Patterson, North County take offenses to the limit

November 25, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

A couple years ago, Patterson football coach Roger Wrenn visited the home of North County coach Chuck Markiewicz in Severn and things got pretty offensive.

"We talked about the run and shoot for about four to five hours at my house," said Markiewicz. "And when I look at them, I see us."

Wrenn and Markiewicz may be looking in the mirror tomorrow afternoon in East Baltimore, but after top-ranked Patterson (11-0) and No. 7 North County (9-2) finish playing, only one will be smiling.

The No. 1 Clippers play host to the No. 4-seeded Knights from Anne Arundel County at 1 p.m. in the state 4A football semifinals. The victor advances to next weekend's state championship vs. the No. 2 Springbrook (9-2) and No. 3 Largo (9-2) winner at a site to be announced.

Champions of the Baltimore City 4A League and the North Region, the Clippers have averaged 37.2 points a game while giving up only 7.5, including last week's 25-23 quarterfinal victory over No. 8 seed High Point (7-3) of Prince Georges.

North County was an Anne Arundel 4A League tri-champion (with Arundel and Severna Park) and East Region winner, averaging 25.3 points and yielding 12.5 points. The Knights eliminated No. 5 seed (8-3) Arundel, 39-15, in the quarterfinals.

"We are two of the most wide-open teams in America, both gunslingers," Wrenn said. "Somebody might win it at the buzzer by 99-98."

Markiewicz doesn't believe it will be 99-98, but fears his opponent's quarterback, Willie McGirt.

McGirt, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound three-year starter, has run for 1,255 yards and 17 touchdowns and completed 246 of 421 (58 percent) passes for 3,346 yards and 39 career touchdown passes.

This season, McGirt has run for 899 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 14 yards an attempt and has passed for another 959 and 12 touchdowns, completing 69 of 103 (67 percent) with only six interceptions.

McGirt is the ignition of the Patterson offense, which also features split ends Tim Horky (17-for-390 yards receiving) and Earnest Peele (15-for-328), but running back/linebacker Ryan Lewis is the engine .

But Lewis, who led the metro area in scoring with 30 touchdowns and a total of 190 points and was fourth in rushing with 1,569 yards (25 of his TDs) on only 131 attempts (11.9 average), is questionable.

Another three-year standout with 3,039 yards rushing and 306 career points, Lewis, who has a team second-best 107 tackles, suffered a shoulder separation in the first period against High Point.

"We're not sure if he can play or not, taking it a day at a time," says Wrenn, who has been grooming Damian Branch to take the place of Lewis.

North County has no key injuries.

Topper Ellis, senior ace back, paces the Knights' offense with 19 touchdowns and 2,017 yards of total offense, 1,382 of those yards rushing.

Quarterback Earl Sewell, who has completed 133 of 253 passes (52.5 percent) for 1,980 yards, 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, is attempting to become the fourth Knights quarterback to throw for 2,000 or more yards in a season.

Sewell's favorite target is senior Lou Brown, who led the metro area with 65 receptions for 1,006 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"Ellis and Brown are terrific players," says Wrenn, whose defense is led by linebacker Joe Mechlinski (128 tackles), down linemen Wendell Collins (7.5 sacks) and Tyrone Bailey (six sacks, 67 tackles) and defensive backs Duane Simmons and Peele (four interceptions each).

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