It was a night backup quarterbacks usually only get to dream about, but junior Mike Wells lived the moment and top-ranked Mount St. Joseph (2-0) proved it is more than a one-man team.
With Lucas Phillips, perhaps the metro area's top quarterback on the sidelines with a head injury, Mount St. Joseph (2-0) rolled over unranked Annapolis, 32-0.
Wells guided the Gaels' offense with aplomb and Archie Wannamaker made his job easy. Wannamaker, a 5-foot-8 and 175-pound running back rushed for 231 yards, and three touchdowns on 24 carries.
The Gaels' senior running back gained 175 yards in the first half on 20 attempts and had 111 of those yards in the second period as St. Joe scored two touchdowns to take a 20-0 halftime lead.
Wells was forced into the starting role for the first time in his three years at St. Joe while Phillips missed his first game in three years. Phillips sustained a brain contusion in the Gaels' season-opening 32-20 victory over Good Counsel.
"Our trainer was away this week and we had to go by the Phillips' family doctor who advised him not to play," said St. Joe coach Mike Working, who had Phillips warm up before the game to keep coach Roy Brown and Annapolis guessing. "Lucas will be back next week, but this was good for our team.
"We made the decision on Monday to play Wells and we had confidence he would do the job if he played within himself. He did everything he had to do."
Center Michael Wink and Wells worked together as if Wells had been starting for three years.
"I didn't feel any pressure because I knew Archie would run all over them," said Wells, a Severna Park resident who was especially thrilled to get the start near home.
"Yeah, it's the kind of thing you dream about, playing quarterback for the No. 1 team. We love being No. 1."
Wannamaker, who also caught one of the two passes Wells (2-for-5) completed for 18 yards to set up the Gaels' final score, also had an interception.
"Give my line credit for the job they did," said Wannamaker, calling attention to Wink, tackles Chris Whitt and Butch Jarrett, guards Pat Wallace and Joe Kern, and ends Gary Moore and Lorn Phillips.
"We weren't worried without Lucas because we know we're an 11-man team, not a one-man team. And we're No. 1, the big cat, and everybody is chasing the big cat."
Annapolis spent most of the night chasing Wannamaker and Matt O'Donnell who gained 38 yards and scored a touchdown on eight first-half carries.
Wells guided the Gaels 62 yards in eight plays with Wannamaker crashing in from the two on the game's initial drive. O'Donnell scored the second touchdown on a one-yard plunge early into the second period and Moore's kick made it 14-0.
Wannamaker's 12-yard scoot completed the first-half scoring while Annapolis gained just 85 yards of total offense before the break.
Sean Smith dove over from the one in the third period and Wannamaker capped the scoring with a two-yard burst seconds into the final period.
Senior Brandt Hager was a bright spot for the Panthers with 98 yards rushing on eight attempts, including a 44-yard scamper late in the game. Hager, who had 73 yards in the second half, led the Panthers to a first and goal at the four.
The game ended with a goal-line stand by the Gaels led by tackle Da Vaughn Mellerson on four downs inside the five. Annapolis was stopped at the one on fourth down as the clock ran out.