Annapolis Area Christian School's speed and big-play ability, especially in the second half, overwhelmed Boys' Latin, 46-13, in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship at Towson University's chilly Johnny Unitas Stadium on Friday night.
Star senior running back Joshua McPhearson rushed for 148 yards on 17 carries and had a 77-yard kickoff return for a score for the Eagles, who scored 46 unanswered points to claim the title in their first year in the B Conference after claiming successive C Conference crowns.
His running mate, Perez Mackell, rushed for 99 yards on six carries and a touchdown. On the other side, senior running back Brandon Cherry led the Lakers with 142 yards on 29 carries.
"He makes a lot of plays," said AACC coach Ken Lucas about McPhearson. "He has a knack for finding the open spot."
Boys' Latin (5-7) scored on the game's opening drive, moving 68 yards in nine running plays. Senior running back Brandon Cherry, who had eight rushes for 49 yards in the series, capped the drive with a 1-yard run.
The Eagles (10-2) answered immediately, marching 64 yards in eight plays with McPhearson scoring on a 3-yard run.
Jackson Hanratty teamed up with Malique Johnson for the two-point conversion to put AACS ahead, 8-6, with 5:05 remaining in the opening period.
After Alpha Jalloh's 15-yard punt return, the Eagles scored again in six plays on their next possession when quarterback Chris Chick found a wide-open Johnson in the right corner of the end zone on 4th-and-8.
Boys' Latin's third drive ended with Johnson intercepting quarterback Andrew Roswell in the end zone early in the second quarter.
The Eagles finished their first-half scoring on Zachary Wilkins' 29-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.
AACS slowed Cherry (6 rushes, 13 yards) in the second quarter after he rushed for 86 yards on 13 attempts in the first period.
McPhearson fielded the opening kickoff of the second half at his own 23-yard line and streaked into the end zone to give the Eagles a 24-6 advantage.
"We practiced all week about not kicking to him, and all of the sudden it rolls to him," Boys' Latin coach Ritchie Schell said. "That return killed us."
Boys' Latin received a spark with 8:39 remaining in the third quarter when Pat McManus picked off Chick's pass, although the Lakers' ensuing drive stalled after five plays.
The Eagles needed only one play to score again as McPhearson bolted up the middle for a 77-yard score to increase their lead to 31-6, an advantage the run-oriented Lakers would be hard-pressed to overcome.
"They have five or six kids who are real good — Division I talent," Schell said.
AA 15 3 21 7 46
BL 6 0 0 7 13
BL-Cherry 1 run (kick blocked)
AA-Hanratty 3 pass from Chick (Hanratty to Johnson)
AA-Johnson 8 pass from Chick (Wilkins kick)
AA-Wilkins 29 FG
AA-McPhearson 77 kickoff return (Wilkins kick)
AA- McPhearson 77 run (Wilkins kick)
AA-Mackell 80 run (Wilkins kick)
AA-Leabhart 5 run (Wilkins kick)
BL-Bropst 2 run (Rice kick)