Arundel battles back twice, deals Annapolis its first defeat, 35-32

Rhodes' second TD run, Bluth's kicks decisive


High Schools

September 25, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Annapolis set the pace in each half, but host Arundel was up to the challenge twice and outlasted the No. 11 Panthers, 35-32, in Anne Arundel County football at Steve Carroll Field in Gambrills yesterday.

Jimmy Rhodes' second touchdown run of the game from the 5-yard line with 3:06 remaining capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive for the decisive score.

Arundel (3-1) came back twice, from a 20-0 first-half deficit and a 32-21 fourth-quarter deficit, to deal the Panthers (3-1) their first loss.

The difference was junior Zach Bluth, who, in his placekicking debut, made all of his five point-after-touchdown kicks. Annapolis missed four of its five chances.

The win was especially gratifying for Arundel coach Chuck Markiewicz, whose team had been humbled, 30-0, on Monday by No. 5 Broadneck (3-0) in the completion of a suspended game. And the Wildcats were missing three starters, two of them returning All-County players, because of injuries.

"It was gut check for us, when we got down that second time," said Markiewicz, whose team gave him his 99th career win. "Coming off the Broadneck game, that ... really had me worried. If we don't come back, the whole house [season] could have gone up in fire."

A 43-yard punt return for a touchdown by William Johnson at the start of the final period sparked the Wildcats' second comeback of the game. Annapolis had taken a 32-21 lead into the final 12 minutes on two touchdown passes by junior quarterback Matt Vollono - to Justin Weston (24 yards) and Myron Watkins (35 yards).

Arundel quarterback Nick Palmer marched his team 80 yards to the winning score after the Wildcats defense had stopped the Panthers on downs.

His team trailing 32-28 with 6:47 left, Palmer completed three-of-six passes for 35 yards on the game-winning drive, including a 15-yarder to Johnson at the Annapolis 7. Rhodes carried twice for the winning touchdown.

"We just physically ran out of gas, and I told the kids they should be frustrated but [to] come back and be ready to go on Monday to get ready for Broadneck," said Annapolis coach Brian Brown.

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