The Annapolis High football team has made a habit of losing its season opener, only to come back strong in its second game.
This year proved to be no different, as the Panthers rolled to a 34-6 victory at Westminster last night after losing their sixth straight opener last week.
"We always open up with someone tough and played a great game last week against a strong Largo team. That made this game even more important, and it was a great win for us," said Annapolis coach Roy Brown.
"We came up to Westminster after a long bus ride and played a team that played a very good Woodlawn team tough and showed that we have a pretty good team."
The Panthers' game plan was simple: Give the ball to senior running back Ken Boyd.
Boyd carried the ball 22 times in the first half alone, rushing for 156 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers scored on four of their five first-half possessions to take a 28-0 lead. Boyd finished with 168 yards after playing sparingly in the second half.
"He's just a great runner who doesn't like to go down. I just can't say enough about him," Brown said.
The Panthers' defense was just as impressive, allowing the Owls (0-2) just 9 yards of total offense in the first half. The Owls' lone first down in the half came with 4:10 left in the second quarter and the Panthers ahead 22-0. Senior linebacker Lamont Henson sparked the effort with solid play in the middle, including three of the team's five sacks on Westminster's Steve Mays.
"Lamont's a tough kid who anchors our defense," Brown said. "He's a big-play linebacker, calls all our defensive plays and loves to hit."
Boyd had 37 yards on five carries in the Panthers' first possession, capping it with a 3-yard touchdown run. A big play in the series came on first-and-10 at the Owls' 48 when quarterback Juan Johnson found Joe Pergerson for a 30-yard reception. The two would connect three more times for a total of 99 yards and one touchdown.
It was more Boyd in the Panthers' second possession, carrying the ball all five times for 26 yards -- capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge. It all started with a nifty interception by Johnson, who one-handed a deflected pass and returned it the distance only to have it come back to the 26 after a clipping penalty.
Boyd capped a five-play, 31-yard drive at the 9:09 mark of the second quarter with a 6-yard run. Johnson threw to Bernard Howard for the conversion to make it 22-0.
Johnson then found Pergerson for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left in the half to make it 28-0.
The Panthers finished with 387 yards of total offense. The Owls were limited to 128 yards -- 84 of which came on keeper by Mays in the third quarter. The Panthers' Jerry Thompson answered with a 80-yard return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff.