N. County defense stops Annapolis, 7-0

October 29, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

On a night when its run-and-shoot shot blanks, the North County defense stepped up and lifted the No. 10 Knights (6-2, 5-1) to a 7-0 victory over Annapolis in the Anne Arundel County Class 4A League.

The win virtually eliminated the Panthers (5-3, 3-2) from postseason play and kept the Knights in the hunt for a fourth consecutive playoff berth and third straight county title.

An 11-yard touchdown run by Topper Ellis with 2:19 left in the first period and a subsequent extra-point kick by V.J. Impallaria was the only scoring.

North County had blown out Annapolis, 40-6 last year, but that didn't seem to ignite the Panthers. On the other side, the Knights were home and needed the win as badly as Annapolis.

Knights coach Chuck Markiewicz said he was glad to escape with a crucial victory and would "clean up the mess Monday."

"I don't know what it was, maybe we were too hyped at the start, not loose like we usually are," said Markiewicz.

"The importance of the game seemed to have us too tight. Our defense saved us. They won the game."

The North County defense was led by linebackers Steve Tomshack and Cesar Romero, who had a fumble recovery, down lineman Mike Smith and defensive back Lou Brown. Tomshack made perhaps the biggest play of the game late in the third period.

Annapolis had taken a punt at about midfield and driven to the Knights' 9 and had a fourth-and-three when Tomshack delivered the big hit. Panthers quarterback Orlando Downs tried to dive for the yardage but was met by Tomshack and driven back for a 2-yard loss.

"It was definitely a big play, and it was what we had to do all night with our offense not working on all cylinders," said Markiewicz.

Annapolis came into the game having been outscored by its opponents, 110-109 and averaging only 15.6 points a game as opposed to North County's 26.3 points a game average.

The Panthers won the statistics game with 152 yards of total offense to just 121 by the Knights, a team that rolled up over 600 yards a couple weeks ago against Severna Park.

The Panthers had 108 yards of offense, 64 rushing and 44 passing in the first half, but only got into North County territory once. Annapolis got down to the Knights' 18 with less than two minutes to go but turned it over on downs.

A 38-yard pass play from Downs (3-for-12, 68 yards) to Donnell Foote gave the Panthers a first at the Knights' 28. Runs by Downs and Marty Sellers (54 yards on 15 carries) got it down to the 18, but the Panthers' leading ground gainer, Teshawn Cooper, was stuffed by a host of Knights on fourth-and-one.

Cooper came into the game with 650 yards rushing on 108 attempts, but was held to 2 yards on eight attempts. That was a huge factor in the outcome because the Knights offense never got going.

The Annapolis defense led by down linemen Beau Watkins and Bernard Turner limited the Knights to 43 yards passing, 16 in the second half.

Quarterback Earl Sewell completed six of 15 passes.

North County had only 14 yards rushing in the first half and 64 in the final two periods. Ellis, who scored his 14th touchdown of the season, carried 17 times for a game-high 76 yards (51 in the second half) but the Knights as a team had a minus 32 yards rushing.

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