With an explosive offense, John Carroll made Severn look nothing like the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Division champions yesterday.
Instead, the Patriots' defense held Severn's standout running backs, sophomores Dennard Melton and Vo Craig, to 29 and 75 yards rushing, respectively, and allowed just 208 total yards for the game -- fewer than 50 yards in the second half -- as host John Carroll (2-1) upset No. 13 Severn, 35-7.
Phil Smith (six tackles, one sack), Kris Nesbitt (14 tackles, two assists), Bryan Barrett (nine tackles) and Mike McComas (three tackles, fumble recovery) combined on a superb effort by a defense that has many first-timers.
The Patriots' offense took care of the rest, converting two fumble recoveries into touchdowns and got a couple of big plays of its own, including a 50-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Brad Meerholz to Barrett, with eight seconds left in the first half, that pushed John Carroll ahead 14-7.
"This was one of the major wins for this school since 1987," said Patriots coach Bill Mackley.
"We were prepared, we scouted them twice and our reports were on the nose. They did what we expected."
The Admirals fumbled their first snap from their own 20 to start the third quarter, which John Carroll turned into a 21-7 lead three plays later, when Meerholz found Ryan Stangle for a 15-yard completion for a touchdown. Meerholz threw for 91 yards in the game on 4-for-9 passing and two touchdowns.
Three plays into its next possession, Severn fumbled again and the Patriots recovered at the Admirals' 40. The Patriots stalled when Meerholz threw an interception, but Severn lost 12 yards on three downs after it took over at its own 20.
Down 28-7, the Admirals tried once more to get started, but a penalty and two runs for losses pushed them back 19 yards to their own 6..
The Patriots got a 7-yard run by Barrett (who scored three times) and a 1-yard run by Meerholz to finish out the scoring late in the final quarter.
"We noticed some things on the scouting report and what we had to do was trap and use mis-direction plays," said Mackley.
John Carroll opened the scoring on the game's first possession, as Barrett scored from 4 yards out, set up by a 43-yard run by Rodney Monroe.
Severn struck right back as Melton ran twice for a first down, then John Butcher raced 75 yards to tie the game at 7.