Surprising Arundel can clinch tonight


Who would have thought that Arundel would be in the running for the county Class 4A League football title at this late date?

At the same time, didn't most of us expect the Class 2A-3A league title to come down to 3A Broadneck and 2A Southern, as it will at 7:30 tonight in Cape St. Claire?

And did you know a Southern victory tonight would set a school record?

With two games left in the regular season, coach Bill Zucco's Wildcats (4-1, 5-3 overall) can claim the county title with a victory at home tonight (7:30) against Annapolis (4-1, 6-2) and at archrival Meade (2-3, 3-5) next week.

One more win would give Arundel (3-7 a year ago) its first winning campaign since 1985 (9-2). North County (5-1, 7-1) leads the county 4A League by a half-game over Annapolis and Arundel. The Baltimore Sun's No. 6 Knights play their final league game at a 2 p.m. homecoming tomorrow against Meade.

The Knights' only loss was to Arundel by 20-14, which means Arundel, by winning its final two, would be league champion by virtue of head-to-head competition.

The Wildcats are pretty much out of the eight-team Class 4A state playoffs, standing No. 13 in this week's ratings, and a victory over Annapolis tonight would virtually knock the Panthers out of postseason play. Annapolis is ninth in the ratings.

North County closes its season at Class 3A Broadneck (6-2) a week from today and is in position to win the region.

Region winners automatically qualify for the playoffs and the four teams with the next highest averages qualify. The Knights lead the East with Northern of Calvert County runner-up, Annapolis third and Arundel fourth. Northern is the eighth team overall in the playoff scheme.

If No. 11 Annapolis gets its act back together after being embarrassed, 40-6, by North County last week, the Panthers would keep their playoff hopes alive. Annapolis then would need a win at home in the final game over archrival Severna Park (2-3, 5-3).

Most football fans didn't expect Arundel to have a major role in all of this, but Coach Zuke has led them to stunning upsets of both North County and Severna Park (by 30-14).

With that in mind, do you think coach Roy Brown's Panthers, a 51-6 winner over Arundel last year, are worried about this one?

You had better believe they are because that 1992 score gives the senior-led Wildcats more incentive, not to mention a chance to win the county. What was expected to be a breather before Severna Park, is now a must win on the road for the Panthers.

In Class 2A-3A, quite a battle is set at Broadneck (6-2) where No. 7 Southern (7-1) comes calling. The winner takes the league title, and the result also has playoff ramifications.

This is the host Bruins' final game in the four-team league, and they are 2-0 while Southern is 1-0 with tonight and next week at home against South River (0-1, 2-6) left on the Dawgs' schedule.

Going by comparative scores against Northeast (0-2, 2-6), Southern's chances look very good. Broadneck struggled to nip the Eagles, 22-20, and Southern humbled Northeast, 53-0, last week.

A Southern victory tonight would be a school record eighth and virtually assure the Dawgs, who are sixth in the state 2A ratings, their first playoff berth. Southern is second in the East Region to Cambridge-South Dorchester (8-0).

It also would be only the second win over the Bruins since the two schools started playing in 1983.

Southern won seven games four times under coach Tom Tereshinsky, going 7-2 from 1964 to 1966 and 7-2-1 in 1972. Current coach Buck Gardner, who succeeded Tereshinsky in 1974 and is in his 20th season at 90-108 overall, had won six games seven times before this fall.

Gardner's Dawgs got their only win over the Bruins in 1984 by 9-6, and the two schools have not played since 1990. That was coach Jeff Herrick's second year at Broadneck and the Bruins won, 22-16.

Broadneck (6-2) stands ninth in the state 3A ratings and fourth in the East Region, led by Baltimore's Poly (8-0) and City College (8-0). Howard (7-1) is third in the East, but a Broadneck win over Southern would mean 13 points to the Bruins.

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