Annapolis drops opener again, 26-20

September 04, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

One of the first steps to a successful high school football season is to get off to a good start by winning the season opener -- unless your team is the Annapolis Panthers.

The most successful team in Anne Arundel County history, with a record eight playoff appearances, has a bad habit of starting its 10-game season in the second game.

The eighth-ranked Fighting Panthers dropped their sixth straight season opener last night, 26-20 in overtime, to Largo of Prince George's County.

Last season, the Panthers started off losing an 18-16 heart-breaker to Randallstown, but bounced back to win 10 in a row. Annapolis won the Anne Arundel County Class 4A championship and a state quarterfinal contest, 21-6, over Friendly before bowing to eventual state champion Gaithersburg, 35-7.

Largo senior running back Eric Cariaga's third touchdown of the night from 10 yards out in the first overtime lifted the Lions over the Panthers. Cariaga's game-winner came on a third-and-goal situation after the Lions had stopped Annapolis on the initial possession of the extra session.

In overtime, each team gets the ball on the 10 for four downs and after the exchange, the team with the most points wins. Largo held Annapolis in four downs and after being stopped on its first two tries, got the big play from Cariaga.

Annapolis quarterback Juan Johnson hit Orlando Downs from 43 yards with no time on the clock to tie the game at 20, but Panthers sophomore kicker Travis Scholz missed the kick and Largo was still alive.

The visiting Lions had overcome a 14-0 halftime deficit to score three second-half touchdowns and take the lead at 20-14 in the final period. Cariaga plunged over twice from the one-yard line and kicked the subsequent extra points to tie the game at 14 early in the last period.

An 11-yard scoring pass from Lions left-handed quarterback Gary Early to Cory Redder made it 20-14 Largo with 2:08 left in the game. Cariaga missed the kick and Annapolis drove 79 yards to tie the game on the Johnson-to-Downs connection.

The Panthers scored in each of the first two periods to take command of the game. Boyd (10-for-81 rushing in first half) capped a long drive in the early moments to score on a 34-yard burst with 7:39 left in the first period. The kick failed and it was 6-0 Annapolis.

On a fourth-and-eight at the Largo 20 with five minutes left in the first half, Johnson lofted a perfect pass into the right corner to senior Joe Pergerson for the second Annapolis score.

Scholz made the extra point, but an offsides flag negated his kick, and after the 5-yard penalty, Boyd crashed into the end zone on a quick trap for the two-point conversion and 14-0 Annapolis lead.

Largo's only threats in the first half came on a drive to the Panthers' 12 with 18 seconds left in the first period, but Annapolis held to set up their second scoring drive.

Later in the waning moments of the half, Largo drove to the Annapolis 40 but Early was sacked by senior Brian Calhan. On the next play, Early was intercepted by defensive back Darnell Ravenell, who returned it 25 yards to the Largo 45.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.