To a man, players on the Severna Park High School varsity football team will admit that they have not always been the most feared team in Anne Arundel County. They finished 3-7 last season and 5-5 the previous year. But this year is different. After starting 2-0, with routs over North County and Northeast, the Falcons feel that they are finally building a winning culture.
“After playing four seasons at Severna Park, I really enjoy playing with these guys,” said senior running back Colin Shadowens. “A lot of the underclassmen are amazing guys and really work hard. I think that’s a big difference too — a lot more people are putting in time during the offseason with seven-on-seven, in the weight room, and really changing the culture to more of a football school and trying to get more athletes in the program.”
That work ethic is paying off so far. Severna Park kicked off their season with a 27-6 win over North County on March 26.
They followed that with a 30-7 win over Northeast on April 1. Shadowens scored a rushing touchdown in the win and sophomore quarterback Seamus Patenaude added two touchdowns, one on the ground and one on a pass to junior receiver Colton Adams. Senior linebacker Braden Layne joined the scoring party with a pick-six.
Head coach Mike Wright praised his defense for their strong performance.
“Kaleb Blackwell put on constant pressure from the linebacker position and really forced a lot of errant turnovers,” Wright said. “Caleb Sartalamacchia had an amazing game. [Northeast] has a really dominant tight end and it was mostly Caleb’s job to take care of him.”
Wright and his offensive staff used the offseason to shift the offensive scheme to a spread system to better utilize the team’s personnel. So far, the move is paying dividends, freeing up lanes for the running backs to maneuver while also building confidence for Patenaude, a sophomore quarterback who started a few games last year.
“Seamus has matured and his arm strength has matured, as have his progressions with reading defenses,” Wright said.
Patenaude added, “Starting to run a spread offense has helped us because we are normally a power running team, we’re run heavy, and it helps us widen out and get guys out of the box.”
Shadowens also gave credit to James Henson III, who plays running back and defensive back, for playing fearlessly and making tough tackles against bigger players. Defensive coordinator Don Linnell also deserves credit.
“Coach Linnell has us prepared from week to week,” said Shadowens, who plays defensive back in addition to running back. “We all understand our jobs and what we have to do to get a win.”
On special teams, kicker Trey Smack gives the Falcons another threat with the ability to convert field goals from up to 50 yards away.
Severna Park closes its season with games against Glen Burnie on April 9 and Chesapeake on April 16. With no postseason because of COVID-19, the team has other goals.
“Going undefeated and growing the program so that we can attract more kids for the future and we can keep it a winning program,” Patenaude said of his goals.
Shadowens agreed, saying, “It would be awesome to go undefeated … this team and this unit together, for senior year, I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. The coaches keep us together, and a lot of credit for our success is due to chemistry and the will to win.”