Last night, Severna Park did what it had to do on the field by powering past visiting archrival Annapolis, 34-20, as John Jennings led a ground attack that piled up 299 yards.
However, 18-year head coach Andy Borland and his team must now wait until tomorrow night and the state football committee's final tabulation of playoff points. Old Mill's 17-6 victory at Glen Burnie last night gave it the Region IV, 4A title -- despite a 21-13 loss to Severna Park -- and an automatic berth in the eight-team 4A tournament.
Severna Park could still advance into the bottom bracket by the barest of margins.
"All we could do was what we did," said Borland, now 28-4 against county opponents since 1987. "I know we're a good football team, and I certainly think we belong in the playoffs."
Leading by 21-12 after a first half despite the fact that its defense was picked apart by Annapolis quarterback Darryl Foote, No. 13 Severna Park (7-0 league, 7-2) put the game away with a 17-play, 93-yard drive set up when Eric Hemmer intercepted Foote's first pass of the third quarter.
Jennings, a 5-foot-6, 215-pound junior, carried eight times for 49 yards in the drive that culminated with John Novak's 1-yard scoring run.
The Falcons later increased their lead to 34-12 when Gerald Cager -- playing after Jennings bruised his knee in the long drive -- scored from 6 yards out with 4 minutes, 17 seconds to go.
Annapolis (5-2, 5-5) made the score more respectable when Foote passed 8 yards to Ahmed Middleton with 12 seconds to play, then hit Carlos Evans for a two-point conversion.
The victory, Severna Park's fourth in its last five showdowns with Annapolis, not only pared the Panthers' edge in the county's oldest series to 16-13-3. It was worth the undisputed Anne
Arundel County championship and, most likely, the Annapolis Touchdown Club's coveted 4A Team of the Year award.
"What they did was to run right over us," said Annapolis coach Roy Brown said. "That's the best team we've played this year -- period."
"Our team has nothing to be ashamed of, but we were just hoping for turnovers [there was one]," Brown said. "I'm very impressed with Severna Park, and it's a shame they may not get into the playoffs."
Annapolis scored in six plays off the opening kickoff, with Foote (109 yards passing in the first half) hitting Ellis on a 14-yard toss for the touchdown.
But Severna Park countered with a 10-play, 79-yard drive capped by quarterback Steve Foreman's 1-yard plunge. Marc Anderson's point-after kick gave Severna Park the lead, 7-6, which it would not relinquish.