Thomas Johnson treats Eastern Tech rudely, 48-18 Patriots break open game with six second-half TDs

Class 3A football nTC

November 15, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

FREDERICK -- A sign that read "Welcome Mavericks" greeted Eastern Tech and its fans as they entered Thomas Johnson's stadium for last night's Class 3A state quarterfinal game.

Once inside, Thomas Johnson was not as hospitable.

The Patriots of Frederick County broke a 7-6 game open with three third-quarter touchdowns and tacked on three more in the fourth for a 48-18 victory and a berth in next week's state semifinal.

"They're a better football team than us, plain and simple. Thomas Johnson's football program is where we want to be," said Eastern Tech's third-year-coach Nick Arminio, who led the Mavericks to a 2-8 record his first season and a 7-3 mark last year. "I told our kids all week that we had to come here and play mistake-free football and we didn't."

Junior quarterback Ricky Roberts led the third-seeded Patriots (10-1) as he ran for 251 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. The bulk of his yardage came on runs of 59, 67 and 78 yards.

"That kid is a magician with the football," Arminio said of Roberts. "He didn't just do it to us, he's done it to everybody all season long. We showed the kids film and tried to make sure that someone put a hit on him but, he's good."

The Patriots, whose only previous loss came at the hands of No. 1 Loyola (39-21), ended a 16-minute scoring drought on a 25-yard pass from Roberts to sophomore tight end Tyler Johnson.

Eastern Tech (9-2) turned the ball over on its next two possessions but the Mavericks' defense refused to let the Patriots capitalize.

Thomas Johnson was on its way to padding its halftime lead following Roberts' 67-yard run, but Anthony Lawston ended the drive by picking off a pass and racing 88 yards for a touchdown with 22 seconds left. Dan Elthringham's point-after kick was wide, leaving the Mavericks down by a point at the half.

The Patriots, ranked 10th in the state by the Associated Press, drove 80 yards on the opening drive of the second half and Leroy Ambush put the host team ahead, 21-6, when he raced 48 yards for a score with 6: 21 left in the third.

The Mavericks, ranked fifth in the Metro area and seeded sixth in the tournament, cut the lead to nine on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brian Nagel to Anthony Lawston but that's as close as got.

The Panthers, who were making their fifth straight playoff appearance, upped the lead to 29-12 when Roberts broke off tackle late in the third quarter and ran 78 yards for a score.

Fullback Jared Benoit added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 47-yarder with no time remaining.

Eastern Tech, which enjoyed its most successful season since 1972 when it went 10-0 and won the District III Title, found the end zone for the final time this season when Jason Hartman scampered in from 17 yards out with 3: 41 left.

"The difference between this game and the rest of the games this season is we couldn't run the football tonight," said Arminio. "Credit that to Thomas Johnson."

Pub Date: 11/15/97

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