A visitor to Old Mill on Friday might have encountered an unusual sight in the Anne Arundel County school. The entire varsity football team was dressed in black suits for the upcoming “funeral” against Arundel.
The Patriots were trying to bury memories of last year’s loss to the Wildcats. Behind the arm of sophomore David Marrocco, a first-time varsity starter, they accomplished their goal with a 24-14 win in Millersville.
“We got embarrassed last year and we wanted to put it to sleep,” running back Marcus Hicks said of last season’s 65-34 loss, Old Mill’s worst in 30 years to the Wildcats. “So we called this game a ‘funeral.’”
Seven of the defensive starters played in the loss last year, and that gave the Patriots (2-0) added incentive to shut down Arundel’s high-octane offense, Hicks said.
An interception from Aqeel Mooring at the Wildcats 35-yard line set Hicks up for a seven-yard run to put the Patriots up 7-0 with 3 minutes 15 secondsremaining in the first quarter.
“It felt like I helped my team out a lot,” Mooring said of the interception. “I knew I set my offense up for a good field position.”
Arundel quarterback Anthony Messenger went 8 for 17 in the first half. The Wildcats (1-1) were held scoreless in the first and down two scores after Marrocco found wide receiver Devin Salisbury for a 67-yard touchdown pass with 3:27 left in the half.
“For our defense to only allow 14 points to Arundel means it’s a good night, no matter what Arundel football team is on the field,” Coach Chad McCormick said.
Arundel moved down the field quickly to start the second half, behind three receptions from wide receiver Isaiah Watson, a handful of carries from Messenger and running back Larry Barnes. Diondre Wallace put Arundel on the board from two yards out.
Patriots running back Donovan Franklin stepped up in the third quarter to gain 40 yards after a total of -1 after the first half. Hicks’s leadership on the defensive line and ability to weave through the Wildcats defense helped Old Mill keep possession and the Patriots entered the fourth quarter up 17-6.
“Hicks really reached out there,” Mooring said. “Without Marcus we wouldn’t have that leadership on defense.”