Dundalk rallies in football opener (VIDEO HERE!)

Dundalk running back Se’Vion Thompson breaks outside as Annapolis’ Deon Hunt pursues during the second half of Saturday’s regular season football opener. The Owls gained their 10th straight opening victory with a 15-6 non-league decision over the Panthers in Ba

by Tom Peace

After back-to-back winning seasons, the Dundalk High football team went through a transition last fall. The Owls think they’re ready to return to relevance in 2018.

Dundalk defeated Annapolis, 15-6, in the regular season debut for both teams, Saturday afternoon in Baltimore County.

The Owls (1-0 overall) were able to navigate through some opening game mistakes to win their 10th straight season debut. The Delvale Avenue school last loss a regular season opener in 2008.

“We just weren’t focused all week, and we played sloppy at the beginning of the game,” said Owls running back/defensive back Ronnie Brown. “Then we got a huge play and it gave us a spark and we starting playing like we know how to play.”

Annapolis (0-1) overcame an early safety as sophomore quarterback DeShawn Austin threw a touchdown pass to junior Jaden Boykin for a 6-2 advantage. Dundalk got its first score of the season on junior Se’Vion Thompson’s touchdown run with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in the second half.

The momentum carried into the start of the second half as Brown, a transfer from Sparrows Point, returned the second half kickoff 80 yards, for what would be the game’s final touchdown.

Dundalk finished 5-5 last season, coming off a Class 3A North Region semifinal appearance in 2016 and their historic 2015 run to the 3A state final at M&T Bank Stadium. Last fall was the first season for Matt Banta, formerly an Owl assistant, as head coach.

Though pleased with the win, Banta said his squad has a lot of work to do.

“We’re hungry. We’ll take the win but we got a lot of things to clean up,” said Banta, whose team plays Patapsco next weekend.

Annapolis, looking to return to the 4A playoffs after a run to the state final four in 2016, was shaky to start as the first snap of the contest sailed over Austin’s head. Two plays later, deep in Panther territory, another errant snap went out of the end zone for a safety.

The Panthers got comfortable as Austin and Boykin connected from 10 yards out for their first score of the season. But the Anne Arundel County school wasn’t able to get back into the end zone.

“I think there’s a lot of positives and a lot of mistakes we made,” said Annapolis coach Nick Good-Malloy. “Personal fouls, some bad calls we made as coaches, mishandling the ball at times, typical first game stuff. I think the kids stuck together which is very important moving forward.”