Old Mill's 14-7 victory earns playoff berth

No. 15 Patriots take down No. 13 Southern, thanks to Rickmon fumble recovery

Football

High Schools

November 02, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The game's lone turnover, a fumble recovery by Old Mill's Shane Rickmon on the Southern 20-yard line, set up the winning score in the second quarter as the host Patriots celebrated their homecoming with a 14-7 victory over the Bulldogs yesterday.

The victory clinched a Class 4A East playoff berth for the No. 15 Patriots, who had lost two in a row. No. 13 Southern had already qualified in the Class 2A South. Both teams are 7-2 overall.

"It feels really good after losing to Arundel and Broadneck that dropped us down in the rankings [from No. 1 to No. 15 in two weeks]," Rickmon said.

"We figured we would come out here with intensity and get back up there in the rankings."

Five plays after Rickmon's crucial fumble recovery, sophomore running back Ryan Callahan, who led all rushers with 111 yards on 29 carries, crashed into the end zone from 5 yards out for the second time in the game.

His first touchdown came on the fourth play of the second quarter, capping a nine-play drive that started at the Southern 24. A block by fullback Derek Goughenour sprung Callahan for the game's initial score.

Rickmon, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound defensive end, stripped Southern's Bobby Atwell after a 4-yard gain for the game's lone turnover.

"A high school football game where you've got one turnover, that's a pretty well-played football game right there," said Southern coach Russ Meyers, whose Bulldogs apparently left their offense, which had been averaging 31.3 points, behind in Harwood amid all the confusion of a tardy bus to take them to Old Mill.

A scheduling mix-up with the bus company resulted in Southern arriving in Millersville at 1:25 p.m. yesterday for a scheduled 1:30 start. The game started at 2:05 p.m., and other than a 29-yard scoring pass from quarterback Mike Staton to Bobby Atwell with one minute left in the half, Southern did not generate much offense against an Old Mill defense led by Rickmon, and defensive linemen Anthony Bryant, Steve Shaffery and Mike Reading.

A blocked punt by Tony Belcher, Southern's senior linebacker, set up their only score at the Patriots' 43. Atwell gathered in the touchdown toss from Staton on the fifth play to make it a 14-7 game.

"They didn't break off any long runs, and neither did we," said Meyers. "They took our halfbacks away."

Using primarily a 6-3 defense, Old Mill held the Bulldogs to 109 net yards of total offense, including just 93 rushing. Running back A.J. Lee was held to 14 yards on seven attempts, and E.J. Estep led Southern with 59 yards on nine carries.

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