Fittingly, Johnson ends prep career with a TD

SIDELINES

High Schools

November 14, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Rayvon Johnson's remarkable two-year football career at Annapolis High ended Friday night at Al Laramore Field with No. 23 taking a toss on a sweep to the left and going 10 yards for a touchdown in overtime.

Annapolis would have its extra-point attempt blocked and Montgomery County's Damascus would score a touchdown and a successful point-after for a thrilling 28-27 victory in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.

The game closed the book on Johnson's career, but not the memory of the 5-foot-10, 175-pound player with extremely quick feet, natural football instincts and the ability to rise to the occasion.

Many who saw him agree that he was the best to ever play in Anne Arundel County.

"Whenever we were in a big game the last two seasons, Rayvon played like he was possessed," said Panthers coach Roy Brown.

In a 21-17 victory over Severna Park at midseason, Johnson caught a game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass from Mike Phaneuf with 34 seconds left. Johnson drew up the play in the huddle, telling Phaneuf where he would be coming out of the slot and to "just put it up over everybody and I'll get it."

After being held to 11 yards rushing in the first half Friday, Johnson came back to run for 170 in the second half and score two touchdowns to put Annapolis (9-2) in position to win.

Johnson finished with a county career-record 4,044 yards in just 22 games (during which the Panthers were 18-4) and a school-record 49 career touchdowns, the fourth-highest total by a public school player.

Broadneck's Martel Threadgill, who played in 43 games over four seasons (1995-98) and had the career rushing record (3,996) before Friday, scored a public school career-best 52 touchdowns.

Threadgill broke the record of 51 touchdowns by three-year players Bob Stach (1964-66) of Southern-Harwood and Arundel's Troy Turner (1983-85). The overall county record is 65 touchdowns by Severn's Dennard Melton in four seasons (1994-97).

With 29 touchdowns and 178 total points this season, Johnson eclipsed the county records of 28 touchdowns, set by Threadgill last year, and 170 points, set by Severn's John Vereen (now at Navy) in 1994.

Johnson also had nine 200-yard rushing games to tie the county record set by Meade's Tanardo Sharps, who accumulated 3,627 yards and 41 touchdowns in 1996-97.

Johnson played a part in the school record for most points scored in a season (420) and helped Annapolis become the first county team since 1978 to have two 1,000-yard rushers in a season.

The Panthers' 420 points (38.2 per game) is third-best in county history behind Southern's 429 in 1993 in 13 games and North County's 427 in 12 games in 1992.

Annapolis' Aaron Copeland, who sparkled at linebacker Friday, rushed for only 23 yards against Damascus but finished the season with 1,003 yards on 133 carries. The Panthers' 1978 state championship team was the only other with two 1,000-yard rushers -- John Rodkey (1,090) and Kevin Thompson (1,046).

Johnson finished with 1,984 yards on 211 attempts this season, an average of 9.4 per carry.

Falcons fly Gaithersburg

Severna Park coach J. P. Hines will take his Falcons (10-1) to top-seeded Gaithersburg (10-1) Friday night for a Class 4A semifinal thanks to Paul Gillette's clutch 24-yard field goal with nine seconds left that gave them a 15-14 victory over Watkins Mill (9-2).

"We showed that Anne Arundel County can play football," Hines said. "Everybody talks about how good Montgomery County football is, and it is, but we can play, too.

"Nobody gives us a shot, but we'll show up Friday in Gaithersburg and see what happens."

Gaithersburg eliminated injury-riddled Old Mill (7-4), 30-3, Friday.

In Hines' second season as coach, the Falcons have tied the school record for most wins in a season (10) and most playoff wins (one) in the 40-year history of a school that has had only two other coaches -- George Roberts and Andy Borland.

The only other playoff victory was by Borland's '87 team over Annapolis, 16-7, and that club played in the only other state semifinal, losing a 10-6 heartbreaker to eventual state champion Springbrook.

People have counted the Falcons out because they are not very big size-wise, but they have used overall speed to their advantage and have played with a lot of heart.

Et cetera

More college signings -- girls lacrosse, Broadneck's Rachel Shuck and Severna Park's Kim Lawton (Loyola College); Severna Park's Jen Cielewich (Boston U.); softball, Broadneck's Brynn Weller (Hartford); football, Severn's Joe Salsich (Wake Forest). The volleyball state semifinals will be held at Essex Community College, 6 p.m. Tuesday, matching No. 4 Severna Park (15-3) against Montgomery Blair.

Have a note or idea for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

Rayvon's records

The county and school records set by Annapolis running back Rayvon Johnson in his two seasons.

County records

Career rushing yards 4,044 Career 200-yard games 9 Season rushing yards 2,060 Season touchdowns 29 Season total points 178 School records:

Career touchdowns 49 Career touchdowns rushing 45 Season TDs rushing 27

TDs game 5 Rushing yards game 330

Source: Pat O'Malley

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