Southern of Anne Arundel repeatedly pounded the Wilde Lake defense with its ground game, running 34 times. But the Bulldogs pulled a surprise when it came to the game's key play -- they passed.
With flying colors.
Adam Booth threw his first touchdown pass of the season, a 10-yard toss to Chris Worrall on the first play of overtime, to give XTC Southern a 13-7 victory over Wilde Lake yesterday at Howard High School.
Southern (2-1), behind Bobby Procopio (25 carries for 108 yards), kept the ball on the ground most of the afternoon and gained 125 yards. Booth threw the ball only 10 times, completing four for 27 yards.
Southern then tried to cross up Wilde Lake (1-2) on the first play of overtime. Booth took the snap and rolled right before lofting a pass that Worrall ran under in the end zone for the winning score.
"We had gotten somebody open earlier [on the same pattern], but couldn't get the ball to them," said Southern coach Buck Gardner, who said Booth had the option to run.
Wilde Lake nearly tied it on third down of its four-play series. From the 7-yard line, quarterback Dante Benning threw one into a crowd at the back of the end zone. Allen Anderson out-jumped everyone to catch it, but he was ruled out of bounds.
Wilde Lake appeared to tire as the game went on. Southern kept the Wildecat defense on the field for much of the second half, running 29 of the 45 plays.
"We just spent too much time on the field," said Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall. "We don't have great depth. Our offense is our defense."
Wilde Lake kept Southern quiet much of the game, limiting the Bulldogs to 130 yards of total offense. In fact, Southern managed only 30 yards and one first down in the scoreless first half.
The Bulldogs, Class 2A state finalists last year, only made first downs on one drive in the second half. But they came on a 19-play, 82-yard march that ate up 10:19.
Southern, because of penalties, gained 97 yards on the drive that concluded with a 14-yard touchdown run from Procopio for a 7-0 lead with 8:58 remaining. Procopio gained 88 yards rushing on that drive.
Wilde Lake nearly tied the game on its next possession, but Benning fumbled it away at the 4-yard line. Procopio then fumbled it back two plays later, giving Wilde Lake the ball on the Southern 11. Two plays later, Benning scored on a 7-yard run. Luke Watson's kick tied the game with 4:24 left.
The Wildecats could not take advantage of other scoring chances. In addition to coming up empty from the 4-yard line, Wilde Lake did not score after driving to the 18-, 23- and 33-yard lines.
Wilde Lake turned the ball over five times and could gain only 51 yards on the ground. The Wildecats fumbled six times (losing four) and threw an interception. Sophomore quarterback Tony Jackson struggled in his first varsity start, fumbling five times in his two quarters.
"We just couldn't get an offensive drive going," said DuVall. "They are a good defensive team."