Annapolis showed host North County that it could pass the ball when needed, but the Panthers stayed with the run and grounded out a tough win.
Ahmon Middleton ran for 247 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Zion Green added one and threw for another as Annapolis pulled out a 34-22 victory over North County in the Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown on Friday night.
Middleton scored all three of his touchdowns in a second half where both teams woke up offensively. His biggest one came on a 37-yard run with just under two minutes left that clinched the win.
“We felt confident in what we had going with the running game,” Annapolis coach Nick Good-Malloy said. “We came out and we started the game a little flat. At halftime we lit a little fire and got it going.
Annapolis (4-4) took the lead on a 12-play drive that started in the first quarter and ended early in the second quarter when Green threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to James Johnson with 10:18 left. It was fourth-and-8 when Green rolled right and found Johnson in the right side of the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
North County (1-7) tried to answer on the next possession and had a first-and goal from the 7-yard line, but the Panthers stopped them. Annapolis then took off on a 13-play drive that ate up over five minutes but stalled, and the Panthers turned the ball over on downs at the North County 20.
The Knights nearly scored on quarterback Deontez Parker’s 54-yard touchdown a few players later but a holding call wiped that out.Later in the drive, Parker threw a 41-yard pass to Seth Campbell that put North County at the Annapolis 5-yard line in the final seconds of the first half. Parker then threw an incomplete pass as time ran out, and the Panthers held on to a 6-0 halftime lead.
The Knights finally broke through on their first drive of the second half when Parker found Campbell wide open on the left sideline for a 59-yard touchdown. Jimmy Shiflett added the extra point for a 7-6 North County lead 46 seconds into the second half.
Green and the Panthers bounced right back. The quarterback broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run two plays later. Middleton then ran for the 2-point conversion and a 14-7 Annapolis lead.
The Panthers scored again on their next possession, going 97 yards on 15 plays – all runs – capped by a Middleton 1-yard run. Green then threw to Demari Turner for the 2-point conversion and a 22-7 lead with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
“This week in practice, coach told us to play all four quarters,” Middleton said. “Once the second half got started, everything started opening up.”
North County bounced back again, scoring three plays later when Chris Leslie ran for a 79-yard touchdown. Parker then got around the right end for the 2-point conversion that cut the lead to 22-15 with 10:33 left in the game.
Middleton answered on the next possession, running for a 15-yard touchdown with 9:13 left, but North County would not go away.
Taihem Rice returned the ensuing kickoff for a 74-yard touchdown, and Shiftlett’s kick made it 28-22.
Middleton later put the exclamation point on it with his 37-yard touchdown run right up the middle with 1:52 remaining. That gave the Panthers a 34-22 lead and locked up the win.
Annapolis 34, North County 22
A; 0; 6; 16; 12;-; 34
NC; 0; 0; 7; 15;-; 22
A-Johnson 15 pass from Green (run failed)
N-Campbell 59 pass from Parker (Shiflett kick)
A-Green 48 run (Middleton run)
A-Middleton 1 run (Turner pass from Green)
N-Leslie 79 run (Parker run)
A-Middleton 15 run (run failed)
N-Rice 79 kickoff return (Shiflett kick)
A-Middleton 37 run (run failed)