St. Mary's "dominated the game" in the words of Severn's John Beckman, but the first-year coach kept reminding his Admirals "we're always only one play from scoring."
Beckman was saving one play, but doesn't know why he waited so long. With 3:18 left he called the "tackle trap" and sophomore Dennard Melton raced 78 yards to a touchdown.
Quarterback Willis Wu hit a diving Pete Janney in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion and the No. 14 Admirals held on for a 15-14 victory over the Saints.
Melton's run was one of two big plays -- the other an 82-yard pass and run play from Wu to Josh Sims -- as the Admirals managed only 60 yards of total offense the rest of the afternoon.
The Severn win ended St. Mary's three-game winning streak in the series.
Severn had won by 16-6 in 1991 with Jim Doyle as head coach and Beckman, an assistant to Doyle, took a page from his former boss' playbook with the game on the line in front of an overflow crowd in Severna Park.
"I don't know why I didn't use it sooner," said Beckman. "Our tackle trap was drawn up by Jim [Doyle] and basically we spread the formation out and hope we get the blocks."
Beckman got what he wanted from tackle Kevin Schelenski and Sims. Schelenski sprang Melton from the trenches on the left side at the 22 and Sims threw a block
bTC downfield to wipe out the last man around the 50. It was on the Sims check that Melton appeared to step out of bounds.
"I thought I stepped out, and that's why I slowed up for a second, but I didn't hear a whistle and kept going," said Melton. "They had us stopped. We came in with a game plan, but they took it away."
Melton, who came into the game averaging 11.0 yards a carry (27 for 297 yards), was held to eight yards on six attempts in the first half. He gained only 15 yards in his five other second-half attempts (excluding touchdown) to finish with 101 yards on 11 attempts.
Saints junior running back Rashi Reed led all ball carriers with 181 yards on 28 attempts, but scored only once.
"We moved the ball between the 20s but couldn't plug it in," said Saints coach Brad Best. "Mental mistakes and missed blocks cost us."
Severn defensive end Jeff Hatch was there for one of the Saints' mistakes, recovering a fumble at the Admirals' 22 in the second period.
After Severn took a 7-0 lead on the Wu pass to Sims in the second period, the Saints struck for two touchdowns within two minutes in the third period.
Bryant Airey picked off a tipped Wu pass in full stride and dashed untouched into the end zone. Severn's Mike Greer blocked the extra-point attempt and the Admirals had a 7-6 lead with 5:50 left in the third.
Ryan Metzbower set up the Saints' next score by returning a punt 65 yards to the Admirals' 11. Reed took it in on the next play, and quarterback Kevin Grace hit Matt Murphy for the two-point conversion and a 14-7 Saints lead.