The players and coaches at Southern-Anne Arundel don't want to dwell on the past, but none of them could forget what happened last year against Elkton.
A 41-point loss has a way of staying with you.
With that in mind, the 13th-ranked Bulldogs evened the score last night in Harwood, rallying for four second-half touchdowns to defeat the Elks, 38-17.
Jamar Mullen and Corey Contee each scored twice and Wayne Small caught three conversion passes for Southern (5-1), which was coming off its first loss of the season, 22-16, to Douglass-Prince George's. The Bulldogs out-gained Elkton 162-66 in the second half, and the visitors ran just nine plays in the fourth quarter -- five after Southern had scored its last touchdown on a 25-yard interception return by Contee.
"There were some bad feelings from last year because they really embarrassed us," said Southern coach Buck Gardner. "What comes around, goes around."
The Bulldogs limited Elkton to 6 yards rushing in the first quarter and led, 7-0, on a 13-yard sweep by Mullen. But Elks completions of 26 and 7 yards to junior tight end Tony Fields set up a 1-yard run by Charles Braywood with 9:24 left in the first half that tied the score.
Elkton (4-2) went ahead, 14-7, with 4:28 left in the half on another 1-yard run by Braywood. The junior tailback gained 37 yards on an earlier carry that moved the ball into Southern territory, and junior Gary Slagle completed a 23-yarder to Fields that set up Braywood's score.
Southern quarterback Joe McCafferty went 0-for-2 and was sacked three times in the first half, as Elkton outgained the Bulldogs 161-56.
"They're a blitzing team and one guy always seemed to come free," said Jeff Cranford, Southern's offensive line coach and defensive coordinator. "We made some adjustments at halftime to keep more people in."
Southern trailed, 17-7, when McCafferty found Mullen down the right sideline for a 52-yard touchdown with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter. McCafferty passed to Small for the conversion.
After an Elkton punt, the Bulldogs drove 83 yards in 17 plays, with Jason Poknis diving over from the 1. McCafferty again passed to Small on the conversion, giving Southern a 23-17 lead.
A Small interception and 55-yard return set up Contee's 4-yard scoring run up the middle, and a 31-17 lead.
One of the lone early bright spots for Southern was junior defensive tackle Chris Sutherland, who had a sack and recovered a fumble on Elkton's first two possessions.