They're MSA C Conference co-champions, but for them the season is now over. When the top teams in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association begin state championship tournament play in a couple of weeks, football players at St. Paul's and Severn will be doing other things, leaving area fans, and perhaps themselves, wondering how they'd do if they could compete.
Severn was tri-champion last year with St. Paul's and St. Mary'swhom they beat 16-6 on Saturday. The school has only "about 100" boys in the high school grades, coach Jim Doyle said. Fifty of them play football.
Severn would be one of the smallest schools in Class 1A, thstate's small school division.
Doyle didn't bring up the subject of further competition, but wawilling to address it.
"We have some really good players," he said. "There are somgood athletes at our school. We like to play the public schools."
Doyle said the Admirals had performed well in a preseasoscrimmage against 3A power South River and nearly beat a strong team from 2A Southern-AA, losing 27-23. "We think we can compete with the public schools, without a doubt," he said. "I'm open minded to it."
But are the powers that be?
* BUT THE RIDE HOME SEEMED LIKE FIVE MINUTES: Woodlawn took a 2 1/2 -hour bus ride to Cumberland Saturday for a night game against perennially tough Fort Hill, which was fighting to stay alive in the playoff chase.
"It was a real high school football atmosphere with a big crowand a big band," Warriors coach George Goudy said. "They were big, and fundamentally very good."
But the Warriors didn't leave their legs on the bus and weren'cowed by the excitement. On Fort Hill's first possession, Woodlawn defensive tackle McKinley Watson blocked a punt, leading to a Rodney Pettit touchdown after a 37-yard drive.
Then, trailing 10-7 late in the game, the Warriors drove 52 yardsPettit scoring again with 1:06 left to give the Warriors a 14-10 win. Quarterback Pettit, running the option all night, had 109 yards rushing on 10 carries to keep Woodlawn's own playoff drive going.
* CASPER THE GHOST -- HALLOWEEN AWARD: Old Mill's Eric Sheppard returned the opening kickoff in a 34-7 win over Queen Anne's for a 94-yard touchdown. It was the week's longest scoring play.
"He busted it straight up the middle," said Patriots coach PetRegala. "Some guys were diving at him, but I don't know if anyone ever touched him."
Playing defensive back, Sheppard startled Queen Anne's wittwo interceptions, giving him seven for the year.
* MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES AWARD: Chas Offutt, St. Paul's starting quarterback, led the Crusaders to their third straight C Conference title, or at least a share of it. But he also ran opponents' offenses for the scout team, donning a red jersey but still taking some live hits from his own defense.
Coach Mitch Tullai had never used his starting signal-caller ithat role before, but Joe Unitas and Matt Mueller, the Crusaders' other quarterbacks, both play defense.
And, to show that he can pass backward as well as forwardOffutt was St. Paul's long snapper on punts.
* I HEAR YOU KNOCKIN': Recruiters from Division I football programs have been calling on not one, not two, but three Cardinal Gibbons offensive backs. Eugene Marshall, who had a career-high 248 yards on 28 carries in a 20-0 win over Lake Clifton, is most interested in Syracuse, West Virginia and Boston College. Wingback Damon Fleary likes Pittsburgh, Maryland and West Virginia. Fullback Glenn James is looking at Wake Forest.
* FUMBLED, BUT NOT HUMBLED: Catonsville had scored just 36 points all season, never more than one touchdown in a game. And it was showing Kenwood why. "I think we fumbled six times in the game and lost every one of them," said Comets coach Art Reeves. "There were some hard hits by Kenwood that caused them."
But Catonsville converted a Bluebirds turnover into a 12-yarJason Brooks-to-James Lewis touchdown pass with six seconds left in the half, and went on to a 36-14 win, its second of the year.
"Our offense had been nonexistent," Reeves said. "Defensivelywe played well against Overlea and Chesapeake. They had confidence they could play with this team.
"The workhorses for us have been running backs EugenWilliams and Lewis. But the one we couldn't play without is John Heiland, a senior captain, who plays flanker and linebacker. He's one of the most aggressive kids out there and has kept us in ballgames all year."