Two teams not known over the years for their passing attacks exchanged interceptions to start the second half, but Severna Park got the better of it and went on to hammer Annapolis, 34-20, Friday night at Severna Park to claim the county Class 4A football title with a 7-0 league record.
Coach Andy Borland's Falcons had to await the final tabulations of bonus points to learn their fate for postseason play. Old Mill (9-1) with its 16-7 victory over Glen Burnie (6-4) gave the Pats their first-ever Region IV title and playoff berth with Severna Park (7-2 overall) finishing runner-up.
The Falcons were in the running for the eighth and final playoff berth in Class 4A with several other teams, and the final seedings will be officially announced today.
"It would be a helluva disappointment if we don't make it, because we've been working hard since Aug. 15, 8 o'clock in the morning, pushing and shoving," said Falcons' junior tailback John Jennings, who ran for 145 yards on 24 carries.
Savoring his 99th career win at Severna Park and fifth in the last six over archrival Annapolis in what is the county's oldest rivalry -- 33rd meeting -- Borland was optimistic he would be getting good news this weekend.
"It's going to be a disappointment for us, because we've done everything we can to be there," said the coach. "But I think we're going."
Borland's team feels it proved it was the best in the county by dealing Old Mill its only loss early in the season by 21-13, and should therefore be going to postseason. With a nine-game season instead of the usual 10 games, the Falcons could come up short in points, but not in talent, according to Annapolis coach Roy Brown.
"They ran whatever the hell they wanted to run. Without a doubt they are the best football team we've played this year," said Brown whose Panthers finished at 5-5 overall, 5-2 in the county.
One of the Panther losses came to a region winner in Randallstown and another possible playoff team in Friendly of Prince George's County.
Annapolis scored first Friday night, marching right down the field on the game's initial drive. Quarterback Darryl Foote passed to Pat Ellis from 14 yards out, but Foote's conversion pass fell incomplete and it was 6-0.
Severna Park answered with a relentless drive of its own and quarterback Steve Foreman plunged over from the 1-yard line and Marc Anderson's kick made it 7-6. The Falcons never trailed again.
On its next possession, Annapolis fumbled at its own 18 and Eric Brown recovered at the 23. Three plays later, Jennings dazzled the Falcon crowd by turning on the juice and knifing his way through four would-be tacklers to score from 18 yards out. Again Anderson converted and it was 14-6.
Early in the second period, Foote hit Ahmed Middleton with a 34-yard pass in the right corner of the end zone, but the Panthers missed the conversion.
Just before the end of the half, Severna Park scored again, this time on a 9-yard run by Aaron Cree and Anderson was true again to make it 21-12 at the half.
After a 33-minute halftime, Annapolis came out revved up and Foote intercepted a Foreman pass to give Annapolis a first down at the Falcon 43.
Mario Dominick carried 27 yards to the 16, but Foote's ensuing pass was intercepted by senior Eric Hemmer.
The Falcons took over the game from that point, going down to score on a 1-yard plunge by John Novak and the final score a 6-yard burst by Gerald Cager. Cager, a junior back, took Jennings' place. Jennings earlier had injured his knee, but said it was fine after the game.
The final Annapolis score came with 12 seconds to go as Foote hit Middleton with a 7-yard pass. Middleton also was in on eight tackles.
Severna Park was led on defense by Bryan Stephens (five tackles), Eric Brown (four tackles), Jason Brown (five), Cager (four) and Pat Krashoc (four).