As Old Mill running back Rob Chesson charged toward the line of scrimmage and reached for what would have been his first carry at No. 8 Arundel, the ball squirted through his hands. The senior could only watch as it caromed to the turf where a Wildcat pounced on it for a turnover.
It was about the only thing that went wrong for the Patriots on Thursday night in Gambrills. Chesson’s next 35 carries resulted in 216 yards and five touchdowns as the 16th-ranked Patriots rolled past the Wildcats, 47-10. Old Mill scored touchdowns on its next seven possessions following the miscue to ensure the showdown between Anne Arundel’s last remaining unbeaten teams ended with a mercy-rule running clock.
“It amped me up a lot,” Chesson said of his failed first attempt. “I usually don’t fumble. I’ve been keeping pretty good ball security. At that point, I’m talking to myself, ‘Man, Rob you need to get it together.’ Next thing I knew we were driving the ball down there to score.’ ”
Old Mill (6-0) shrugged off an early 10-point deficit with a near perfect execution of its game plan. The Patriots’ first touchdown capped a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive that included eight Chesson runs and two by senior fullback Seth Holbrook, and they continued to pound the ball on the ground.
Chesson, who holds scholarship offers from Buffalo and Towson, had more than 150 rushing yards and four touchdowns by halftime. Holbrook finished with 81 yards and a touchdown.
Senior quarterback Deonte Shields completed six of his 10 attempts for 149 yards and a score. The touchdown was a 23-yard strike to senior Torie Wagner with 10 seconds left in the first half that gave the Patriots a 34-10 lead.
“That’s huge for us,” Old Mill Coach Chad McCormick said. “We’ve been clicking a little bit, offensively. We struggled a little bit in the first week, but things have been moving a little better each and every week.”
Arundel (5-1) started fast when junior quarterback Cooper Hibbs hit senior Romeo Harris for a 57-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage and added a field goal after recovering the early fumble. Hibbs completed his first 10 throws and the Patriots seemed ill equipped to slow the Wildcats fast-break offense.
But after those opening four minutes, Old Mill dominated. The Patriots sacked Hibbs five times and didn’t allow the Wildcats to enter the red zone after the first quarter.
“Right now, we’re feeling pretty good,” Wagner said. “There’s definitely room for improvement, but it ’s hard to imagine feeling much better than this. This is what happens when you play together as a team and execute.”