Severn junior quarterback Brad Fowler had a rocky outing against St. Paul's, but yesterday it was his passing, mastery of the dive-option offense and improvisation that lifted the Admirals over host St. Mary's, 16-6, at Anne Arundel Community College.
By dominating its archrival, Severn (6-1, 7-3) claimed a share of its second straight Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference title. St. Paul's (6-1, 8-2), which benefited from five turnovers by Fowler in a 13-7 win last week, sealed its half of the championship by defeating Boys' Latin, 15-0, Friday.
St. Mary's (5-2, 7-3) was tri-champion with Severn and St. Paul's last year, but the Saints' hopes for another crown evaporated before Fowler and the opportunistic Admirals, who executed well against their larger opponent.
"I waited 22 years to get this [head coaching] job and win a championship. It's just great," first-year Severn coach Jim Doyle said.
Doyle could begin to think of celebrating after Severn capitalized on early fumbles by Saints fullback Mark Zeller to score on Fowler's 13-yard pass to Jason Wade and a 35-yard field goal by Graydon Ripley.
After leading 10-0 at halftime, the Admirals applied the clincher after a superb defensive play by linebacker Brian Kight, who shot into the backfield to drop Joe Conte for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-one from Severn's 38.
After the change of possession, fullback Randy Morse (10 carries, 76 yards) burst through the middle for 28 yards and Fowler hit end Andrew Webb for another 20. Runs by Morse and Wade, coupled with a pass-interference call on cornerback Ryan Hughes, moved the ball to the Saints' 10.
There, on a broken play, Fowler wriggled out of tackles by Joe Keenan and Phil MacWilliams to dump the ball off to Wade in the short left flat. He sped into the end zone for the touchdown that raised Severn's lead to 16-0 with 6 minutes, 29 seconds left in the third quarter.
MacWilliams was draped all over Fowler as he released the ball.
"He [Fowler] made the big play. When he scrambled, ad-libbed and hit Wade, that was the big play," Doyle said. "If we don't score there, St. Mary's is still in it."
Said Fowler, a left-hander who hit seven of 12 passes for 113 yards and no interceptions (he had four against St. Paul's): "Last week, I was trying to make too much happen. I hadn't done that all year, and I didn't try to today.
"I credit our line and our running game. They have carried us down the field all year," he said. "St. Mary's outweighs us -- it's not even close -- but the line did a great job."