In Saturday's Anne Arundel County Youth Football Association championships at Broadneck High, the four titles were divided evenly among the county's southern and northern sectors.
South County's 75-pound Deale Elks and 95-pound Crofton Cardinals each won titles. But North County countered as the 115-pound Gambrills-Odenton Recreation Council and the 135-pound Andover Apaches took their exciting championship contests.
75-POUNDERS Behind the running of tailback Edmund Jones, the 75-pound Anne Arundel Gridiron Rebels had acquired an impressive 11-0 record heading into Saturday's county championship game.
The Rebels, however, were introduced to another Jones in their season finale, and it was one introduction that they surely could have done without.
He was Antwon Jones, the Deale Elks' premier ground-gainer.
Antwon Jones finished Saturday's contest at Broadneck with three touchdowns and enough tackles to give any statistician a hand cramp. He sparked the Elks (9-3) to a 20-6 victory over the Gridiron Rebels (11-1).
"The kid (Antwon) beat us single-handedly," said Rebel coach Tom Harrison, whose team was riding a 23-game winning streak. "He scored all their touchdowns and he made 75 percent of their tackles. Everywhere we went, he was there."
Jones got the Elks on the scoreboard first, following a fumble recovery that gave Deale excellent field position inside Rebel territory. Two plays later, Jones scampered in from 29 yards out to put Deale ahead by six. Elk fullback Shayne Gottchalks then knifed his way in for the extra-point conversion and the boys from South County took a 7-0 lead.
The defending county champion Rebels answered on their next possession when they drove 54 yards on seven plays. Edmund Jones capped the drive for Anne Arundel when he found pay dirt from 10 yards out, but the Rebels came up short on the extra-point attempt and trailed by one, 7-6.
Deale's offensive attack went right back to work on its next possession and was rewarded for its efforts eight plays and 52 yards later. Antwon Jones put the icing on a sweet scoring drive when he juked a defender and raced 26 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
Deale quarterback Glen Dixon III then sneaked around the corner on a keeper for the extra point.
Deale coach Glen Dixon Jr., whose team led 14-6 at the half, attributed his team's success at getting the ball around the corner to the players' ability to pick up the necessary yards inside.
"In order to go outside on a team, first you have to go inside, and that's what we did," said Dixon. "We established our inside game with (fullback Shayne) Gottchalks, and once they started closing in on him, we bounced outside with Antwon (Jones)."
Deale received the opening kickoff in the second half and took over at its own 25-yard line. The Elks then manufactured a 75-yard scoring drive that used the entire third-quarter clock. On the first play of the fourth quarter, the 12th of the drive, Antwon Jones closed out the day's scoring on a 13-yard run around the left side.
"I felt in my heart coming into this game we could beat them," said Dixon. "We really just started coming together as a team toward the end of the season. They guys were pumped up all week at practice and on Friday, our offense really began to jell."
95-POUNDERS The 95-pound Crofton Cardinals are well aware of the fact that a team can't beat you if it can't score.
For their opponent, the Fort Meade Cougars, that fact was driven home Saturday afternoon as they bowed to the Cardinals, 6-0, at Broadneck High School.
"Our defense has been great all year, and they did a great job today," said Crofton coach Bob Cilento, whose defense has yielded only two touchdowns all season (both to the Peninsula Athletic League). "I didn't think it would be a high-scoring game. The wind really took away the passing game."
The Cardinals (12-0) made it to the county championship game last year but were on the wrong side of a 6-0 decision with Andover, a team Fort Meade blanked, 33-0, in its Nov. 17 division final.
On their game-opening drive, the Cardinals drove the ball down to Fort Meade's 27-yard line before losing possession.
The Cardinals then held the Cougars on their first three plays from scrimmage, forcing them to punt deep in their own territory.
On the Cougars' punt attempt, the snap sailed over the outstretched hands of Anthony Peacock, who alertly fielded the loose ball. Peacock's attempt to make something out of nothing was spoiled, however, as Crofton's Dennis Gillis met him immediately to give the Cardinals first-and-10 at the Fort Meade 12-yard line.
Crofton capitalized on the Rebels' misfortune in only two plays. Joe Parker trudged forward for six yards on his first carry to give the Cards second-and-four at the 6-yard line. Coach Cilento came right back with the same play and Parker got the ball into the end zone.
"The kids gave it their best but that one mistake really turned out to be costly," said Fort Meade coach Pat Koepp, in regard to the bad snap.