When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Coaches: Chuck Markiewicz, Arundel; Chad McCormick, Old Mill
Last meeting: Old Mill won, 47-10, last season
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH
Arundel: QB Jack Gordon, Sr. (55-for-74 passing, 1,008 yards, 17 TDs, 1 INT); QB Cooper Hibbs, Sr. (33-for-50 passing, 517 yards, 5 TDs); RB Matt Davis, Sr. (56 carries, 413 yards, 5 TDs; 1 receiving TD); WR Tyler Young, Sr. (26 catches, 393 yards, 5 TDs); WR Dillon Tighe, Sr. (16 catches, 189 yards, 3 TDs); Aaron Lewis-Cenales, Sr. (14 catches, 380 yards, 6 TDs); WR Devon Hawkins, Sr. (7 catches, 68 yards, 4 TDs)
Old Mill: QB Brady Ludwig, Soph. (25-for-44 passing, 431 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 1 rushing TD); RB Shawn Brown, Jr. (52 carries, 297 yards, 6 TDs; 4 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD); RB Raykwon Young, Sr. (23 carries, 182 yards, 1 TD; 7 catches, 116 yards, 2 TDs); WR Carl Chance, Sr. (10 catches, 337 yards, 4 TDs); LB Zebbie Atkinson, Sr. (42 tackles, 4 sacks); LB Donovan Franklin, Soph. (31 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 fumble rec., 1 INT, 1 blocked punt ret. for TD); DB Marcus Hicks, Jr. (24 tackles, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble rec. for TD, 3 INT)
KEYS TO VICTORY
When Old Mill and Arundel get together, there aren't many secrets — especially about the offense.
The Patriots run. The Wildcats pass.
Last season, the Patriots stifled Arundel's passing game en route to a lopsided victory, and they went on to win their second Class 4A state title in three years. Unbeaten since the 2010 playoffs, the Patriots have won 19 straight games, the Baltimore area's longest active streak.
This fall, the Patriots have reloaded their running back corps after graduating Rob Chesson, who set a state record for rushing touchdowns. Now, they call on a handful of players to make the big plays, and they also put the ball in the air a little more.
"They're very tailback oriented," Markiewicz said. "They have a young quarterback and he doesn't throw the ball much, but he's pretty accurate, so we have to be mindful of that. If you pay too much attention to the run, they can go to play action. In this game, one or two big plays could make a difference."
Markiewicz said another key will be special teams.
"Field position is going to make a big difference," he said. "People are saying, 'OK, you've played against all spread teams and now you're playing a power team, and how are you going to do that?' I think our kids are excited about that. They're tired of hearing we can't stop power football teams."
Before last season, the Wildcats won five straight Anne Arundel County titles. They've won four of the last six regular-season meetings between the two schools. Old Mill, however, has won 10 of the last 15 meetings, including all four in the regional playoffs.
This fall, both have been winning by significant margins. Arundel's average margin of victory is 41 points. The Patriots are winning by an average of 28 points. Arundel's first-team defense has allowed only two touchdowns, while the Patriots have allowed a total of six.
In the Wildcats' spread offense, Gordon and Hibbs share quarterback duties and together, they complete about 75 percent of their passes.
"They're always going to be real efficient with their passing," McCormick said. "We need to get pressure on the quarterback, which was something we were able to do last year. If we get pressure on the quarterback, it could be a good night for us. If we don't, they're very good at their timing. We're going to dial up some different defensive packages and rush him."
Last week, the Patriots faced another passing team in Meade. Although Mustangs quarterback Tyree Turner threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns against Old Mill, the Patriots won 28-18.
"It was really good to have that type of matchup before going into Arundel," McCormick said. "When you play Meade, they have four or five receivers, so it lets you get out there, and it's a good opportunity to prepare for a team like Arundel."
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
No. 8 Dunbar vs. No. 13 Edmondson at Poly, Friday, 7
No. 10 Mount Hebron at No. 3 River Hill, Friday, 7
Milford Mill at No. 7 Franklin, Friday, 7
C. Milton Wright at Fallston, Friday, 7
No. 2 Calvert Hall at No. 9 Mount St. Joseph, Saturday, 2 p.m.
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