Gritty, hard-nosed defense combined with a big-play offense helped visiting Arundel shock No. 6 North County, 20-14, in an Anne Arundel County 4A football game.
Wildcats fullback Kevin Dotson dived up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown run to break a 14-14 tie with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter.
The run capped a seven-play, 3:55 drive, which included a
16-yard run by junior running back Vince Fauntleroy and a 23-yard catch by senior end Jaime Stoddard.
"This is the biggest win of my coaching career," said Wildcats third-year coach Bill Zucco. "The kids never gave up. We played good, solid defense, and we made the big plays on offense when we needed to."
Arundel's defensive success was due to its coverage of Knights receiver Teon Carter. The senior caught seven passes (five in the first half), but gained only 59 yards on the catches. Arundel also had five sacks.
With North County (4-1) driving deep into Arundel (3-2) territory, defensive back Chris Turner came up with one of the biggest plays of the night when he picked off a Justin Rice pass at his 5 and returned it 40 yards.
After a return by Carter brought North County to midfield, the hosts could muster only one completion -- a 7-yarder to Carter.
Carter put the Knights on top 2 1/2 minutes into the game on a 58-yard punt return. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder caught Casey Trout's punt on the dead run, made an inside move, then quickly ducked outside to the left sideline. Casey Trout grabbed nothing but air after Carter's head-and-shoulder fake at the 15-yard line. Rice's extra point was wide left.
Two plays later, Arundel burned the hosts' secondary on a 64-yard bomb from Pat Cilento to Trout. Turner's extra-point kick put the Wildcats on top, 7-6.
North County jumped back on top with 1:38 left in the first period, using a three-minute, seven-play, 50-yard drive.
Carter scored his second touchdown, going up among several defenders on a 10-yard grab. Rice then hit Mike Drocella with the two-point conversion.
The Arundel defense came up big early in the second period when Tony Costanzo recovered a Kevin Mitchell fumble at the Knights 42.
On fourth-and-seven from the 40, the Wildcats caught North County off guard when Trout hit Jeff Hedrick from punt formation on a 40-yard touchdown pass. Turner's second extra-point kick tied it at 14.