The numbers are down at Meade this year, enough so that only 19 players dressed for last night's game against Annapolis.
Meade could have used twice that many if they hoped to stave off the 15th-ranked Panthers (1-1), who scored on their first three possessions and rolled to a 28-0 victory over the host Mustangs (0-2).
Annapolis' junior quarterback Juan Johnson completed just two passes in the first half, but they went for touchdowns of 27 and 4 yards to senior Matt Criscimagna. Junior Ken Boyd added a 35-yard scoring run, as the Panthers built a 21-0 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, the Annapolis defense -- criticized by coach Roy Brown for not being aggressive enough in an 18-16 loss to Randallstown last week -- limited the Mustangs to 13 yards in the first half. Meade junior running back Kenny Walker, who led Anne Arundel County rushers with 1,267 yards last season, was held to 66 yards.
The Mustangs tried everything -- they ran once and passed once out of punt formation -- but nothing worked.
"Our defense improved 100 percent," said Brown, who suited up 35 players. "They were much more aggressive coming off the ball and making tackles. And Meade wore down, obviously. They have some talented people, but it's tough when they all have to play both ways."
The Mustangs turned the ball over on their first two possessions, and didn't get a first down until 9:25 remained in the second quarter. They drove to the Annapolis 27-yard line, but senior defensive end Tom Ford sacked quarterback Mike Ellis twice to force a punt.
Meade fumbled on its first two possessions of the second half to spoil any comeback hopes. The Panthers added to their lead when senior Shawn Taylor burst up the middle for a 21-yard touchdown run with 8:14 left in the game. Clint Wilson booted his fourth extra point.
Taylor led all rushers with 89 yards. Boyd added 63 yards on the ground, including 59 in the first half.
"When they scored their first touchdown, we should have come right back and scored," said Meade coach Hayse Henderson.
"We had guys open, and you've got to be able to hit the pass."
Ellis' only two completions came on Meade's final drive, which stalled on the Annapolis 49.