“It’s eerily similar to last year,” said Huntingtown Coach Brendan Galligan, a Hurricanes assistant last season. “We’ve got a lot of guys back from last year and hopefully we can learn from our mistakes. They came out and physically whooped us last year.”
Unlike last season when a few big plays helped Patuxent beat North Point, the Eagles enter Friday’s game coming off an emphatic 31-8 loss to the No. 14 Panthers in a game in which they were clearly outplayed.
Still, Friday’s game features two of the SMAC’s most physical teams, who have historically relied on power running styles.
Even though both sides say they are trying to throw more this season, expect a matchup similar to last year’s, when both teams were held well below their season averages for points and total offense.
“Their hallmark has been speed on both sides of the ball and a tough physical defense,” Galligan said. “They still have that.”
Around Anne Arundel
Two weeks ago, when his team traveled to No. 19 Arundel, Meade Coach Rich Holzer knew his team wasn’t ready to play.
Coming in undefeated with a pair of shutouts already under their belt, Holzer said the Mustangs were over-confident and unprepared after their worst week of practices all season. Meade got a stern reality check in the form of a 40-8 drubbing.
“Being a young team, what ends up happening is you get overconfident and you don’t work as hard,” Holzer said. “We actually told them as a staff that Thursday before we played Arundel, we said this is the worst week of practice we’ve had all year. You guys are not ready. We’re going to go in there and it’s not going to be pretty. We called it going into it.”
The Mustangs (3-1) will get a shot at redemption Saturday night with another road game against Anne Arundel County’s other undefeated team, No. 7 Old Mill (4-0). Holzer willingly describes the Mustangs as a “second-tier” team in the county, and he said Saturday is a chance for Meade to make a statement by beating one of the county’s traditional powers.
“To take that next step we got to beat one of those better teams,” he said. “I told the kids there’s no point in talking about anything else until we knock one of those teams off because that’s what needs to happen for us to advance.”
Old Mill has had no problems scoring points this season, putting up 96 points in its last two games alone, but Holzer said the Patriots’ run-based offense will offer more favorable matchups for his team than fast-paced, pass-heavy Arundel did. Just as important as the matchups though, Holzer said his team is prepared mentally this time, having already learned its lesson.
“Obviously no coach wants to take a loss, but I think with a young team, sometimes you need to take a butt-kicking to move forwards,” he said. “With football, eventually you are going to face adversity and hardship at some point in your career, so hopefully we’ve experienced it, learned from it, and they’ll know how to react to it from now on.”