Football coaches who have been victimized by North County's run-and-shoot attack the past two seasons should know that Knights coach Chuck Markiewicz says his players are starting to get a handle on the offense.
Markiewicz crossed up visiting Oakland Mills twice in the first half with plays that resulted in long touchdown runs, and the No. 8 Knights' defense took care of the rest last night in a 22-2 victory in the season opener for both teams.
Senior back Frank Brown, a transfer from Southwestern, scored on a 41-yard run with 2:50 left in the first quarter, and reserve Troy Fowlkes went 57 yards for a touchdown on North County's next possession.
But the night's biggest gainer came with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter, when senior slot back Damon Martin caught a short pass from senior Eric Howard on a flood pattern and raced 94 yards for a touchdown. Martin missed Thursday's practice with a sprained ankle, but he had five catches for 145 yards and grabbed a two-point conversion pass.
It was the two long runs, however, that made the greatest difference.
"That's why we're so successful running the ball," Markiewicz said. "People try to gear themselves to stop the pass, then we run and it's like, 'Wait a minute.' "
Brown carried the ball three times for 70 yards on the initial scoring drive, and he had 94 yards on eight carries in the first half. He finished with 125 yards rushing and 42 receiving.
Oakland Mills' scored on a safety with 2:28 left in the first half when Brown was tackled in the end zone.
The game bore little resemblance to last year's opener, when the Knights rallied in the closing minutes for a 22-21 victory. This time, they led from the start, twice stopping Oakland Mills on downs in the first half after the Scorpions had moved inside the North County 15.
The Knights had a couple of opportunities to break open the game in the half, but Howard (11 of 13, 217 yards) had a pass intercepted in the end zone by senior Matt Silver, and a penalty nullified an apparent 55-yard touchdown pass to senior Mike Quarles.
Oakland Mills senior Derrick Brooks gained 110 yards on 25 carries.