North County's first trip to the Maryland 4A East Region playoffs since 1996 was on the line, and the Knights' offense was sputtering. The dropped passes, fumbles and high throws kept coming, so Coach Gary Liddick looked not to one of his 18 seniors, but down his bench to a freshman call-up from junior varsity, fullback Billy Lawver.

Lawver's runs in the fourth quarter, five of which went for at least eight yards, helped jump-start North County's shotgun offense and keyed a 20-13 win over Meade last night in an Anne Arundel league game.

"When we had him in practice in the beginning of the week, we were salivating," Liddick said of the 6-foot, 190-pound Lawver, who rushed 10 times for 61 yards in the final quarter. "He hits the hole extremely fast. He runs unconscious, and he finds a hole."

The Knights (6-4, 6-4) clinched a spot in the 4A East playoffs with the victory.

With the score tied at 7 in the fourth quarter, Lawver ran three times before North County quarterback Josh McQuade sucked the defense in on a fake and threw over the top for an 18-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Raymond Mack. The score put North County up for good.

Liberty for Warley

H.D. Woodson senior center Avery Warley has signed to play women's basketball at Liberty University. Also signing: Good Counsel guard Briana McFadden and Madison senior guard Christy Cushnie, both with Holy Cross.

-- Daniel Lyght

and Judith Evans