Saints beat Severn with boost from two seniors Mullen, Airey lead rally that produces 27-12 win

September 21, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Football is often a game of momentum and senior leadership, and St. Mary's seniors Jamison Mullen and Bryant Airey proved it last night at Anne Arundel Community College.

Mullen and Airey lit a fire under their teammates in the third period to propel the No. 4 Saints to a come-from-behind 27-12 victory over archrival Severn before nearly 2,000 fans in Arnold.

It was the Saints' fourth win in five years over the Admirals under coach Brad Best, but they had to overcome a 12-0 first-half deficit to do it.

Mullen returned the second-half kickoff 41 yards, and his subsequent 26-yard pass reception from Ryan Metzbower set up the Saints' first touchdown, a 2-yard run by Metzbower.

At the end of the third period, Airey dashed 82 yards to a touchdown after scooping up a Severn fumble. Mullen booted the extra point for a 13-12 Saints' lead.

St. Mary's (3-0) scored two more touchdowns in the final period to ice it, but there was no question that Airey's return turned the game around.

"Football is a game of emotion, and he [Airey] picked it up and ran it back for a touchdown," said Severn coach John Beckman. "Instead of sucking it up, we kinda had a big letdown and the momentum shifted. You live by the option and you die by the option. I thought we won three quarters."

Junior quarterback Dennard Melton made the option click for a pair of Severn touchdowns (41 and 4 yards) and 112 yards rushing in the first half for the Admirals, but was shut down in the second half by the host Saints. Melton gained only 21 yards on five second-half attempts, but had the Admirals on the move.

Eleven plays after the Saints' initial score, Severn (1-1-1) was faced with a fourth-and-two at the St. Mary's 8. Von Craig couldn't handle Melton's pitch because Brian Kingsbury was all over him. The ball rolled free and Airey was there.

"I saw Melton get hit, saw the ball on the ground and knew it wasn't out of bounds yet, so I picked it up and took off," said Airey. "I was hoping no one would catch me."

Best also told 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior defensive tackle, Rob DTC Hoffman, to move over to the left side of the defense near Severn's mammoth right tackle Jeff Hatch, who is 6-7 and 240 pounds.

"We moved Rob over to Hatch's side and kept him on the wide side," said Best. "We told our tackles not to move out on wide splits and to stay inside. The tackles had quarterback responsibility."

Hoffman and the Saints' defense listened well as middle linebacker Monte Graves shot the gaps and kept the dangerous Melton under control.

Pub Date: 9/21/96

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