After watching Kevin Znamirowski shred his defense for 140 yards passing in the first half, Overlea coach Terry Ward decided try keeping the Perry Hall quarterback off the field.
Ward put in a full-house backfield that ran 32 of the half's first 40 plays, But Overlea still needed Dana Washington's interception with 33 seconds left to preserve a 12-6 victory over No. 14 Perry Hall last night at Dundalk Community College.
Znamirowski put on a show in the first half of the season opener. The 6-foot-1 senior completed 10 of 14, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Raffeal Hunter on the half's final play to tie the game at 6.
"Znamirowski was eating us up," said Ward.
Overlea, meanwhile, gained only 102 yards in the first half -- 74 on a James Holley run. But relying on Holley (183 yards on 27 carries) to do most of the work, the Falcons began eating up the clock.
The senior started the half with runs of 5, 10, 12, 4 and 24 yards before Shey Allen scored the winning touchdown on a 7-yard run with 7:57 left in the third quarter.
"After the first two runs, I knew that it would work," said Holley, whose long first-half run set up quarterback Matt Davis' 6-yard touchdown. "If we stay on offense, we control the game."
The Falcons got blocking help from Leif Barstad in the backfield, and from right tackle Mike Spence, right guard Jason Dayberry and tight end John Besche.
After Allen's touchdown, Overlea mounted drives of 16 and nine plays, both to the Overlea 3-yard line, but Perry Hall held both times, getting the ball back with about four minutes left.
And that was almost enough time for Znamirowski. He completed four passes for 82 yards and drove the Gators from their 3-yard line to the Overlea 7 with 46 seconds left.
After Znamirowski threw one away on first down, Washington knocked a pass away from Hunter on second down. Znamirowski then floated one into the left corner on third down, but Washington grabbed it just ahead of Perry Hall's Chris Zorn.
Znamirowski finished by completing 14 of 22 for 222 yards, but he did not complete a pass in the second half until just under four minutes remained in the game.