Yardage wins stat battles, but points and turnovers win football games, as 11th-ranked Annapolis (4-1) proved at Al Laramore Field last night in Annapolis.
The Fighting Panthers gave up a lot of real estate, especially in the first half, but still won their fourth straight by 34-8 over Glen Burnie (2-3). It was also the Panthers' fourth win in a row over Glen Burnie. The Gophers last defeated the Panthers, 11-0, in 1989.
Kenny Boyd broke up a close game with touchdown runs of 59 and 47 yards in the final period and finished the evening with 172 yards on 20 attempts.
Running back Ricky Graves had 116 yards on only eight carries (( and Glen Burnie totaled 199 yards of offense in the first half, but didn't have a touchdown to show for the effort.
Annapolis coach Roy Brown called the Gophers a "solid football team and the best we've played since Largo" (a 26-20 overtime loss in season opener) before the game. He hoped his team would continue its habit of creating turnovers that pay off in touchdowns.
A 98-yard interception return for six points by Chris Johnson, two fumble recoveries and a fourth-down stand at the 4-yard line frustrated the Gophers and their talented junior quarterback, Jermaine Smith.
Annapolis quarterback Juan Johnson hit Brian Howard with a 28-yard scoring pass in the right corner of the end zone with 9:03 left in the first period, and sophomore Travis Scholz kicked the extra point to make it 7-0 Annapolis.
With 2:41 to go in the first period, Chris Johnson picked off a Smith pass on fourth-and-goal at the 3 and raced 98 yards to make it 13-0. The -- was three yards short of the Annapolis and county record return of Ahmed Middleton in 1990.
The Gophers got inside the Annapolis five again with 8:43 to go in the first half, but coughed it up on fourth-and-goal from the four.
Johnson's punt attempt on fourth down from the end zone was blocked and pounced on by Rocky Newton of the Gophers for a safety with 7:11 left in the first half.
Glen Burnie drove again to the Annapolis 29 and 18 in the last six minutes only to fumble the ball away both times. At the 5:24 mark of the first half, Lamont Henson fell on a botched Gopher rush, and Jeff Ogle at 1:37 gobbled up a loose ball at the 18.
Boyd took it out to the 47 and Chris Johnson chalked up 10 more on a sprint to the Glen Burnie 43 to set up a flea flicker from Johnson to Johnson that put the ball on the Gopher four. Juan pitched to Chris, who then passed it back and downfield to Juan for the huge gain.
Juan Johnson then tossed to Howard for a touchdown with time expired to give the Panthers a commanding 21-2 lead at halftime.
Neither team scored in the third period, and Boyd took over the final period to ice it.