Coming off of a 14-7 loss at Meade last week, Annapolis returned home and wanted to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time in 2010. In order for the Panthers to pull this off they would have to slow down No. 2 Arundel and its potent offense. That did not happen, as the Wildcats steamrolled their way to a 56-13 victory.
“Coming out we [Arundel] were fired up and we just took it to them [Annapolis]. My offensive line was great when I needed it to be tonight,” said senior gun slinger Nick Rosati who finished the game with 231 yards on 17-of-31 passing with five touchdowns and two interceptions.
In the first quarter Annapolis tried to hit Arundel first and stun the Wildcats as both defenses came up with big plays. On the Panthers first possession, the Wildcats forced and recovered a fumble at the Panther 39 yard line. Two plays later Annapolis’ TaJuan Watson picked off Rosati and made a 25 yard return on the interception. After forcing a three and out to the Panthers, the Wildcats blocked an Annapolis punt and set themselves up in prime field position at the Panther 24 yard line. Arundel got down to the Annapolis three yard line, but was stopped on fourth and one causing a turnover on downs.
The Panthers were unable to move from under their own goal post as they punted the ball back to Arundel. Rosati shook off the memories of his first interception of the game, as he connected with Tyler Washington on a 23 yard touchdown strike, giving the Wildcats an early lead with a five play drive that only took three minutes.
In the closing minutes of the first quarter the Wildcats were on the move again as Joseph Blackwell ripped off two big runs of 25 plus yards after the Wildcats began their drive from their own 10. Arundel rewarded Blackwell for his hard work as the senior back dove in for a one-yard touchdown run to put Arundel up by two touchdowns in the opening quarter. The Wildcats went for the knockout blow early as they called for a onside kick, but the Panthers recovered at the Arundel 35 yard line.
“At the time we were up 14-0 and the defense was playing well, so I thought it would be a good time to take a shot right there,” said Arundel coach Chuck Markiewicz.
At the start of the second quarter Annapolis was unable to take advantage of the good field position and the Arundel defense forced another punt. Arundel once again wasted no time with the football as Rosati hit Romeo Harris coming out of the backfield for a 30-yard touchdown pass as the Wildcats stretched their lead, 21-0.
Annapolis was finally able to get something going as Watson had a 52-yard punt return that placed the ball at the Arundel nine yard line. The Panthers found their way into the end zone as a three play drive was capped off by a two yard touchdown run by Keith Collins and Annapolis trailed 21-7 at halftime.
In the second half Arundel made some adjustments and finished off Annapolis as the Wildcats outscored the Panthers, 35-6. At the halfway point of the third quarter the Wildcats found themselves with a tough third and 14 attempt. Rosati and Washington made it look easy as they two hooked up for a 38 yard touchdown pass which took the wind out of the sails for the Panthers.
“I trust Nick, Nick trusts me, we have great chemistry on and off the field,” said Washington. “We are always after practice throwing the ball getting better.”
“We have worked on that play and there is a lot of trust there, I knew where he was going to be so I just put it up there,” said Rosati.
Blackwell was also a great help to the offense as he had 172 yards on 21 attempts and one touchdown.
Even though the offense had a big day for Arundel, the Wildcat defense and special teams performed well. The defense forced three turnovers, two of which were interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. The Wildcats special teams wblocked two punts and one extra point attempt.
“Our special teams is something that we practice diligently, we practice a half an hour day everyday on special teams drills, and that shows out on the field. We want to dig out those hidden yards,” said Markiewicz.
For the Panthers the schedule doesn’t get any easier as they host Anne Arundel county power Broadneck next week. The Wildcats will remain on the road as they travel to face-off against Glen Burnie.
“You can’t take any opponent lightly. We’re going to get some film work on them and do what it takes to make ourselves better,” said Rosati.