AACS rallies from a 20-0 halftime deficit to win MIAA C football crown

Senior wideout Joey Dixon (left) caught the winning touchdown pass from junior quarterback Ryan Idleman to cap a 21-20 comeback victory over Concordia Prep in the MIAA C Conference final on Saturday.

by Nelson Coffin

Joey Dixon said that he felt like everything was in slow motion while he waited for the 33-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Idleman, with two minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the MIAA C Conference championship football game on Saturday afternoon in Towson.

The Annapolis Area Christian School senior wideout timed his jump perfectly to high-point the ball and grasp it over the outstretched arms of a Concordia Prep defender to score what proved to be the winning touchdown in the Eagles’ taut 21-20 triumph in cold and windy conditions on the Saints’ home turf.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting for that pass all season,” Dixon said. “And it was a perfect ball. I couldn’t have asked for a better pass, because I was really well covered on the play.”

Dixon said that he and his Eagle teammates were fired up at halftime after watching the Saints celebrate like the game was already in the bag while holding a commanding 20-advantage.

“That really got our adrenaline going,” he added.

It was the second straight title for AACS under coach Mike Lynn, and a sweet one at that after falling to Concordia Prep twice during the regular season. The Eagles finished 6-3 after winning four of six in the conference.

“It was a real challenge for us,” admitted Lynn, who saw his defense torched by Saints senior running back Jhymir Pearson, who ran 17 times for 156 yards and a pair of TD’s in the first half. “But I told the kids that if they don’t quit, we won’t quit.”

Lynn also switched to a five-man front in the second half, which severely stifled Pearson’s ability to push past the 1,600-yard plateau for the season.

“He had 1,400 yards coming into the game,” Concordia Prep coach Josh Ward said after wrapping up and 8-3 season and a perfect 6-0 mark during league play. “He’s been one of the best backs in the state.”

And he was a terror in the first half, bludgeoning the Eagles time and time again.

He staked the Saints to a 13-0 lead on the ground that was widened to 20-0 midway through the second period when senior quarterback Colin Glenn found a streaking fellow senior Cam Weng streaking down the middle and delivered a strike for a 78-yard TD.

The big comeback began with a nine-minute, 19-play drive — aided by three Concordia Prep penalties — to open the third quarter that concluded with Idleman sneaking in from the 1. His pass to Dixon for the conversion points made it 20-8 with just under three minutes left in the period.

On the Eagles’ next possession, Idleman’s 51-yard screen pass to senior Sam Akinmukomi tightened the score to 20-15 to close the third quarter.

An interception by junior Jeremiah Taylor began the winning drive for AACS at its own 10.

Dixon caught a pair of passes to get it started and Idleman and Akinmukomi made key runs to keep the 90-yard sequence going.

A 21-yard completion by Idleman was a precursor to the winning score from the Saints’ 33.

“You have to give plenty of props (to AACS),” Ward said. “But I think we shot ourselves in the foot, too. It’s really hard to beat a team three times.”

(at Concordia Prep)
AACS 0 0 15 6 — 21
CONC 6 14 0 0 — 20

1st quarter
CONC-Jhymir Pearson 7 run (kick failed)

2nd quarter
CONC-Jhymir Pearson 7 run (Colin Glenn kick)
CONC-Cam Weng 78 pass from (Colin Glenn kick)

3rd quarter
AACS-Ryan Idleman 1 run (Colin Glenn pass to Joey Dixon)
AACS-Sam Akinmukomi 51 pass from Colin Glenn (Donnie Frayer kick)

4th quarter
AACS-Joey Dixon 33 pass from Ryan Idleman (pass failed)