When: Today, 6:30 p.m.
Coaches: Rob Harris, Broadneck; Rich Holzer, Meade
Last meeting: Meade won, 14-0, last year
BROADNECK: NT Landon Reecher, Sr. (48 tackles, 15.5 for a loss; 7 sacks, 1 forced fumble); LB Randy Fischer, Sr. (77 tackles, 16 for a loss; 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles); LB Mike Hildebrand, Sr. (67 tackles, 11 for a loss; 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT); OT-P Parker Jones, Sr. (24 punts, 40-yard avg.); QB Caanan Gebele, Jr. (94-for 171 passing, 1,115 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs; 82 carries, 205 yards, 7 TDs); WR Alec Ruden, Jr. (27 catches for 403 yards, 5 TDs); SR Jeremy Ross, Sr. (26 catches for 267 yards, 3 TDs); WR/CB Devon Williams, Sr. (14 carries for 174 yards, 2 TDs; 9 catches for 104 yards, 1 TD)
MEADE: RB Kyle Evans, Sr. (170 carries, 1,514 yards, 14 TDs); DE Niquekko Cook, Sr. (47 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, 1 fumble recovery); LB Robert Hogan, Sr. (41 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 2 INTs); OL-DL Jacob Hawk, Sr.; C Avery Baker, Sr.; WR David Richards, Sr. (11 catches, 302 yards, 4 TDs); QB Daryl Pate, Sr. (30-of-55 passing, 573 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs; 24 carries, 154 yards, 5 TDs), SL-RB Travis Chidebe, Jr. (28 carries, 174 yards, 3 TDs; 6 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD)
KEYS TO VICTORY
As the season winds down, the Bruins and the Mustangs are battling for playoff position in one of the hottest regional races in the state, Class 4A East. They trail Old Mill (8-0), which defeated both in the first three weeks of the season. Broadneck is second and the Mustangs are third. Leonardtown, Arundel and North Point could also have something to say about which four teams advance.
Meade's win last season secured the fourth seed for the regional playoffs. That knocked the Bruins out, while the Mustangs went on to the state semifinals. That was the first Mustangs win over Broadneck since 2001, the last time Meade made the playoffs.
Meade comes into the game with the hot offense, averaging 36.6 points per game while the Bruins have the stingy defense, allowing just 12.5 point per game. Erase the 35 points allowed to Old Mill and the Bruins have given up just 64 points in their last seven games — an average of 9.1.
"It's going to be kind of a matchup of strengths," Holzer said. "Where we're really good at running the ball, they're really good at stopping the run. Our defensive secondary and linebacking corps is excellent and they're very good at throwing the ball right now, so it's going to be interesting."
The Mustangs have undergone a few offensive changes since their starting quarterback Marcus Smith suffered a shoulder injury. That moved him to slot, with Pate taking over at quarterback, but Smith now has two sprained ankles, so his availability will be a game-time decision.
Nothing has changed about Evans, however: he leads Anne Arundel County in rushing by nearly 450 yards. Two weeks ago, in a 51-36 win at Southern, he ran 41 times for 367 yards.
"They have a very good scheme running the ball, and it doesn't hurt handing it off to arguably one of the best running backs in the state," Harris said of Evans. "He's having a phenomenal year. He's a little guy, but he's very powerful and he's extremely fast, but what separates him from other kids I've seen this year is his elusiveness. His highlights package is pretty ridiculous."
A handful of Bruins will be ready for Evans, especially Reecher, who has been dominating for the last couple of weeks. In last Friday's 37-18 win over Arundel, he had 9.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
A key matchup likely will be Reecher against Baker, Meade's center. A first-year player, Baker has solidified the offensive line, an area that was a concern early in the season, and has been key to springing Evans for big yardage.
Offensively, the Bruins have a number of receivers for Gebele to look to, but their main focus will be holding onto the ball. Last week against Arundel, Broadneck turned the ball over seven times in the third quarter. They likely won't get away with that against the Mustangs.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
Boys' Latin at No. 11 St. Paul's, Friday, 2:30 p.m.
No. 2 McDonogh at No. 8 Archbishop Spalding, Friday, 7 p.m.
North Harford at No. 15 Fallston, Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 7 River Hill at Howard, Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Milford Mill at No. 11 Perry Hall, Friday, 7 p.m.
No. 1 Gilman vs. St. Frances at Utz Field, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
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