Arundel football coach Chuck Markiewicz told his team before the season that if they could walk away with a 2-1 record after facing defending Class 4A state champion Old Mill, Severna Park and Broadneck, they would be in great shape.
After blowing out their first two opponents with a combined 82 points scored, the Wildcats found themselves in a dogfight with the Bruins on Thursday night.
In a sloppy game played in the rain, No. 2 Arundel held off No. 5 Broadneck late for a 10-6 victory in Anne Arundel County action to remain unbeaten on the young season.
The Bruins’ defense showed why it may be the best in Anne Arundel County, keeping the Wildcats out of the end zone on offense.
“We’ve played pretty well in the last two weeks but Broadneck is very formidable,” said Arundel head coach Chuck Markiewicz. “They had a good plan; [Bruins linebackers Nick Ochoa and Va’a Niumatalolo] gave us fits for a while.”
“We just didn’t play very well. We got into a funk and never recovered,” Markiewicz added.
The difference in the game came within the first 14 seconds. The Bruins won the opening toss but deferred to the second half, kicking the ball off instead to the Wildcats.
After fielding the kick, Arundel’s Tyler Young handed the ball off to Cory Covington. With his back turned to the oncoming Broadneck special teams, Covington handed it off to junior wide receiver Gary Cropper on a misdirection. (Click here for video replay of kick return)
Cropper took the ball down the left sideline and raced 80 yards for the score, giving Arundel a lead it came close to but never lost.
“I wasn’t expecting anything big, maybe just a couple of yards,” said Cropper of his game changing runback. “I wasn’t expecting a touchdown but then that hole opened. It felt good.”
“That was huge,” said Arundel running back Joe Blackwell, who rushed for 164 yards on 17 carries. “We didn’t score an offensive touchdown all game. That’s the first time that has happened in four or five years. I wasn’t even around the last time that happened.
But Gary Cropper, a junior, took that big one back for us and it set the tone. [Broadneck] was shocked a little bit.”
Arundel (3-0) quarterback Nick Rosati, who had thrown seven touchdowns to zero interceptions in the first two games, admitted that he had trouble with the wet ball. He finished 10 of 24 passing for 72 yards and two interceptions.
At the end of the first quarter, Broadneck (2-1) returner Domenick Johnson brought a punt back 65-yards, giving the Bruins great field position at the Arundel 19-yard line.
After three unsuccessful attempts to reach the end zone, the Bruins brought out kicker Adam Greene to attempt a 34-yard field goal. The Wildcats blocked it and kept Broadneck scoreless to take a 7-0 lead into halftime.
Late in the third, Ryan Terribile picked off a Rosati pass to set up Broadneck’s only scoring drive.
With 11:31 remaining, fullback Ronald Van Meter (23 carries, 88 yards) scored on a one-yard dive up the middle but the extra point was no good, leaving Arundel with a 7-6 advantage.
Wildcats kicker Wade Korvin made 24-yard field goal in the fourth to add to Arundel’s lead, making it 10-6 with just over six minutes remaining.
The Bruins had two more scoring opportunities late in the contest but quarterback James Mullis threw interceptions on consecutive drives to Michael Partilla and Jon Haskett, the latter coming in the end zone with 1:28 left in the game, ending Broadneck’s upset big.
“I am extremely pleased with how our kids played,” said Broadneck head coach Jeff Herrick. “They played with a lot of heart, did everything possible and layed it all on the line. We made some mistakes but high school kids are going to make mistakes. They played their butts off tonight I think.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS TO SEE GAME HIGHLIGHTS
|No. 2 Arundel 10, No. 5 Broadneck 6|
|ARN-Cropper 80 kick ret. (Korvin kick) – 11:46|
|BRD-Van Meter 1 run (kick failed) – 11:30|
|ARN-Korvin 24 FG – 6:17|