St. Mary's eats up turnovers, tops Severn No. 1 Saints recover five fumbles, pick off three passes in 31-14 win

September 21, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

It was a matter of time and by the end of the third period, Severn's time was up as top-ranked St. Mary's pulled away for a 31-14 victory in Severna Park yesterday.

Eight turnovers (five fumbles lost, three interceptions) were too much to overcome for the undermanned Admirals. Four fumbles recovered by St. Mary's led to scores, a total of 24 points.

The Saints' triumph spoiled Dennard Melton's record-breaking performance. Severn's senior quarterback broke the county record for career touchdowns by scoring his 52nd on a 1-yard sneak late in the third period.

In posting their fifth win in the last six years and the second in a row over their archrival Admirals, the Saints (3-0) turned two fumbles by the home team into second-half touchdowns to break up a 17-14 game.

St. Mary's simply wore down the Admirals in the second half with fullback Ernie Listman doing most of the damage with two touchdowns and 71 yards rushing on 13 attempts after carring only four times for 15 yards in the first half.

"Our offensive line is further ahead than last year at this time and we have eight or nine guys we can rotate on the offensive line," said Saints coach Brad Best in describing his team's ability to wear down foes.

The 5-foot-10 and 210-pound Listman was also an integral part of the gang-tackling Saints defense at middle linebacker. Listman, fellow linebacker Alex Kruthaupt, defensive lineman Rob Huffman and ends Chris Brown and Conor Hughes kept Melton and Severn's option offense in check.

"We didn't want Melton to get the record in our game, but he's a great player," said Huffman. "We did a great job getting in their backfield and their option is high risk, causing the fumbles."

Melton was held to a career-low 46 yards rushing, 26 yards coming on a third-period jaunt, on 14 attempts. Melton fumbled six times and lost four, two on snap exchanges.

"It was muggy and the ball was wet, and they keyed on me and we just self-destructed," said Melton, who said he was happy to set the record, but would rather have done it during a victory.

Eric Pickett, who had game-high totals of 22 carries for 115 yards, carried 11 times for 72 yards in the first half, but got help from Listman in the second half. With Listman doing most of the running, the Saints took the opening drive of the second half 50 yards to the Severn 23 before Listman coughed it up and Melton recovered.

Melton fumbled it right back with Tony Bennett pouncing on it again, this time at the Severn 16. Metzbower's pass to Listman was deflected, but the latter went up and took it away from two defenders and rambled into the end zone for a 17-7 lead.

After Melton's touchdown, Pickett nearly broke the kickoff, going 51 yards to the Severn 45 before being tackled by the last man in his way, Melton the kicker. Five plays later, Listman crashed in from the 3 for a 24-14 advantage.

Severn drove to the Saints' 27, but with 9: 35 left in the game, Melton was jarred by Lance Kearns and Hoffman fell on it at the 24. St. Mary's took 6 1/2 minutes off the clock before Pickett, who also had two interceptions, scored from 3 yards away to seal the victory.

Pub Date: 9/21/97

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