OXON HILL — If we get the ball to the right person, Oxon Hill won't beat us. They've never seen anything like they're going to see Saturday. Oxon Hill has speed, but I think we've got more speed. We have the pass and the run, and you can't stop both. We know you can't.
-- CHUCK MARKIEWICZ
North County football coach
OXON HILL -- Oxon Hill Coach CliffHaskins wore army fatigues, combat boots and a stoic expression on his face.
His players wore the same expression after hearing from Haskins the pregame talk by North County football coach Chuck Markiewicz, which appeared in Friday's Anne Arundel County Sun.
"We read the article as a pregame pep talk, and they just stared in disbelief,"said Haskins, after his Clippers' Class 4A state quarterfinal meeting with the Knights Saturday. "I didn't have to say anything else."
The scoreboard said it all afterward. And staring in disbelief at the final tally -- Oxon Hill 39, North County 0 -- was Markiewicz.
"This is embarrassing," said Markiewicz, whose fifth-seed Knights (8-3), ranked No. 16 in The Sun poll, made their first playoff appearancein the school's second year of existence.
"We've put ourselves inholes before, but this is the first time our defense couldn't bail us out. We had a couple of people who were intimidated, and we never gave ourselves a chance."
Neither did the fourth-seed Clippers (9-2), who had a 13-0 lead barely six minutes into the game. Chris Tisdale (a county-high six interceptions) and Jason Buchanan twice intercepted North County junior Eric Howard for touchdowns of 30 and 10 yardsrespectively.
The Knights trailed, 19-0, after quarterback John Landreth (8-of-9, 168 yards, two touchdowns) found Clayton Thompson onthe end of a 20-yard, second-quarter touchdown pass.
And it was 26-0 at six seconds before halftime when Buchanan (17 carries and three catches for 174 all-purpose yards) capped a six-play, 64-yard drivewith his 3-yard touchdown run.
In the fourth quarter, Eric Clark (12 carries, 89 yards) scored on a 13-yard run, as did Jay Cammon on an 8-yard pass. Cammon added three extra point kicks.
The Clippershad 345 yards of offense in all. The score might have been worse hadthe Clippers not been penalized, negating Clark's 72-yard touchdown on the second down of the third quarter.
Markiewicz had scouted the Clippers' 7-6 regular season-ending victory over third-seed High Point, which faced seventh-seed Largo in Saturday's other semifinal. Heeven had an extensive knowledge of their wing-T offense.
But Haskins said that wasn't enough to prepare the Knights for the intensity of a long-standing tradition.
His Clippers were making their eighth consecutive playoff appearance, having won a state title in 1982. Haskins had never heard of North County High before the Knights were announced as his quarterfinal opponents. But while watching Largo defeat Old Mill on Friday night, Haskins got hold of that day's Anne Arundel County Sun.
"They boasted about how we couldn't cover them man-to-man and how they were going to spread us out," he said. "But theymust not have scouted us well. I don't know what he was looking at, because he said he thought they were quicker -- but I don't think so."
Ranked No. 6 in the Washington area, the Clippers showed how they earned a state semifinal appearance a year ago as the area's top-ranked defense, with 38 interceptions.
Howard entered the game having completed 91 of 200 passes for 1,257 yards and nine touchdowns, butwas removed after throwing the second interception. Reserve quarterback Reggie Moore was 4-for-14 for 61 yards passing and was sacked five times for minus seven yards.
The Clippers, who next face top-seed Quince Orchard (10-1) Saturday, held the Knights to 145 yards of total offense, including 39 in the first half. North County crossed midfield just four times in the game.
The bulk of the Knights' yardage came in its last-second 11-play, 72-yard drive in the fourth. Senior running back Anthony Walker caught passes of 15, 17 and 9 yards to give the Knights a third down on the 3-yard line. Moore recovered hisown fumble on that down, but the game-ending whistle sounded before fourth down.
Earlier in that quarter, the Knights had a first downon the Oxon Hill 31 when Thompson grabbed his fifth interception of the year, returning it 34 yards to his own 35.
"All I wanted was atouchdown for Walker," Markiewicz said of Walker, who entered the game with 786 yards rushing and 194 yards receiving.
The Clippers collared Walker for 24 yards rushing and 41 in the air. North County junior Damon Martin entered the game with 1,114 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, including 708 this year with six touchdowns. His lone reception for 16 yards helped the Knights sustain their final drive and tied the county mark of 53 catches set by Brooklyn Park's Tom Butz in 1988.
But Martin's effort, and those of junior teammates Mike Quarles, who had two sacks and one tackle for a seven-yard loss, and Howard, who punted nine times, establishing a school record with a 64-yarder, were overshadowed by the bottom line.
"Prince George's County football is a lot tougher," Haskins said.
"There's a big difference."