North County's run-and-shoot offense was disabled and disarmed last night, as No. 16 Annapolis intercepted its way to a 33-7 win over the pass-happy Knights in a long-awaited Anne Arundel County 4A matchup.
The ninth-ranked Knights, who squeaked by Oakland Mills and Arundel in their first two contests, turned the ball over six times to the hosts, five via interceptions.
"I was concerned about how our defense would handle the run-and-shoot, but they stepped up and did an outstanding job," said Annapolis coach Roy Brown. "I thought the key, though, was the way our offense controlled the ball. In order to stop the run-and-shoot, you have to keep it off the field, and our offense did that."
Annapolis' offense took advantage of some excellent field position in the waning minutes of the first half, and after a 28-yard pass from Juan Johnson to Matt Criscimagna, the Panthers were staring at a first-and-goal at the Knights' 1.
Annapolis running back Shawn Woodlin dived in on the next play to put the hosts out front.
North County sophomore quarterback Reggie Moore struggled to get the ball to his receivers in the first half, completing just three of 11 passes for 31 yards. Moore's final throw of half, and his last of the game, fell in the hands of Annapolis linebacker Ty Selby, who ran to the Knights' 38.
Shortly thereafter, Johnson connected with sophomore Jerry Johnson on a screen pass in the flat.
Junior quarterback Eric Howard entered the game for North County on its next possession, and in one play, had the Knights back within six. Howard's pass to wide receiver Damon Martin covered 68 yards and gave North County something to smile about in the locker room at halftime.
"I wanted to get something started," said North County coach Chuck Markiewicz, when asked why he made the personnel change. "We were floundering around out there, and I had to get something going."
The Howard-led Knights came out throwing in the third quarter ** and were successful until one of the passes found the hands of sophomore defensive back Chris Johnson.
Annapolis came right back with the screen pass and again found the end zone, only this time a 46-yard strike from Johnson to Woodlin to make the score 19-7.
Trying to play catch-up didn't agree with the Knights, as they threw three more interceptions in the fourth quarter. Annapolis capitalized on two of the turnovers, scoring from the 17 and 1, respectively.