4A East No. 3 seed
First round: 7 p.m. Friday at Old Mill
The Wildcats may be young, and they may be green, but it's tough to knock the experience of any team coached by Chuck Markiewicz, an Anne Arundel mainstay whose teams seem to stick around for the playoffs every year.
Markiewicz sometimes introduces himself as "the old coach who's seen it all," and that know-how will go a long way in compensating for his young team's inexperience. Arundel made the playoffs last season, but this year's key contributors are entirely different: Running back Jimmy Rhodes and quarterback Nick Palmer played minimal roles in last season's success. The offensive and defensive lines returned a total of two starters.
The Wildcats are both very fast and very small, which sometimes makes their ability difficult to gauge. They can run around opponents or, other times, run into them and fly backwards.
In the preseason, 30 Arundel players ran the 40-yard dash in less than 5 seconds. Wide receiver Bill Johnson, who runs it in 4.4 seconds, sometimes looks like he's running in a pinball machine: He bounces back and forth, bumping into defenders but seemingly always bouncing off of them. "It's so fun just to watch him," Markiewicz said.
But then there's this: Arundel's three most athletic players -- Johnson, Palmer and Rhodes -- all stand shorter than 5 feet 9 inches.
Their motto is simple, even trite, but the Wildcats seem to believe in it deeply: revenge.
Arundel lost to Broadneck this year in a rain-delayed blowout, and also dropped a lopsided affair to Old Mill. To advance in the playoffs, Arundel will likely have to go through those two teams -- and that's just fine with them.
The Wildcats play Old Mill in the first round and, with a win, would likely meet Broadneck, a team they've aimed at all season. Before Broadneck faced Arundel in September, Markiewicz said: "I don't want our team to get too excited. If everything goes the way we want, we'll play them again. We'll get excited at that time."
-- Eli Saslow