Patriots Have Proven They Are Team To Beat This Year

SIDELINES

October 01, 1990|By PAT O'MALLEY

By gosh, they've turned the Region IV and county 4A football league upside down! And they just might do it again before this season is over.

There they are for now, Old Mill, Arundel and Glen Burnie each with a 3-1 record atop the "black-n-blue" circuit, with Severna Park (1-2), Annapolis and Meade (1-3 each) at the bottom. Have I got that right?

Or is it all just a tease, with the same old horses not yet making their move on the rail but due to get going down the stretch?

A quick check shows that it IS right, but that doesn't mean it makes sense. I mean, really, who would have figured that Arundel, 3-7 a year ago, Glen Burnie, a .500 team at 5-5, and Old Mill, 7-3 but unable to beat the big guys, would be where they are after the first four weeks?

"I think we have to be feeling great right now, but we can't sit back and relax because we still have some tough ball games ahead," said Old Mill Patriots coach Pete Regala Friday night while savoring his first win over Annapolis since his inaugural season of 1983.

Old Mill simply dominated the Panthers 28-0 Friday night at Old Mill to establish themselves as the team to beat in the 4A race. With an extremely potent offense that features polished senior QB Eric Scott and triple threat (he runs, catches passes and can throw on the option) back William Beverly, the Pats have an equally talented if not better defense.

In fact, that Pats' defense, guided by defensive coordinator Mike Marcus, may be the best in the county right now, with three shutouts in its first four games. Only Severna Park in its 21-13 victory over Old Mill last week has scored on the Pats.

"Our defense has a lot of pride and I don't think they got embarrassed last week (at Severna Park). We just fell apart on a few plays and that's basically what it was," said Regala. "They had something to prove, that they can play football with anybody in this county, and they can."

Seems the seniors on this year's Old Mill squad have banded together to fulfill a mission -- to beat the teams they've annually lost to in their career, and ultimately win the county and a playoff berth.

"The seniors are determined, and even though we lost to Severna Park last week, we believe we are the best team in Anne Arundel county," said Beverly after rushing for 95 yards, a pair of touchdowns, completing a pass on the option and catching a couple Scott aerials while bolting out of the backfield.

"We still have a long way to go, but we are determined to stay focused, take the county and move onto the playoffs."

It will be interesting in a few weeks to see if Beverly's words prove prophetic, but certainly the way he and his mates are playing right now, it is difficult to dispute his claims.

With two of the big guys out of the way and a 1-1 mark (Severna Park and Annapolis) to show for it, Old Mill appears in good shape to roll through the rest of its schedule and win the thing. Annual contender Meade is no longer that, but rather in dire straights after losing its third game Friday in Cumberland to powerful Fort Hill by an embarrassing 52-zip.

In their first four games under new head coach Hayse Henderson, the Stangs have been outscored 76-16, with their 7-6 win over 1-3 Broadneck their highest output thus far. So, an Old Mill victory at Meade in three weeks (Oct. 19) is very likely.

There are however, two other important questions. First, are Arundel and Glen Burnie ready to take the pedestal as the so-called "big guys" with Old Mill, or will tradition hold true to form, with those guys deep sixing as they get into the meat of their schedules?

Also, will the fact that three of Old Mill's last four Class 4A games are on the road -- at Meade, Arundel and Glen Burnie -- have any bearing on the way the Pats close out the season?

In regards to the first inquisition, Arundel looks to be more solid than Glen Burnie if you consider whom each has played. With its 22-7 victory over Broadneck Friday night, as Rodney Steven tallied two more TDs to run his total to six, the Wildcats are 3-1, all three wins over 4A schools.

Glen Burnie is also 3-1, including Friday night's 17-8 win at Class 3A South River. The Gophers' other two wins have come over two winless teams in Class 2A Northeast and 4A Chesapeake, both 0-4.

Class 4A Queen Anne's dealt Glen Burnie its only loss by 14-0 the first week of the season.

So, quite obviously the Gophers have the toughest part of their schedule left beginning this Friday (Oct. 5) as Arundel comes calling at 7.30 p.m. Glen Burnie will close its season by visiting Annapolis and then, playing host to Severna Park and Old Mill the final two games.

History could repeat itself. Last year the Gophers stunned eventual Region IV winner Annapolis 11-0 to dive head first into the playoff picture with a 5-3 record, but the dream ended as fast as it started as the Gophers got hammered 33-6 by Severna Park and 34-12 by Old Mill.

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