Eighth-seeded Meade stunned top-seeded Arundel, 14-7, on two Malwan Johnson touchdown passes in the final 2:38 in a state Class 4A quarterfinal in Gambrills last night.
It was third-ranked Arundel's first loss after 10 wins.
Willie Thomas hauled in the game-winner, a wobbly "Hail Mary" ** pass down the sideline with 1:10 remaining. Arundel defensive back Brian Bayne appeared to be in position to intercept the pass, but slipped and fell as Thomas went up around midfield and gathered it in.
There was no one left to catch Thomas, who raced the rest of the way as Damion Moss had on an 88-yard hook-up with the Mustangs' sophomore quarterback with 2:38 left. Johnson's attempted conversion pass was batted away by Bayne to keep the home team in front by 7-6.
Meade forced Arundel to punt on its next possession and took over at its own 16 to set up the game-winner on first down. The Mustangs stayed in the game despite over 100 yards in penalties thanks to its defense containing Arundel's high-powered offense that had been averaging over 30 points a game.
The Mustangs will visit Gaithersburg, a 22-7 winner over Eleanor Roosevelt, next weekend.
A week ago, the Mustangs (8-3) suffered a 36-22 loss to the Wildcats (10-1). It was Meade's fourth straight loss to Arundel, the last Mustangs victory by 12-7 in 1991.
"This feels great to win a big game like this and we did because our kids did the job defensively," said Meade coach Jerry Hartman, whose team was 1-9 a year ago.
"We didn't do anything differently except that we executed. We contained Lipton, kept him in the pocket and didn't let him outside. It was our goal to make him throw out of the pocket."
Erik Lipton, Arundel's junior quarterback, came into the game with over 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns passing and was only 7-for-20 for 78 yards, just 3-for-10 for 24 yards in the second half.
"We threw the ball too much, but that's what got us here," said Arundel coach Bill Zucco. "Give them credit."
Lipton had only been intercepted four times before being picked off three times last night -- twice by Thomas and once by Moss (county-leading 11th).
"Our defensive line did a great job keeping Lipton in the pocket and we were focused, studied a lot of film this week," said Meade linebacker Wilson Rodriguez.
Arundel's only score came on its second possession of the first half. A 39-yard burst by Curtis Hance and Mark Gregory's kick made it 7-0.
Arundel won the Anne Arundel County and 4A East Region titles as the 10th Anne Arundel team in 35 years to go unbeaten in the regular season.
This is the second straight season the Wildcats have lost in the quarterfinals to a team it defeated in the regular season.