South River High dominated North County from the game’s opening moments en route to a convincing 48-7 victory last night in Anne Arundel County. The visiting Seahawks, who defeated Glen Burnie last week by another lopsided score of 42-0, dictated the game’s outcome with a relentless running attack.
The tone was set from the opening kickoff, when sophomore Lavon Chaney raced 40 yards, giving South River its first possession at North County’s 45-yard line. The Seahawks wasted no time in establishing their identity, handing the ball off to 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior running back Blane Kleinrichert, who pounded the Knights’ (1-1) interior defense.
Kleinrichert handled the ball on eight of his team’s first 11 plays, accounting for 26 yards and a one-yard-touchdown run with his tough inside running.
“We had a little adversity to deal with before the game because our center Jared Lamb, who’s probably our best offensive lineman, had toe surgery yesterday so we came without a center,” said Seahawks’ interim coach Mitch Suplee, who’s filling in for suspended head coach Steve Erxleben for the team’s first three games. “We had a new guy in there and had to shuffle some things around, but we blocked hard and played hard.”
The Seahawks’ defense swarmed North County’s top weapon, senior quarterback Pat Downey, throughout the game. Downey, who showed flashes of his potential with some outstanding passes, spent most of the game trying to elude South River’s pressure. Some of his passes, which were thrown with accuracy and zip, could not be handled by his receiving corps.
South River’s defensive secondary made their own contribution to Downey’s struggles, providing excellent coverage that left the Knights aerial attack ineffective. Sophomores Jordan Kneisley and Matt Leach each snagged first half interceptions for South River.
Kneisley’s grab set up senior quarterback Shane Lee’s 24-yard completion to Chaney and the signal caller’s subsequent sneak up the middle for the game’s second score. Kleinrichert’s second touchdown plunge of the first half effectively put the game out of reach with 7 minutes, 14 seconds left in the second quarter.
Lee’s 50-yard touchdown dash with 5:05 left in the first half put South River ahead 28-0, before Downey answered with a pretty 10-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver John Hall that got North County on the board. It proved to be their lone highlight of the game.
Senior running back Kyle Dunn handled the Seahawks rushing load in the second half, piling up 78 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries. Kleinrichert notched his third touchdown of the game with a 13-yard scamper in the third quarter.
“We want to be able to throw the ball a little bit and have a balanced offense, but we pride ourselves on our running game,” said Suplee. “We’ve got a stable of good backs and linemen that we’ve had for the last three years. Our thing is, we want to wear people down and wear them out.”
SR-Kleinrichert 1 run (Davis kick)
SR-Lee 50 run (Davis kick)
NC-Hall 10 pass from Downey (O’Neil kick)
SR-Kleinrichert (Davis kick)