For Arundel, Old Mill football, tempo will be key


Arundel will be eager to push the pace as usual when the Wildcats visit Old Mill on Thursday night. (Jonathan Newton/Washington Post)
September 11, 2013

The NFL was abuzz Tuesday morning with praise for Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ high-octane offense. Arundel Coach Chuck Markiewicz, however, was not impressed.

“Chip Kelly’s got nothing on us,” he said. “We’ve been doing that since 1990.”

Arundel (1-0) lost several key pieces from last year’s team, including quarterback Jack Gordon and a talented receiving corps, but Markiewicz’s frenetic, no-huddle offensive philosophy remains.

For Old Mill (1-0) to avenge last year’s 32-point loss and stop the Wildcats on Thursday night in Millersville, the Patriots will first have to find a way to slow them down.

“When anybody gets tired, they can’t play 100 percent,” Markiewicz said. “You might be able to scheme, but you can’t scheme the pace. I just prefer to think that the faster you go, the better.”

Arundel had 15 penalties and five turnovers in its season-opening win against Severna Park and still scored 38 points. Old Mill Coach Chad McCormick said that the key word for Thursday night’s game is tempo.

“They’re always an extremely efficient passing team,” McCormick said. “For us, we want to try to control the tempo, keep their offense off the field and not give them many possessions.”

To that end, McCormick will likely lean on senior Marcus Hicks, a free safety who has been pressed into carries at running back because of injuries. Hicks ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries Friday night against Broadneck.

While Arundel’s offense will dictate the game, Markiewicz also praised his defense, led by junior Diondre Wallace, senior Kwame Kumah and a stout defensive line. In past years, the Wildcats have routinely attempted — and converted — plays on fourth down. But with this defense, Markiewicz said his mindset has changed.

“We’re still going to go fast,” he said, “but ‘punt’s’ not a dirty word this year.”

Mustangs, Seahawks meet after opposite openers

No. 20 Meade and South River are both 1-0 entering Thursday’s game in Edgewater, but they won their respective season-openers in completely opposite ways.

Led by running back Kyle Evans, the Mustangs seized a 20-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 23-0 win over Glen Burnie. Meantime, the Seahawks had five first-half turnovers, rallied in the second half and defeated Annapolis with a last-second field goal, 32-29.

“We just came out, first game, and didn’t execute offensively,” South River Coach Lance Clelland said. “But they play very well when they play together, and they believed that they wouldn’t lose.”

Facing a well-rounded Meade offense, the Seahawks will look to replicate their defensive performance in the second half against Annapolis. After a sloppy first half, South River limited the Panthers to 64 second-half yards, including one 62-yard touchdown run.

Panthers aiming for an upset

Annapolis has won just one game in each of the past two seasons, and the Panthers will look to match that total by upsetting Broadneck on Thursday.

After losing to South River on a field goal with four seconds left in the season-opener, Annapolis (0-1) will look to break through against the Bruins. Senior running back Charlie Wells, one of the county’s top returning rushers, finished with 157 yards and two touchdowns in the opener and will once again receive the bulk of offensive work.

Broadneck is also in search of its first win after letting a first-quarter lead slip away in the opener. The Bruins struggled to contain Old Mill’s Hicks in a 35-21 loss and they will have to do a better job with Wells, another tough running back, to win on the road Thursday.

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