Final football weekend features fine games Panthers, Knights are playoff favorites


November 06, 1992|By PAT O'MALLEY

Believe it or not, the final week of the football regular season is here. Where did it go?

For teams like Arundel, Chesapeake, Meade and Old Mill (2-7 each), Glen Burnie and Northeast (3-6 each), it has been a long, long season.

Those six clubs along with Archbishop Spalding (1-7), which plays next week in a final regularly scheduled game, will finish with losing records.

Seven other county teams have had the season zoom by. They will finish with winning records, while Southern (5-4) was on the bubble going into last night's visit to South River (7-2). The Dawgs can be no worse than .500 and could finish as the eighth county team to post a winning season.

Annapolis and North County (8-1 each) are the front-runners for a Class 4A playoff berth, and South River (7-2) is in a must-win situation in its quest for a Class 3A playoff berth.

Severna Park (6-3) plays host to Annapolis, and North County travels to Broadneck (6-3) as the two marquee games at 7:30 tonight. The county championship is at stake, because games against Queen Anne's apparently do not count in the standings.

If the Lions from the Eastern Shore are included, then Annapolis already has clinched the county Class 4A championship. Annapolis nipped North County, 20-19, and the worse the Panthers could end up would be 8-1 with North County, but head-to-head competition would give Annapolis the title.

Without the Queen Anne's games counting, a three-way tie is possible.

An Annapolis victory in the 34th renewal of the county's oldest rivalry would give the Panthers of coach Roy Brown the outright county 4A championship at 8-0.

If Severna Park upsets the Panthers and North County wins at Broadneck, there could be county tri-champions.

Annapolis, North County and Severna Park all would be 7-1 in county action.

Severna Park, which trails in the series, 16-14-3, took a 16-14 thriller at Annapolis last November and created a three-way tie.

The Falcons, North County and Old Mill finished 7-2 in league play.

Notice the 7-2 records. That's what was reported by all the local newspapers a year ago with Queen Anne's listed in the Anne Arundel standings. Queen Anne's played the same schedule as all nine other 4A schools.

Queen Anne's did not win a game in the county and was listed 0-9 in everyone's league standings. No one contested the seventh win (Queen Anne's) for each of the tri-champions.

This season, Queen Anne's knocked off Severna Park, 19-16, in the second week. The Falcons later lost to North County, 48-19, and standings have been running showing Severna Park with two losses.

With Queen Anne's counting toward league standings as it apparently did last year, the Falcons would have no chance to tie for the county title tonight.

"It's confusing, kind of an open-ended thing, and I've been told that the athletic directors never officially voted on it [whether Queen Anne's is in or out]," said Rick Wiles, acting coordinator of physical education.

"It's something that needs to be clarified. [County teams] are not counting them toward our county championship, but realistically those poor people have no place to go. There is some gray area, public relations-wise."

Wiles later consulted with former county coordinator Paul Rusko, who played a key role in unofficially linking Queen Anne's to the Anne Arundel boys and girls athletic program, and Rusko said Queen Anne's games do not count in the county football standings.

The question is, how can a team that plays the exact league schedule as the other nine teams not be in that league? And what if Queen Anne's went 9-0? Would the Lions have a right to claim a county championship?

"We need to have further clarification, and it's something that needs to be addressed," Wiles said.

"It does say on our printed schedules that Queen Anne's is eligible for championships in our little division [the latter 3A-2A schools that Queen Anne's does not play in football].

"Maybe we're at the point where we need to go through the two superintendents to get this clarified, if we're going to incorporate them in the 4A process."

It's all very confusing, but according to the unofficial rules, Severna Park can gain a share if it upsets the Panthers. These two teams don't need a title to be on the line, however, in order to play a classic.

The game will be shown at 10 a.m. tomorrow on TCI Cable of Annapolis, Channel 19 and in the Severna Park area, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, on Jones Intercable, Channel 42.

If this year's game is anything like last year's, football fans are in for a real treat.

Last year's game went down to the final play with quarterback Tim Bowerman hitting John Milisitz on a 6-yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons the narrow two-point victory and their second in a row in the series.

Those two are back, but so are most of the Annapolis players who have had to live with the heartbreak for a year.

For the two teams, it will be like looking in the mirror. The Panthers and Falcons are power teams that love the quick trap.

North County at Broadneck also will be like looking in the mirror, only a distinct contrast from the Falcons and Panthers. These two run-and-shoot teams might throw 100 times between them.

It should be quite a show, if North County coach Chuck Markiewicz doesn't pull one of his tricks out of the bag and run the ball with Frank Brown.

Elsewhere, Meade at Arundel, Chesapeake at Northeast and Glen Burnie at Old Mill provide great neighborhood matchups. Spalding will play host to Archbishop Curley (0-6) at 7 p.m. at Bronco Field, Brooklyn Park.

At 2 p.m. tomorrow, St. Mary's visits Severn School for their traditional battle, but for the first time it will be called The River Classic.

St. Mary's and Severn will be co-hosts for a bull roast fund-raiser after the game and it is expected to become an annual event.

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