North County junior quarterback Mike Pfisterer has brought newfound confidence to the field this fall.
The result has been an efficient, big-play passing game that was on display full blast yesterday afternoon at Meade, where the Knights answered every challenge the Mustangs issued in a 33-14 win.
Pfisterer, in his third season starting on varsity, found an array of receivers all afternoon, completing 26 of 38 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns. He added a 1-yard plunge for another score and also converted a two-point play.
Winners against Meade for the first time in four years, the Knights have started 2-0 after two straight 3-7 seasons. The emergence of Pfisterer, along with a sure-handed group of receivers that make plays after the catch, is a big reason why.
"Mike's matured. He's worked hard this summer lifting weights and has become a leader. He's growing up," said North County coach Chuck Markiewicz. "The whole thing with us is confidence. We haven't had that the last two years and that's my fault as the leader. This sure is a lot more fun, but we still have a long way to go."
The Knights scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. Pfisterer led a 10-play, 69-yard opening drive by completing seven of his first eight passes for 65 yards, the last an 11-yard strike to Greg Scott in the left corner of the end zone.
Relying on a strong running game that featured Richard Redwood and Kenny Rhames, the Mustangs (0-2) found it difficult matching the Knights' quick-strike attack.
Rhames scored on runs from 11 and 38 yards, twice cutting Knights leads to seven, but the visitors made the plays when they needed to.
Senior Jimal Miller caught a short underneath pass from Pfisterer and turned it into a 54-yard touchdown when he found the left sideline to give the Knights a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter. After Rhames' second score, in the third quarter, the Knights went 60 yards on nine plays to answer -- Pfisterer again connecting with Miller for an 11-yard score.
"When you face adversity you have to step up. When they scored, we had to just get right back at them," said Pfisterer, who threw for 266 yards and four scores in a season-opening win against South River last week. "We have a good offensive line and receivers who can catch the ball. I'm just getting the ball off a little quicker with better reads."
Meade's first-year coach Kenny Grey said he believes the pieces are there, it's just a matter of getting them all together.
"I think we'll get it right," he said. "This is tough on the kids because they know they can play. We just have to play within ourselves and not beat ourselves."
Miller caught six passes for 117 yards and the two scores to lead a balanced receiving corps that was without standout Nat Randall. Dave Bush (six catches for 58 yards), Kevin Hammack (six catches, 57 yards) and Scott (five catches, 77 yards) also enjoyed fine afternoons.