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Seven minutes to victory

The Baltimore Sun

It was seven-plus minutes the North County football team will look back on when it comes to its 2008 season.

And the tough decision at the end turned out not to be that tough at all.

The No. 8 Knights (6-1) put together a memorable 14-play, 77-yard drive in the fourth quarter of their 22-21 win over previously undefeated and then-No. 4 Old Mill on Friday. After senior running back Dino Stevens scored from 1 yard out to cut the Patriots' lead to 21-20 with 5:09 to play, there was no question the Knights would go for two points and the lead.

North County coach Gary Liddick saw the Patriots block three punts and an extra point the week before and also block his team's extra point on its first touchdown Friday.

Before the offense went back on the field for the winning drive, he asked them what they thought, and they all agreed to go for two should they score. Enter Stevens, the county's leading rusher, who finished with just over 100 yards for the game.

"The entire season we have talked about a long, sustaining drive, and we had not done that all year. We decided to mix the running game in with some passes, and it all clicked. It was textbook," Liddick said.

As for the two-point play?

"Dino Stevens. I'm going to put the ball in the hands of the leading rusher in the county. People would think I'm dumb if I didn't," Liddick said.

Three teams - Arundel, North County and Old Mill - now have 6-1 marks in the county. In the Class 4A East region, Arundel is in first place with 71 points, followed by North County (66) and Old Mill (62). With a 5-2 mark, Broadneck, which travels to Old Mill Saturday afternoon, holds down the fourth and final playoff spot with 48 points, while Severna Park (4-3) remains in contention with 42.

Motivation for Falcons

After three uncharacteristic losses in county play last season, the top-ranked Severna Park field hockey team had plenty of motivation working its way through the Class 4A East region. The Falcons avenged losses to county rivals Broadneck and South River before going on to capture the program's 17th state championship.

This regular season, the Falcons returned to their usual dominating form by finishing with a 14-0 mark, outscoring their opponents, 95-4.

Severna Park coach Lil Shelton said they used last season's regular-season as motivation in the postseason. The Falcons found some more on Monday when Broadneck upset them in the county championship game, 2-0.

They will open the Class 4A East region quarterfinals this afternoon against Tuesday's Chesapeake-AA/Northeast winner.

"The key is the kids staying intense, keeping them excited and focused," Shelton said.

The Falcons' balanced offense is led by sophomore Madison Thomas (18 goals, eight assists), junior Kristen Miller (13, four) and Megan Kowalski (14, one).

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