FROSTBURG -- It took Beall High a half to get its scoring machine into high gear, but when it did, it beat a path to the end zone to defeat Joppatowne, 40-6, in a Class 1A state semifinal before 2,000 chilled fans last night.
The game started with a temperature in the mid-40s, and it featured a misty rain and occasional snow showers before it ended. The conditions did not slow the Mountaineers one bit.
Beall (12-0), the top seed, had too much of everything.
"We could see it coming," first-year Joppatowne coach John Kling said. "They were just too big for us."
Beall finished with 326 yards rushing. It had 17 first downs to one for the Mariners, who ended with 9 yards rushing and 9 passing (1-for-9, three interceptions).
Such has been the destruction by the Beall team this year (seven games scoring at least 40 points) that when Brian Ritchey had to punt in the fourth quarter, it was only his ninth kick of the season.
The heavyweight in Beall's operation is Adam Patterson (6 feet 2, 220 pounds), a senior and son of coach Bill Patterson. He can run (more than 100 yards and three touchdowns), block and play tough defense at linebacker.
The Mariners had one brief ray of hope on an otherwise long evening. Joppatowne (8-4) had won the coin toss but deferred to the second half, and Andre Turner made the call look good when he returned the third-quarter kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. This got the Mariners within 14-6.
The ball bounced around and when the coverage overran it, Turner was gone. He fled down the sideline, cut to the middle, turning around defender Phil Carter in the process, and went in untouched. It was his sixth kick return for a score this season.
Whatever optimism this created quickly was --ed, as the Mountaineers rolled into the end zone on their next two possessions. The first one would have been more than enough.
"That one killed us," Kling said. "Up front they were just too strong for us."
Still, the Mariners became only the fourth Maryland team to score on the Allegany County squad this season.
Mike Frost, a 5-9, 162-pound senior who complements Patterson, picked up the third-quarter touchdowns on runs of 2 and 17 yards. The second one was set up by a fumble recovery at the Mariners' 23 by junior Tony Tringler (5-11, 182), who played much bigger than his size in the middle of the defensive line.
A minute later, Joppatowne quarterback Alonzo McDowell's pass into the flat was picked off by Jason Feagley.
The Mountaineers' ensuing drive carried into the fourth quarter. This time, reserve back Todd Vogtman did the damage, running on three of the seven plays.
Feagley's second interception on Joppatowne's next series left the Mariners with a net of 1 yard for the half, and Patterson sealed it with his third touchdown and made the last nine minutes academic.
Beall, which had dominated its first 11 opponents with its rushing -- it has outscored its past five opponents 257-14 -- took charge on its first possession working against a defensive alignment that had as many as 10 players within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage.
"The footing was slippery, but our line is so big it was easy to work behind that surge," Feagley said. "I think our line was bigger than every other team we played."
This group included Charlie Arnold (6-4, 282) and Mike McGlinchey (6-2, 242), son of the Frostburg State coach. Overall, the line averaged better than 230 pounds. McGlinchey was one of three who turned around and led the defensive charge.