On verge of 10-0 season, Annapolis falls short again


Broadneck's shocking 22-21 upset of No. 5-ranked Annapolis on Friday night continued the Panthers' frustration of not finishing the regular season unbeaten, and it also halted the Panthers' bid to become the county's first team to average 40 points a game.

For the second time in three years, coach Roy Brown's Panthers went into their final regular-season game at 9-0 and came up short.

The Panthers, who tied North County's 1992 record for most points scored in 10 games (393), clinched a 3A playoff berth last week. But their county winning streak was halted at 16 games, leaving Annapolis 22-2 against Anne Arundel foes since 1997.

In '97, the Panthers' final game was postponed by wet field conditions on a Friday, moved to Saturday and played in driving rain with 4-6 Severna Park pulling off a stunning upset, 21-14.

Brown thought that loss stung until Friday night in Cape St. Claire when the Bruins (7-3) overcame a 21-7 deficit with 15 unanswered points, including Tim Gappert's game-winning 21-yard field goal with six minutes left.

Broadneck senior quarterback Ryan Eslin had an unforgettable final game, completing 23 of 26 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns in what coach Jeff Herrick called "the best win I've ever been involved with."

"It was agonizing watching the game film, "said Brown on Saturday morning "We had the game under control, but let it get away. They [the Bruins] played well, especially in the second half and did I what they had to do to win.

"We've got to put that game behind us and get ready for the playoffs.

The Bruins' playoff chances, which had appeared extremely remote, flickered briefly after the victory until they learned that Southern beat South River, 26-14.

Broadneck needed South River to win to get a bonus point that would have lifted the Bruins over Old Mill, 78-77, in the 4A East region playoff points race for a shot at the eighth seed.

There were a couple bright spots for the Panthers in the loss. Rayvon Johnson ran for 225 yards and two touchdowns to finish the (regular season with county-leading totals of 1,803 yards and 27 touchdowns.

With at least one game left, Johnson is one touchdown away from the county season record of 28 held by Broadneck's Martel Threadgill, and six points away from tying the county season record of 170 points by Severn's John Vereen in 1994.

Completing his second season, Johnson also has 3,863 career rushing yards, 134 away from eclipsing Threadgill's county record of 3,996.

Also, Panthers fullback Aaron Copeland ran for 89 yards against Broadneck to run his season total to 980 yards.

Copeland needs 20 yards in this week's playoff game to give the Panthers two 1,000-yard rushers for the first time since their state championship season of 1978, with John Rodkey (1,090) and Kevin Thompson (1,046).

Falcons flying high

No. 12-ranked Severna Park didn't the win to make the 4A playoffs, but it was obvious Friday that the Falcons (9-1) wanted to win the East region. Second-year coach J. P. Hines wasn't about to allow a letdown because they had already clinched.

A quarterfinal home game was at stake, and the Falcons earned it with a superb defensive effort.

"I'm proud of these kids," Hines said. "We're not very big, but their hearts are huge and they've worked hard to get to this point. Nobody respects us, but we're a good, quality football team with speed."

Senior quarterback Chris Odom has set school records with the help of receiver Paul Gillette. Odom now has the most touchdown passes (18) in a season and career (25), most single season passing yards (1,382) and most completions (83) in a season.

The Falcons have traditionally been a running team until Hines arrived, and have had only one all-county quarterback since 1980 in Kevin Hetrick (1987), who was more of a master ball handier than passer.

Gillette played a fine all-around game Friday as he intercepted a pass and kicked two extra points. Gillette caught four passes for 88 yards and now owns the school records for receptions (30), yards receiving (527) and touchdowns (eight).

"What can you say about Gillette? Just a great football player and great kid," Hines said.

On the other side, Old Mill's second-year coach Mike Marcus has also turned in a superb coaching performance. His Patriots have scored 300 points or more in two straight seasons.

Patriots quarterback Brian Williams, who broke Craig Hall's school record for touchdown passes (17 in 1998) with his 18th last week, also broke Hall's school records for most passing yards (1,391) with 1,405 and most completions (89) going 93-for-179.

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