COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland won the Chesapeake Classic at Memorial Stadium last year, when renovations at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium forced the game to be played there.
And by halftime of last night's third annual contest against Northern Virginia at Byrd, the visitors had Maryland coach Doug Fleetwood wishing the game was back there.
Northern Virginia continued to find its fortune at Byrd, drubbing Maryland, 44-14, last night. Two years ago, Northern Virginia won, 18-16, at Byrd.
Northern Virginia quarterbacks Barry Gauch (11-for-18, 173 yards, three touchdowns) and Towson State-bound Kevin Smith (8-for-14, 112 yards, two touchdowns) tore up Maryland's defensive secondary.
"We can't say the field was wet, or anything, because they played on it too," said Maryland cornerback Keion Carpenter (Woodlawn). "They were just better than us. I thought at some point we'd turn it around, but we never did."
Gauch (Woodbridge) got things started for the visitors, going 3-for-5 for 47 yards in an eight-play, 60-yard scoring march that included a 24-yard pass to Reggie Jackson (Garfield) that landed his team at the Maryland 10, and ended with a 32-yard field goal by Virginia's Jimmy Kibble (Osbourn Park) with 5:12 left in the first period.
The Marylanders, who were out-gained 184-52 in the first half, came back with North County's Topper Ellis, the smallest player on the field at 5-foot-7, 150 pounds. Ellis, who led North County to the 4A state title and was Maryland Most Valuable Player, returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards, going untouched down the Virginia sideline. The extra-point kick by Jason Bloom (Perry Hall) maded it 7-3 with 4:59 to go.
"It was in the beginning of the game, and I thought it would be a momentum-builder," said Ellis, who is headed for Wesley College. "But I'm not going to make any excuses, and my team can't either. We played terrible tonight."
But Maryland's secondary had trouble handling Darnell MacDonald (Virginia's MVP), who had nine receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. MacDonald (Hayfield) caught six passes for 74 yards in the first half, including a 28-yard touchdown toss from Smith that, along with Kibble's kick, capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive and put Virginia ahead 10-7 with 6:49 left in the half. Smith also had a 22-yard bootleg to the Maryland 32.
"I went to one school, Towson, and that's where I'm going," said Smith. "Maryland had a good quarterback from up there in Baltimore [Patterson's Willie McGirt], and I wanted to show people up in there that I can play."
Virginia made it 17-7 after Gauch (2,196 yards, 17 touchdowns at Woodbridge) completed three passes for 41 yards, including a 12-yard screen to Sam Zanders (Washington and Lee) for a touchdown with 1:32 left in the half.
West Potomac's Mike Willets blocked Bloom's punt to set up the drive, which ended with another extra-point kick from Kibble.
Zanders, who had 72 offensive yards, put Maryland in a deeper hole, 23-7, with 25 seconds left in the third period. He sprinted 22 yards, going untouched for the first 21, on a draw to cap a six-play, 60-yard drive.
Maryland, which gained 140 total yards, scored its second touchdown on Kevin Thompson's (Damascus) 43-yard touchdown pass to Antwaine Carter (Forestville) with 2:59 left in the game.
Thompson was 8-for20 passing for 113 yards and one touchdown.
McGirt only completed three of nine passes for Maryland, threw an interception and was sacked twice.
Maryland .. 7 ... 0 .. 0 ... 7 .. -- .. 14
Virginia .. 3 .. 14 .. 6 .. 21 .. -- .. 44