Arundel, Broadneck football meeting has postseason implications

Something's got to give in undefeated AA football showdown between Arundel, Broadneck.

When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Arundel

Coaches: Rob Harris, Broadneck; Chuck Markiewicz, Arundel

Last meeting: Broadneck won, 37-18, last year

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

Broadneck: QB Canaan Gebele, Sr.; WR Alec Ruden, Sr.; RB Bill Watts, Sr.; WR Roy Toomer, Sr.; C Andre Brown, Sr.; LB Ali'i Niumatalolo, Jr.; LB Jake Skinner, Sr.; SS Tay Harmon, Sr.; SS Will Schwob, Sr.; CB Emmett Davis, Jr.

Arundel: QB Anthony Messenger, Sr.; LB Diondre Wallace, Sr.; WR Isaiah Watson, Sr.; RB Larry Barnes, Jr.; DB Victor Mack, Sr.; DB Andrew Cassard, Jr.; DL Blake Silver, Jr.; OL Aaron Jackson, Sr.; OL Andrew Eagle, Sr.; C Jordan Brownstein, Sr.

KEYS TO VICTORY

The Wildcats and Bruins are the last two undefeated teams in Anne Arundel County and are winning by an average of more than 30 points.

Since both teams feature strong passing games — they can run the ball, too — and neither gives up many points, both coaches said one or two plays could decide the game.

Arundel has scored 323 points, more than any team in the Baltimore area. While averaging 46 points per game, the Wildcats, who are much better known for their offense than their defense, allow just 8.6. The Bruins aren't far behind, averaging 42 points and giving up 10.4.

Both teams are centered around strong senior quarterbacks. Messenger has thrown for 1,630 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 117 of 167 passes. He has also run 47 times for 172 yards and six touchdowns. Gebele has thrown for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns while completing 91 of 149 passes and has run 54 times for 324 yards and four touchdowns.

Arundel's top receiver, Watson, has 34 receptions for 427 yards and eight touchdowns while top rusher Barnes has averaged 10.3 yards per carry, running 72 times for 730 yards and 13 touchdowns.

For the Bruins, Ruden has 27 catches for 496 yards and nine touchdowns and has caught a touchdown pass in each of the past five games. Watts, who averages 6.3 yards per carry, has run 77 times for 488 yards and four touchdowns.

Passing defense will be critical on both sides. Although they've practiced against their own potent offenses, neither team has faced a passing team like the other this fall.

"We have to play good, sound football, take care of the ball and have no turnovers," said Harris, whose Bruins have split their last four meetings with Arundel.

"Both teams match up very well. I like our team a lot and when I watch their team, I like them a lot. We're very similar offensively. The teams are built around the quarterback but have a very good running back. On defense, the teams are built around big, strong linebackers. It's going to come down to who takes care of the ball."

With only three games left in the regular season and a hot race to secure one of four berths in the Class 4A East region playoffs, the game will have a playoff edge. Last season, Meade won the region and Arundel, Broadneck and Old Mill earned the other three playoff berths, but North Point has crashed the Anne Arundel County party this fall and, at 6-1, likely will earn one of the four spots, leaving one of the Anne Arundel teams out.

"I don't know what's going to happen because somebody with two losses is going to be out," said Markiewicz, whose team has beaten Old Mill but still has to play Meade.

While the Wildcats and Bruins are undefeated, Meade is 6-1 and Old Mill is 5-2. Old Mill held on to the possibility of a playoff berth by beating Meade after falling to Arundel and Broadneck in the first two weeks of the season.

Broadneck plays Meade next week and Arundel plays Meade in the season finale.

"What we tell our kids is you've got to win two of the last three games," Harris said. "If you win two of the last three games, you're in the playoffs and if you go undefeated, you're going to have the home field advantage for the whole playoffs."

The same goes for Arundel.

Note: The Ravens have donated pink wristbands and shoelaces for players on both teams in a show of support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the field will be adorned with banners and goal-post wraps from the NFL's A Crucial Catch. Poe will sport a pink ribbon and Zeta Tau Alpha will hand out pink ribbons.

OTHER GAMES TO WATCH

No. 7 St. Frances at No. 1 McDonogh, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 14 Milford Mill at No. 5 Franklin, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 9 Howard at Hammond, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 12 River Hill at Oakland Mills, Friday, 7 p.m.

No. 3 Gilman at No. 4 Mount Saint Joseph, Saturday, 2 p.m.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

twitter.com/kdunnsun

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
28°