Potomac speeds by S. Carroll

Swift, physical defense sacks Burns 9 times in 38-3 state final


High schools


Senior Jason Burns has seen plenty of firsts as South Carroll's quarterback, including yesterday's Class 2A state title game berth at M&T Bank Stadium - the Cavaliers' first in school history.

But against Potomac of Prince George's County, Burns got a look at the swiftest and most physical defense he has faced. The result - a 38-3 loss during which he was sacked nine times - was an experience he won't soon forget.

"Everywhere you went, there they were sticking you. I've never seen a team like that," Burns said. "They hit so hard, have so many guys flying to the ball."

FOR THE RECORD - In Sunday's editions, the Maryland state career rushing record for Snow Hill's Ben Tate was incorrect. His career total is 5,913 yards. He eclipsed the previous mark of 5,790 in Saturday's 41-20 Class 1A state title-game loss to Allegany at M&T Bank Stadium. The Sun regrets the error.

Sparked by a 20-point second quarter, during which Burns was sacked four times, Potomac overcame an early three-point deficit against South Carroll (10-4) for its second consecutive Class 2A state title.

Antoinial Coles rushed for 97 yards and his 20th, 21st and 22nd touchdowns of the year. Linebacker Stephan Stanback, who has 16 sacks on the year, had four yesterday - two of which led to end-zone fumble recoveries by Rodney Jackson and Chris Mason.

Quarterback James Nickens (5-for-10, 130 yards) tossed his 16th scoring pass to Adrian McLeod, whose 36-yard reception gave the Wolverines (12-2) the winning margin with 1:11 left in the third quarter.

It was the eighth straight win by the Wolverines, whose 35-point margin started the running clock because of the state's mercy rule. It was the first time the running clock was used in a state title game since 1999, when Urbana routed Gwynn Park of Prince George's County, 49-8, for the Class 2A state crown.

Potomac, which is 38-4 the past three seasons, is the first Prince George's County team to win consecutive state crowns.

"We were able to do everything today - throw the ball, run the ball, play good defense," said coach Eric Knight, a Franklin High graduate whose Wolverines used reserves throughout the fourth quarter. "I'd say this was our best game."

South Carroll led 3-0 with 1:30 left in the first quarter after Derek Ritgert's 32-yard field goal completed a nine-play, 39-yard drive - an opportunity set up by Alex Eisold's recovery of a muffed punt by the Wolverines' Ollie Thomas.

But the Wolverines scored the next 38 points, building a 20-3 halftime lead after being shut out in the first quarter. Burns totaled minus-40 rushing yards, and was 9-for-15 passing for 106 yards. Running back Ryan Hash, who has scored 27 touchdowns, gained 68 yards on 14 carries. The Cavaliers were whistled for three unsportsmanlike-conduct calls, and two of their players were ejected.

"We started off pretty well, trying to control the ball. We knew that's what we had to do. Unfortunately, we made a couple of mistakes here and there and they took advantage of it," said second-year coach Butch Schaffer, whose Cavaliers were 3-7 last season. "There's a reason why they've been there for three years in a row. They have tremendous team speed."

The momentum was established by the Wolverines' defense after Burns, facing second-and-nine at his 14, was hit by Stanback, jarring loose the ball, which rolled into the end zone and was recovered by Jackson. Nickens' conversion pass to Bobby Shannon made it 14-3 with 5:46 left in the first half.

"We got down on ourselves and fell apart," Burns said. "But South Carroll is on the rise, and they'll be back. I guarantee you."

Allegany 41, Snow Hill 20 -- In the Class 1A state final, Jeff Link rushed for 88 yards and three touchdowns, returned an interception 57 yards for another score and kicked three extra points as the Campers (14-0) won their eighth state title in their 10th championship game. Ben Tate (164 yards) of Snow Hill (12-2) established a Maryland career rushing record at 5,908 yards, eclipsing the mark of 5,922 by Georgetown Prep's Marcus Mason.


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