Tonight's Game

December 07, 2007|By PAT O'MALLEY

What -- Class 4A state final

Matchup -- No. 4 Arundel (13-0) vs. Quince Orchard (13-0)

Site -- M&T Bank Stadium

Time -- 7

TV -- CN8

How they got here -- Arundel: def. North County, 34-29; def. Broadneck, 49-20; def. Suitland, 14-13. Quince Orchard: def. Walt Whitman, 42-6; def. Sherwood, 25-13; def. Thomas Johnson, 24-7.

State titles -- Arundel 1 (1975), Quince Orchard 1 (1991).

Arundel offense vs. Quince Orchard defense -- The Cougars from Montgomery County and their 4-4 defense will be going against the no-huddle spread for the first time as nearly all teams do when they face the Wildcats. The no-huddle can create havoc because defenses don't have a chance to make personnel changes. When a play ends, QB Nick Elko has his team at the line of scrimmage immediately. Quince Orchard has been true to form defensively in the postseason, giving up 8.7 points per game. The Cougars have allowed 8.9 points per game over 13 games (three shutouts). Arundel has scored 32.3 points per game in its three playoff wins and 33.9 over 13 games. The big factor will be how Elko, who has been sacked only three times, and the Cats' interior line handle the pressure they likely will get from the Cougars' four Division I prospects on a defensive front that averages 244 pounds.

Quince Orchard offense vs. Arundel defense -- The Wildcats' 3-5-3 defense will be tested by the Cougars' run-first spread offense that has averaged 30.3 points in the playoffs and 33.5 over 13 games. Speedy RB Thomas Addison Jr. runs behind a couple of linemen in the 290- to 300-pound range and has gained 1,390 yards and scored 18 TDs. The Cats' defense has given up 20.7 points per game in the postseason and 15.3 points per game in all games with no shutouts, but it played exceptionally well in upsetting defending 4A state champion Suitland, 14-13, in the state semifinals, ending the Rams' 25-game winning streak. Arundel's defense needs to carry it over one more game. Quince Orchard also can throw the ball with QB Jaron Morrison (1,142 yards, 14 TDs), who missed the semifinals with an ankle injury but will be back for the final. The Cougars will look to maintain possession and keep Elko off the field as much as possible.

Special teams -- The two teams are about even in place-kicking with Elko kicking four field goals to the Cougars' three by Amine Dakkouni. Elko has a 38 yards-per-punt average, while his counterpart, Joey Barkanic, has an average of 32.5 yards. Arundel appears to have the edge in returns with Brandon Johnson-Farrell, who has run two kickoffs and a punt back for TDs, but Quince Orchard has punted only 18 times as opposed to 46 by Arundel. That means fewer chances for Johnson-Farrell to go long distance.

The Sun's pick -- Quince Orchard, 27-14

PAT O'MALLEY

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