."

The Falcons bounced back from the early turnover, driving 80 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing drive. During the march, the Falcons strayed from the ball-control approach they would use for most of the game, instead picking the Old Mill secondary apart for 70 yards, including a difficult catch by Chris Hunt in the corner of the end zone for the 19-yard capper.

The most important drive of the night for the Falcons, though, was the 12-play, 88-yard drive that spanned 6 minutes 28 seconds in the second half, and gave the Falcons the lead at 21-17. Senior running back Tommy Massie carried the ball six times on the drive, scoring on a nine-yard run.

The key turnover followed, and after Johnson's 13-yard touchdown run, the Falcons' defense took over, much as it had done all night.

"The defense played their butts off tonight," Hines said. "Old Mill did not earn a touchdown tonight."

Severna Park's offense showed a dangerous habit of continuing to test its defense -- turning over the ball two times inside its own 20. Each time, Old Mill scored.

After running over the Falcons last season for 341 yards and three rushing touchdowns, Callahan produced 122 yards, about 40 yards below his per game average.

Massie, who has been limited all season because of injury, got the start for the Falcons and shined, carrying 24 times for 97 yards.