ANNAPOLIS -- Randallstown is probably not quite the team it was with graduated all-everything running back Larry Washington, but the Rams had enough -- barely enough -- to get by host Annapolis last night.
Donte Boyd's 1-yard touchdown run with five seconds to play lifted Randallstown over the Panthers, 18-17, in the season opener for both teams.
Boyd's score capped Randallstown's rally from 11 points down in the last 8 minutes, 46 seconds. The Rams netted two touchdowns, both set up by Annapolis turnovers.
First, Greg Hines ran 3 yards to pull the winners within 17-12. He broke Shawn Cole's tackle to score on the fifth play after Bill Garrett recovered a fumble by backup Panthers quarterback Juan Johnson at the Annapolis 23.
Johnson was intercepted by Haryn Singleton on first down after the kickoff, but superb defensive plays by Ty Selby and Damond Galloway held the Rams on downs at the 1.
However, Johnson -- playing in place of the slightly shaken Richard Mears -- fumbled on third down to set up the deciding score.
Randallstown coach John Buchheister viewed the outcome as poetic justice. "We outplayed them in the second half. We didn't make mistakes, and the complexion of the game changed," he said.
"I thought our kids played their butts off. We just played better and better," said Buchheister, whose defending state 4A champions (who now play in 3A), won their 14th straight game.
However, in the first half it was all Annapolis. The youthful Panthers, who carry only eight seniors, rushed for 273 yards to 57 for Randallstown, piled up a 13-3 edge in first downs and mounted a 17-6 lead at halftime.
Annapolis -- playing with emotion after pre-game ceremonies dedicating the field to the late coach Al Laramore -- stung Randallstown on three plays from the opening kickoff.
Consecutive 30-yard runs by Shawn Cole and Ty Selby put the Panthers up, 7-0, and Jerry Thompson tight-roped the sideline 38 yards to score at the outset of the second quarter.
Randallstown's Singleton returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to pare the margin to 14-6, but Thompson's 41-yard run set up Clint Wilson's 32-yard field goal for the 17-6 lead at halftime.
Annapolis maintained its edge until the three late turnovers changed everything.
"We just made too many mistakes. We kept dodging the bullet, but that last time they got it in," said Panthers coach Roy Brown.
"We made mistakes, but the effort was great. The defense was outstanding, the offensive line blocked well and the backs ran hard," Brown said.
Boyd took a pitchout and barely beat Selby and Ray Henson to the end zone flag.