Severn football coach Duane Tyler should probably shorten his Christmas list this winter because he has already received two valuable gifts that should give him plenty of enjoyment this fall as evidenced in the Admirals’ season-opening 42-16 victory against host Annapolis Area Christian School during Friday’s non-league contest.
Tyler’s Christmas in August came in the form of two transfers — Craig Stevens, a 6-foot junior quarterback from Glen Burnie, and Henry Rentz, a hard-charging running back-defensive back who came via Massachusetts.
Stevens bounced back from an early interception — it was returned 100 yards by Thaddues Stanfield for a touchdown for an early 7-0 Eagles lead — to toss a trio of touchdowns, including a 29-yard strike to Joel Mandish in the third quarter to turn a five-point contest in a 28-16 advantage following nine straight points from Annapolis Area (0-1).
“I like his ability to bounce back,” said Tyler, whose signal caller completed 11 of 17 passes for 151 yards and had three interceptions to go with the three scores. “He’s still getting to know the abilities of his teammates and learning the offense. He was still getting after it (after the interceptions).”
Rentz hauled in one of Stevens’s touchdown passes from 33 yards in the second quarter and also had scoring runs of 19 and 38 yards in the first and fourth quarters, respectively.
“He is big time,” said Tyler of Rentz. “A lot of our packages concentrate on him. He’s an all sides type of player. On defense, he is a ballhawk. This was just his day.”
After falling behind seven on Stanfield’s interception return that saw him race down the Eagles sideline for the touchdown while tiptoeing around Jacob Jarosz on the sideline, the Admirals scored 21 straight points for a 14-point halftime advantage.
Rentz turned a sweep to the Eagles sideline into the 19-yard touchdown and a 7-7 tie with four seconds left in the first quarter.
Stevens then hooked up with Rentz from 33 yards out on a play that saw Rentz land on an Eagles defender but keep enough balance to stay off the turf and then race untouched to the end zone.
“I’ve been taught since a young age to play until the whistle,” he said. “There was no whistle, so I just kept running to the end zone.”
Stevens pushed the lead to 21-7 on a 25-yard pass to Jakob Lilly, who outleaped Stanfield for the ball and then raced 15 or so yards to the end zone. The play came after a short punt by the Eagles, who were pinned deep in their own territory.
Stanfield returned the opening kick off 94 yards to start the second half to trim the lead to 21-13 andJack Roasaker then booted a 31-yard field goal — following a missed extra point — to further cut the deficit to 21-16 with 7:04 left in the third quarter.
“I have to thank my blockers for that,” said Stanfield of his touchdown return. “We work on special teams a lot in practice and it showed.”
The Admirals struck right back on their next drive, going 62 yards on five plays to push their advantage to 28-16 on the Stevens-to-Mandish 29-yard hook up with 5:12 left in the third quarter. Mandish was able to get five yards of separation behind his Eagles defender, who was subbing for the injured Stanfield.
Stanfield and other key players succumbed to leg cramps in the second half, forcing them to miss several snaps the rest of the way.
“We can’t blame it on cramps,” Stanfield said. “We should have been more hydrated. We’ll keep grinding and hope to get this MIAA (C) championship.”
Rentz and Kendall Harmon put the game away with respective touchdown runs of 38 and 60 yards in the fourth quarter. Rentz ran through would-be tacklers and the back official to reach the end zone. Harmon took an inside handoff and then bounced the ball outside to outrace the defense to the end zone.
Severn (1-0) 7 14 7 14-42
AACS (0-1) 7 0 9 0-16
AA — Stanfield 100 interception return (Roasaker kick)
SE — Rentz 19 run (Gergar kick)
SE — Rentz 33 pass from Stevens (Gergar kick)
SE — Lilly 25 pass from Stevens (Gergar kick)
AA — Stanfield 94 kickoff return (kick failed)
AA — Roasaker 31 FG
SE — Mandish 29 pass from Stevens (Gergar kick)
SE — Rentz 38 run (Gergar kick)
SE — Harmon 60 run (Gergar kick)