Eliminate Saturday's ambush in Howard County, in which three of our teams went down, and Anne Arundel County high school football teams had a pretty good weekend against outside competition. County teams went 3-1 Friday night and 3-4 overall.
While our local football teams still have a 13-16 losing record against non-county teams this season, they are showing improvement. They are certainly on a pace to win more than 19 of 60 games, as they did a year ago.
Reasons for being only six wins away from last year's total of 19 at only the three-week mark can be attributed to the improved play of St. Mary's, which is unbeaten; the Severn School, Arundel (4A) and Southern (2A).
As members of the Maryland Scholastic Association 'C' Conference, St. Mary's and Severn play primarily outside teams, and the two are eating up opponents. With arguably its best team since 1978's 9-0-1 squad, St. Mary's has reeled off its first four wins in a row, including Friday's 21-0 romp over Boys' Latin of Baltimore.
Severn took the long haul on Friday to the northern-most part of Virginia and ripped Chincoteague, 35-7, to run its record to 3-1.
All seven wins by the two schools have come against non-county teams. That total accounts for more than half of the overall wins for all county schools. Private schools are 7-4 vs. outsiders so far this season, with winless Archbishop Spalding (0-3) bearing the brunt of the negative side. A year ago, the trio of county private schools had a dismal combined record of 3-16.
Arundel has the best record among 4A schools against the outside foes at 2-0 while Annapolis is 0-2, but dealt Arundel its first loss Friday night by 7-3 in inter-county play. Severna Park is also 0-2 against outsiders, but beat Old Mill (1-0 vs. outsiders) 21-13.
Southern (2-1) won its first two over outsiders, but lost Saturday at highly-touted Wilde Lake (3-0), 34-zip. County public schools, 16-25 a year ago against the rest of the world, are off to a 6-12 record thus far with the 4A teams only 4-8.
The new North County High school football team of Chuck Markiewicz contributed to the 4A cause on Friday night with a 34-21 victory over Queen Anne's. The Knights were the only 4A school involved in a non-county encounter this weekend.
Besides Southern going down on Saturday in Howard County, South River and Northeast got beat by our neighbors. Oakland Mills (3-0) topped South River (1-2), 26-15, while Hammond (1-2) hammered Northeast (0-3) for the second year in a row, 28-0.
Stats aside, there were some outstanding individual performances over the weekend worth mentioning.
In St. Mary's fourth straight win over Boys' Latin (0-2) at Weems Whelan in Annapolis, Charlie Finamore scored two touchdowns on runs of 5 and 6 yards, while the Saints' defense posted its second consecutive shutout.
With each in "must-win" situations in terms of making postseason play, Annapolis and Severna Park posted their initial wins of the '90 campaign on their home turfs.
New look Annapolis (1-2) with Darryl Foote at the controls, passed its way to a 7-3 win over Arundel (2-1). Foote completed 6-of-16 for 82 yards, including a 7-yard TD pass to Carlos Evans in the final period.
Coach Roy Brown's Panthers, known for their running, have passed more in their first three games than they usually do in an entire season. Foote has completed 22-of-44 for 281 yards, two TDs and two interceptions in three games.
Severna Park (1-2) outlasted Old Mill (2-1) in a thrilling high school game, 21-13. The kicking of Severna Park senior Marc Anderson, an ex-soccer player for the Falcons, along with the kick returns and running from scrimmage (4-for-54 yards) of junior John Novak -- all 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds of him -- were instrumental in the victory.
Meade (1-2) presented first year head coach Hayse Henderson his first win by 7-6 over Broadneck (1-2). All the scoring came in the final period as a missed conversion kick cost the Bruins.
North County (2-1) exploded for 13 unanswered points in the final period on the arm of quarterback Johnny Ray and the legs of Vernon Dawson to put away Queen Anne's (2-1), 34-21. Ray led the Knights of coach Markiewicz by completing 26 of 50 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns while Dawson carried just 10 times for 132 yards and the last two touchdowns, one a dazzling 97-yarder.
