Maryland's 20-16 victory in yesterday's second Chesapeake Football Classic at Memorial Stadium not only avenged last year's loss to Northern Virginia's All-Stars, but it also gave some lesser-known players a chance to shine.
There was DeMatha quarterback John Thomas out-dueling The Washington Post's All-Metro pick Matt Shannon (West Springfield). Thomas earned Team Maryland Most Valuable Player honor by completing six of 13 passes for 196 yards and touchdowns of 77, 32 and 69 yards in a game played on the Canadian Football League field -- 110 yards from goal line to goal line and 20-yard end zones.
Two of those passes went to Eleanor Roosevelt's Duan Jones, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound wide receiver whose three receptions totaled 131 yards.
And there was Meade's Kenny Walker (6-0, 215), who had 122 yards of offense, including a 69-yard screen pass for a fourth-period touchdown that turned out to be the game-winner.
Both Jones and Walker played on teams that finished the 1993 season with losing records.
"We all played a great team game," said North County coach Chuck Markiewicz, Maryland's offensive coordinator.
Markiewicz employed the run-and-shoot, as he does at North County High.
"We had some of our better players like [City's All-Metro] Dwight Banks who didn't even catch a ball, but everyone was real good about it," Markiewicz said.
Virginia led 3-0 after its opening drive. It covered 43 yards in 11 plays and ended with Chris Segaar's 37-yard field goal with 6:33 left in the first period.
But on Maryland's second possession, Thomas -- on first-and-10 from the Maryland 33 -- spotted Jones streaking down the Maryland sideline for the 77-yard score. Thomas' point-after kick gave Maryland a 7-3 lead.
But Shannon answered for Virginia with a deceptive quarterback keeper that capped an eight play, 83-yard drive with 10:43 left in the second period. He fooled the entire Maryland defense with a fake to a running back up the middle before trotting, untouched, 17 yards to the end zone. Segaar's extra point made it 10-7.
Later in the quarter, a bad snap over the head of punter Thomas gave Virginia the ball at Maryland's 40. Four plays later, Segaar's 27-yard field goal put Virginia ahead, 13-7, with 5:37 left in the half.
A Thomas-to-Jones 32-yard scoring pass tied the game at 13-13 with 9:22 left in the game. Thomas, whose extra-point kick made it 14-13, hit Jones at the 1-yard line and the receiver fought past Virginia's Prince Addy (Annandale) for the touchdown.
Segaar came to Virginia's rescue again with 4:26 left in the game, finishing a 13-play, 86-yard Virginia drive with a 21-yard field goal to make the score 16-14.
But Maryland came right back.
On a third-and-10 from Maryland's 41, Thomas dumped the decisive screen pass to Walker, who juked three defenders over the next 10 yards before sprinting down the sideline for the score. "I had three blockers in front of me, so I just used them one at a time," said Walker. "When I reached the sideline, it was clear sailing. I knew they wouldn't catch me."
Walker nearly scored again on Maryland's next possession, sprinting 49 yards down the Maryland sideline before being nudged out of bounds at the Virginia 11. The drive stalled five plays later at the 15.