Though Scott Pearce had a successful JV season, there were questions about whether the Eastern Tech junior's talents would be enough to replace graduated second-team All-Metro quarterback Brian Nagel.
But after watching the 6-foot, 180-pounder pick apart his visiting Comets in a 34-7 victory before a festive homecoming crowd, Catonsville coach Warren Como had no doubts about Pearce's abilities.
Pearce threw three touchdown passes and finished 12-for-16 for 159 yards as the No. 2 Mavericks piled up 309 total yards. Pearce also rushed three times for 21 yards -- all three carries being good for first downs -- in the Baltimore County 3A-4A League contest.
Pearce helped the Mavericks (4-0 league, 5-0 overall) build a 21-0 halftime lead, then went 6-for-7 in the second half, connecting on scoring passes of 25 and 19 yards to the Lawston brothers, junior Steve, and senior Anthony.
"Their quarterback was on fire. I didn't think he missed any completions," said Como, whose Comets (3-1, 3-2) brought a three-game winning streak into the game. "We weren't in sync, offensively, and when they line up both the Lawstons out wide, that puts a lot of pressure on you."
All-Metro wide receiver Anthony Lawston, who has seven scholarship offers among the several schools that are recruiting him, finished with seven receptions for 87 yard and one touchdown.
Steve Lawston had three receptions for 60 yards, including a 28-yarder with 12 seconds left in the first half. Kicker Jeff Gutowski was good on four of five extra-point kicks.
"Teams have to think about if they double Anthony, who's got me," said Steve Lawston. "And if I get mine, Anthony's got to get his."
Initially, though, the Mavericks established their running game in building a 14-0 first-quarter lead as 6-3, 230-pound Ray Jones (14 carries, 124 yards) scored touchdowns of 11 and 1 yards, respectively.
Jones got nice blocks from fellow running back Troy Mason (5-11, 230), as well as linemen Ralph Henry, Josh Fortner, Aaron Weissner, Frank Shannon, whose average weight is 245 pounds.
"Our line gave me the room, and our quarterback had time to throw," said Jones, who has orally accepted a full scholarship to the University of Buffalo.
Limited to 23 yards in the first half, and 90 for the game, the Comets didn't score until Dwayne Thorton (12 carries, 50 yards) crossed the goal line to make it 27-7 with 11: 07 left in the game.
"I owe everything to my coaches and the players around me," said Pearce, who struggled in earlier overtime wins over 10th-ranked Aberdeen and Woodlawn. "I didn't do so good at the beginning of the season, but I try to handle the pressure, not let it distract me."
Pub Date: 10/04/98