Mistakes cost Annapolis, Gaithersburg romps, 35-7 Football

November 22, 1992|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

GAITHERSBURG -- Like any overachieving football team, Annapolis has overcome adversity by limiting penalties and avoiding mistakes.

At least that's what Annapolis had done prior to yesterday's Class 4A state semifinal at Gaithersburg.

The penalty-plagued Panthers (10-2) dug themselves a hole and the host Trojans of Montgomery County filled in the dirt around them to secure a 35-7 victory and a berth in the Class 4A state finals.

Gaithersburg (11-1) will meet Crossland of Prince George's County, a 27-0 winner over North County, in next Friday's championship game at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.

"Offensively, we just fell apart," said Annapolis coach Roy Brown, whose team had won 10 straight games before yesterday's thrashing. "Everything caved in on us in the second half and penalties just killed us.

"The kids just wanted to get back in it and they made mistakes because they were trying too hard. Our kids were fired up and they were making effort mistakes."

Annapolis' offense was hit with two of its six false-start penalties on its opening drive and the Panthers eventually were forced to punt.

Gaithersburg, which defeated Annapolis, 21-6, in the 1989 state quarterfinals, took over from its own 20 and scored eight plays later when senior fullback Mickey Myers ran off-tackle for a 21-yard touchdown.

A holding penalty on the first play of the Panthers' ensuing possession was too much for the visitors to overcome and punter Matt Criscimagna was back on the field. Criscimagna's punt of 65 yards pinned the Trojans deep in their own territory and Annapolis' defense forced Gaithersburg's 35-year coach John Harvill to bring on his punting unit.

Shawn Taylor, who entered the game as Annapolis' all-time leading rusher with 1,296 yards, helped the Panthers move the ball out to midfield, only to see that field position fade with a holding penalty.

Forced with one of many third-and-long situations, quarterback Juan Johnson went deep and Gaithersburg defensive back Clarence Mack was there waiting to collect the first of two interceptions for the Trojans.

Gaithersburg drove down to the Panthers' 19-yard line, but came away empty when R. G. Minier missed on a 36-yard field goal attempt.

The Trojans would not be denied on their next possession. Senior running back Andre Parker (89 yards on nine carries) broke two tackles near the line of scrimmage before being

brought down at the Annapolis 4-yard line. Two plays later, senior quarterback Eric Frazier fooled everyone as he ran in from 3 yards out on the bootleg to give his team a 14-0 lead at the half.

"Gaithersburg executed very well today," said Brown. "They have some great runners, but we helped them out by missing a lot of tackles. I don't think Gaithersburg is that much better than us."

Harvill agreed.

"I had visions of this game going the other way," said Harvill, who seeking his second state title. "Our defense and offensive line had a lot to do with this win. Our offense made a lot of big plays, but it was the line that gave them the time to do the things they needed to do."

The Trojans added three touchdowns in the third quarter. Frazier found wide receiver Nolen Duncan on a 34-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0 with 6:56 left in the quarter.

Junior running back Kenyon Boyd, who left the field limping on more than one occasion, bobbled the ensuing kickoff which resulted in the Panthers having to start at their own 5. Annapolis' offensive line false-started twice and were at the one-inch line when Johnson fumbled the snap in the end zone, allowing the Trojans Jerome Demar to recover for the touchdown.

Annapolis picked up four of its eight first downs of the day on its lone scoring drive in the fourth quarter which was capped by a 1-yard run by Taylor. The touchdown helped the Panthers avoid being the Trojans' fifth shutout victim of the season, but did little in keeping the crowd's interest.

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