Wildcats hang on for upset of Suitland

No. 4 Arundel 14 Suitland 13

Football state semifinals Class 4A

December 02, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun reporter

District Heights -- The last time Arundel was in a state football final was 1979, when the Wildcats lost the Class A (now 3A) championship to Seneca Valley. A fledgling coach and Arundel graduate was the defensive coordinator for coach Buddy Hepfer.

That coach was Chuck Markiewicz, who is in his 20th season as an Anne Arundel County head coach and has been at his alma mater for the past seven years.

Yesterday, Markiewicz led his No. 4 Wildcats to a 14-13 upset in a Class 4A semifinal at defending state champion Suitland (12-1).

Suitland scored on a 9-yard run by Mikeem Chavious (13 carries for 100 yards) with 4:19 left in the game to make it 14-13, but Yanni Davis missed the extra-point attempt.

However, Arundel was guilty of roughing the kicker and the Rams were given another shot at the 1 1/2 -yard line with the penalty. They went for the two-point conversion and the win but squandered it on a botched snap to quarterback Carlos Fields, who was swarmed by the Wildcats.

Arundel kept the ball the rest of the way.

"A whole lot of people don't give us a chance over here," Markiewicz said. "You get out of Anne Arundel County and people say, well you can't, you can't, and these kids were kind of tired of hearing it."

The Wildcats (13-0), who set a school record for wins and tied the county record set by Broadneck in 2003, will play Quince Orchard (13-0) of Montgomery County for the 4A state championship at 7 p.m. Friday at M&T Bank Stadium. The game will be televised on CN8. Quince Orchard defeated Thomas Johnson, 24-7, Friday night.

In ending Suitland's 25-game winning streak, which was the longest in the area, the Wildcats got two big plays from their record-setting duo of Nick Elko and Brandon Johnson-Farrell, junior Derrick Rhodes' career-best game (16 carries for 92 yards) and a superb effort from their defense.

Elko, who was 20-for-35 for 168 yards and two touchdowns, set a state public school record for touchdown passes in a season with his 39th and 40th. Johnson-Farrell (eight catches for 85 yards) set a state record for touchdown receptions with his 19th and 20th.

"We definitely reached our goal to play in the state championship," Elko said. "I'm really proud of our season, and hopefully, we can come home with it [the title]."


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