Patuxent and Huntingtown meet in battle of unbeaten SMAC teams


Huntingtown quarterback Zach Piazza (left, shown last year against Chopticon) has thrown for nine touchdowns, one short of his career high. (Jonathan Newton/WASHINGTON POST)
October 11, 2012
Game to watch: No. 13 Patuxent (6-0) at No. 20 Huntingtown (6-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Through six weeks of the season, Patuxent has rarely been challenged.

The Panthers have beaten their opponents by an average margin of 34.3 points, and after they scored 60 on winless Great Mills last week, their dynamic attack is averaging 45.8 points per game.

“Some of the games we’ve played, you get to halftime and you don’t get a chance to work on some of the things you’re going to need for the playoffs,” Patuxent Coach Steve Crounse said. “This week is going to be the kind of game where you’re going to need every bullet in the gun to get things done.”

And so the Panthers are looking forward to Friday’s matchup against Huntingtown, a Calvert County rivalry game that will pit two of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference’s three remaining undefeated teams against each other.

Huntingtown has beaten its neighbors to the South in four consecutive seasons, including a 35-7 thrashing last season, but this season’s game should be much closer, with two more experienced teams both entering their matchup at the top of their games.

“We’re not looking at last year,” Huntingtown Coach Brendan Galligan said. “We know the 2011 team was able to beat Patuxent. We want to see what the 2012 team can do.”

Huntingtown should get a boost from the expected return of senior running back Carl Riffe, the team’s leading rusher who hasn’t played since Week 4 because of a shoulder injury. Senior quarterback Zach Piazza – a Wake Forest baseball recruit – has thrown for 629 yards and nine touchdowns, already just one short of his career high.

On the other side, Patuxent running back Rafiq Douglas (745 yards rushing, nine touchdowns) and quarterback Trey Lee (597 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns) have been among the area’s most explosive offensive duos on a prolific offense.

Both teams have handled everybody else. Now it’s about seeing what they can do against each other.

“The biggest thing is going to be dealing with adversity,” Crounse said. “Both teams are going to make plays. It’s about how you respond to that and come back.”

Around Anne Arundel

Broadneck (5-1) will get a chance to knock off one of the top teams in Anne Arundel County Friday night when it travels to Gambrills to take on No. 10 Arundel (6-0).

Since losing to Old Mill 35 -7 in its first game of the season, Broadneck has ripped off five straight wins, including back-to-back shutouts against Glen Burnie and Severna Park in late September. The Bruins have outscored opponents 117-52 in that stretch, with just two opponents scoring more than seven points.

Broadneck will face an Arundel team coming off of a 66-34 road thrashing of Old Mill last week in which Wildcats quarterback Jack Gordon threw for 371 yards and receiver Tyler Young reeled in five touchdowns and had 200 yards receiving. With four games remaining, the Bruins are the last team the Wildcats will face in the regular season that currently has a winning record.

Around Howard

Atholton will travel to Mount Hebron Friday night for a game that will determine sole possession of second place in Howard County.

Both teams will enter Friday night’s game with identical 5-1 records, with the Raiders’ lone loss of the season coming Sept. 21 against previously-winless Long Reach. Since that loss, Atholton has won two straight games, outscoring Centennial and Oakland Mills by a combined margin of 73-6.

Mount Hebron dropped its first game of the season last week, 37-0 to No. 9 River Hill, and will try to wash some of the bitter taste away Friday. Before falling to the Hawks, the Vikings had been averaging better than 32 points per game this season while allowing more than 13 points just once.

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