A year ago, Century spoiled South Carroll's bid for a 5-0 start.
This time around, Cavaliers senior Ben McCarty all but made certain history wouldn't repeat itself.
In the span of 12 seconds midway through the third quarter, McCarty recovered a Century fumble deep in South Carroll's end, then rushed for a 73-yard touchdown, leading the visiting Cavaliers to a 21-13 win against their Carroll County rival.
"It was definitely right in front of our heads," McCarty said, referring to last year's game. "This was definitely a key game. We know this game could define our season."
McCarty finished with 130 yards on 10 carries. Quarterback Anthony Nardo also threw a pair of touchdown passes for the Cavaliers, who brushed off an early deficit with 21 straight points against the two-time defending county champions.
"We've been telling them all along the only way to get to be county champions is to beat the county champions," said South Carroll coach Steve Luette. "They came out and played a hell of a game but our guys stuck in there. We came back and showed them what we were made of."
McCarty played a key role in that.
First, the cornerback recovered a fumble by Century running back Joey Trombetta, ending one of the Knights' best drives at the South Carroll 28. Then, on the very next play, McCarty, playing running back, took a handoff at the Knights' 27, burst through the middle of the line and outran the Cavaliers' secondary to extend the lead to 21-6.
The Cavaliers (5-0 overall, 3-0 Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference) now have outscored their first five opponents, 200-26.
The result was quite different from a year ago, when South Carroll also started 4-0, then dropped an upset to the Knights in their fifth game. Both teams wound up making the Class 2A, West playoffs, where the Cavaliers gained their revenge in the opening round.
This time around, South Carroll seemed intent on keeping its perfect start intact.
It was Century (2-3, 1-1) however, that struck first, when on its second possession of the game, quarterback Ryan Throndset floated a pass to Brandon Soderstrom, the county's leading receiver, down the right sideline for a 42-yard touchdown.
That lead could have grown if not for a pass interference penalty in the second quarter that negated a 73-yard hookup, again between Throndset and Soderstrom.
South Carroll made the Knights pay for that mistake near halftime.
Riding the big arm of Nardo, the Cavaliers drove 74 yards on five passes, then scored when Nardo found Ryan McIvor on a short pass on the right side, and the senior broke a tackle and burst into the end zone from 12-yards out.
Chris Frederick's extra point gave South Carroll a 7-6 lead at the half.
S 0 7 14 0 — 21
C 6 0 0 7 — 13
C—Soderstrom 42 pass from Throndset (kick failed)
S—MacIvor 12 pass from Nardo (Frederick kick)
S—Hettchen 15 pass from Nardo (Frederick kick)
S—McCarty 73 run (Frederick kick)
C—Kimble by pass from Throndset (Kimble kick)