Glen Burnie (2-1) downed winless Chesapeake (0-3), 21-6, as Tray Gillis tallied a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore Brandon Steinheim, one of 26 underclassmen on coach Tom Kraning's squad, scored the lone Cougar TD on a 27-yard jaunt in the final period.
"We keep shooting ourselves in the foot and can't get a break," said Kraning. "With the score 14-0, we intercepted a pass and ran it back 85 yards to a touchdown, but of course, it was called back on a roughing the passer call.
"Even when we are aggressive, we can't seem to do anything right. We're just making a lot of underclassman mistakes."
Saturday's only highlights came from South River in its 26-15 loss to Oakland Mills. Coach Dave Summey's Seahawks gave the home team Scorpions quite a scare holding a 7-6 lead at the half, and then trailing by only 12-7 after three periods.
Unfortunately for Summey and his Hawks, the Scorpions' 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior back, Korey Singleton, was just warming up in the first half with 21 carries for 47 yards and one six-pointer. After the break, the big guy rambled for three more TDS and 223 yards to finish with four sixers and 270 yards on 40 carries.
Chris Messineo led South River with 10 rushing attempts for 92 yards, 65 coming on one play to the Oakland Mills' 1-yard line to set up Kevin Ferguson's touchdown plunge in the first period. Larry Gross gathered in a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Cameron in the waning moments, and Cameron hit Merlin Chaney for a two-point conversion to close out the scoring.
In soccer highlights, St. Mary's and Severna Park were victorious Saturday over out-of-county foes, and Chesapeake dropped a tough 2-0 decision to Arundel in a match-up of two unbeaten teams.
St. Mary's Saints improved to 4-2-1 by 2-1 over one of the D.C. area's top teams in our Our Lady of Good Counsel, as Eamon McCormick tallied both goals, the game-winner in extraordinary fashion.
The approach of "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" was exercised by McCormick, a junior midfielder.
"Eamon actually had to shoot the winning penalty kick three times before it counted. I don't think I've ever seen that happen before," said St. Mary's 9-year veteran coach, Tim Laur.
McCormick buzzed the first one in the back, left corner of the net only to have the ref say, "You have to wait for the whistle, son, do it again."
And do it again McCormick did in the same left corner, but the ref said he wasn't ready.
Unrattled despite the odds of making the third one, McCormick changed his luck by firing one in the right corner. This time no objection and the Saints were on their way to a big win.
"We needed it, because we had tied Gibbons 3-3 and lost to Spalding 3-0 earlier in the week, and it came over an MSA Conference-caliber team," said Laur. "Just tell everybody, the Saints are back and ready to make an impact in the MSA."
Brian Peterson put in a pair and assisted on two more to pace coach Don Gregg's Falcons (3-1) to a 6-1 romp over Queen Anne's of the Eastern Shore.
After a hard-fought, scoreless first half on Friday, Arundel (3-0) got second-half goals from Craig Dorsey and Scott Young to deal Chesapeake (2-1) its first loss.
"Even though the score doesn't indicate it, we actually took it to them, but halfway through the second half, Arundel capitalized on a defensive lapse and made us pay for it," said coach Earl Eckhardt, whose Cougars entertain Broadneck (2-1) in a big Class 4A game on Tuesday night.
The Anne Arundel Community College men's soccer team (5-2) of Coach Ken Wolfe took two over the weekend, edging Hagerstown Community College by 3-1 in OT on Friday and humbling Allegany Community College Saturday by 8-2.
Barry Connor pumped in two goals after Scott Dryden had scored the first to lead the Pioneers over Hagerstown. In the rout of Allegany, Sean Smith and Mike Ogden tallied two goals each to lead the parade of points.
As for girls soccer highlights, Coach Bruce Sponsler's Old Mill Patriots got on track with its first win (1-2) by overpowering Annapolis, (1-2) 5-1, on the strength of four goals by Michelle Salmon.
Salmon's four-goal effort was matched by Meade's star player Amanda Simmons, who got all the goals for the Class 4A Mustangs (2-1) in a 4-3 win over coach Jim Shuck's upstart South River Seahawks (1-2).
Class 3A South River's other loss came to another 4A team in Glen Burnie, by 1-0.