Arundel finishes year perfect Beats Meade, 36-22, to put mark at 10-0

November 11, 1995|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The mere presence of Bill Zucco on the sidelines wasn't the only vestige of Arundel's glory years in Anne Arundel County football evident at Meade last night.

Traces of Arundel's golden era in football during the mid to late '70s were everywhere as fourth-ranked Arundel (10-0, 7-0) defeated Meade, 36-22, to become the 10th county team to finish the regular season unbeaten and the third in Wildcats history.

"It feels great to go 10-0, " said Arundel coach Zucco. "And Lipton is smooth as silk."

Junior quarterback Erik Lipton completed six of 12 passes in the first half for three touchdowns and 147 yards and defensive stalwarts, linebacker John Norsworthy and defensive back Mike McKnight, chipped in with touchdowns to give the Wildcats a 34-8 halftime lead.

After sharing the county 4A title with state champion North County last season, the Wildcats won it outright last night and also claimed the Jerry Mears Trophy.

The trophy goes to the winner of the annual Arundel-Meade season finale and the Wildcats have won the last four in a row to lead the series, 12-7.

It was just like old times for current coach Zucco, who was an assistant or JV coach when Arundel won Anne Arundel's first state football championship in 1975 (9-2) under the late Mears and followed with unbeaten regular seasons in 1978 and 1979.

Zucco has been at the Gambrills school for nearly 30 years but did not become head football coach until four years ago at age 51 when Buddy Hepfer resigned after 15 seasons.

After a 3-7 "rookie" season, Zucco (27-14, .658) led the Wildcats to their first winning season (6-4) since 1985 his second year and last season (8-3) into the playoffs for the first time since '85.

Last night's victory virtually assured the Wildcats of the top seed and home field in next weekend's 4A state quarterfinals. Meade is likely to be the opponent as the No. 8 seed.

"Going 10-0 is the hardest thing to do, and we worked hard to do it," said Lipton (9-for-16, 163 yards) who set school records for yards passing (1,814) and touchdowns (18). The signal caller has completed 103 of 166 passes (.620) and been intercepted only five times, once last night (Stanley Walker).

It was an interception by the Wildcats' Jamie Doffermyre on Meade's first possession that opened the flood gates. Doffermyre fumbled on his return and Norsworthy picked it up and raced 53 yards to a touchdown.

Meade fumbled the ensuing kickoff with the Cats' Adam Berlew recovering at the Meade 37. Lipton's first pass completion of the night on a third and nine went for a 36-yard score to Joe Parker (three receptions, 109 yards).

After Hubert Barnes recovered a fumble on a punt return for the Mustangs at the Arundel 22, Meade went in for its initial score in six plays with Roman Harrison plunging over from the 1. Malwan Johnson's loft to Elijah Thurmon made it a 14-8 game at the end of the first period.

Lipton didn't waste any time in starting the second period with a 66-yard pass down the sideline to Parker for six more points.

Arundel took control of the game by striking for two more touchdowns in the final 60 seconds of the first half with a perfectly executed 8-yard screen pass from Lipton to Gene Collins and McKnight's eighth interception of the season for six.

McKnight picked off Johnson's second down pass in front of the Meade bench and raced 42 yards for a touchdown with about 20 seconds left before the break.

Johnson scored on a 4-yard run in the third period for Meade and Harrison closed his team's scoring with his school record 19th touchdown on an 8-yard burst with 9:42 left in the game.

Harrison led all ball carriers with 109 yards on 24 carries to also set school season records for yards rushing (1,562) and total points scored (122).

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