Thursday, November 15, 2007
Arundel finished the regular season 10-0 to earn its second straight top seed in the region -- and defeated North County, 30-18, in Week 3 -- but those accomplishments will matter little tomorrow night.
"We cared about [going 10-0] for about eight hours, and now it's done. We're 0-0 now just like everybody else," Arundel Coach Chuck Markiewicz said. "They know what's at stake. We were the number one seed in the region last year and lost in the first round, so that's fresh on their minds and a motivating factor."
Arundel's offense averaged 34.4 points per game this season under the guidance of quarterback Nick Elko, who threw a pair of touchdown passes and had an 84-yard scoring run in the first meeting between the teams.
Standout wide receiver-cornerback Brandon Johnson-Farrell also returned an interception for a touchdown in that game, so North County is focusing on limiting mistakes that lead to big plays.
"We don't think our game plan was that bad," Knights Coach Gary Liddick said. "It was the execution of it."
North County (6-4) moved up to grab the fourth seed in the final week of the regular season when it won and Severna Park lost. Now the Knights are taking a nothing-to-lose approach.
"We're going in with that attitude 100 percent," Liddick said. "I think everybody probably thinks we have a stake in us and are already dead. I told the kids, 'You don't need to be nervous, you don't need to worry. Just give 100 percent, leave it on the field and we'll see what happens.' "
¿ Old Mill at Broadneck, tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.: The first meeting produced one of the county's most exciting games, which was decided by J.J. Hicks's 82-yard touchdown catch from Kyle Colleran in the fourth quarter in Broadneck's 31-28 win in Week 2.
Broadneck tends to run more than it passes, but Hicks adds a playmaking dimension in the passing game that will continue to challenge Old Mill in the 4A East semifinals.
"Sometimes when there's two guys [covering Hicks] it doesn't matter," Old Mill Coach Damian Ferragamo said. "He's just so big and strong and has great hands. He's almost undefendable. Severna Park did some things to keep him in check [last week], but to do that, they had to commit someone out of the running game, so that fits right into Broadneck's philosophy. Our defense definitely has its hands full."
Broadneck's defense won't have an easy time either. Old Mill running back Jason Clements ran for 121 yards against the Bruins, and junior quarterback Grant Enders threw for 234 yards and two scores.
"We certainly realize their quarterback has blossomed," Broadneck Coach Jeff Herrick said. "We knew he was pretty good coming in, but he really earned our respect the first time this season. He was accurate and poised in the pocket."
-- JEFF NELSON