Opening week wasn't a good one for Anne Arundel County football teams, including defending 4A state champion North County.
County teams went 6-6 overall against outside opposition with the public schools 4-5, and the private schools 2-1.
North County was among the five public schools beaten by outside foes. The Knights lost, 58-29 (most points ever given up by the Knights), to Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George's County and chances for redemption this week may be slim with powerful Crossland paying a visit to Ferndale tonight.
Crossland buried Parkdale of Prince George's, 40-0, in its opener and is ranked No. 5 in The Washington Post poll. North County, a 14-9 loser to Crossland last fall, fell from No. 2 to No. 9 in The Baltimore Sun poll this week.
North County coach Chuck Markiewicz said going into the season, "We can't afford to aim for improvement only because with the teams we start off with in Roosevelt and Crossland, we could be 0-2 if we're not ready to play. Losing the first two makes it pretty tough to make the playoffs.
"We're not playing any Mervos or Carvers. It [going 0-2] would mean going undefeated in the county and that's not easy to do."
North County starts seven juniors on both sides of the ball. The offense, led by first-year senior quarterback Maurice Bowie, scored enough to win despite seven turnovers. Bowie passed for more than 300 yards, but the Knights' rushing game was nonexistent.
The Knights' defensive unit yielded more than 400 yards and seven touchdowns rushing. It needs to get better in a hurry because Dennis Sowell ran for 115 yards and three touchdowns in Crossland's opener.
Arundel, a county tri-champion with North County and Severna Park last year, has emerged as the team to beat in the 4A League. The Wildcats, a 28-14 winner over North County in the regular season last year, but a 39-15 loser to the Knights in the playoffs, have a host of returnees, including All-County linebacker John Norsworthy.
The Baltimore Sun's 12th-ranked Wildcats opened with a 40-20 romp over Bowie and visit Northern in Calvert County tonight. Northern, behind Cee Harris' three touchdowns, opened with a 30-20 victory at Severna Park despite two touchdowns, including a 97-yard kick return, by the Falcons' Craig Cohen.
Severna Park travels to Carroll County to face Westminster (1-0). A Severna Park victory would be the 200th in school history and place coach Andy Borland in a tie for third place with the late Jerry Mears (Arundel and Meade) in career wins (129).
Glen Burnie and Meade, two other 4A schools that opened with " wins, are in position to be 2-0 after tonight. The Gophers, a 26-7 winner over Queen Anne's, visit Class 3A Broadneck.
The Bruins were ripped by Old Mill, 46-9, for the Pats' first season-opening triumph in five years. With quarterback Chuck Manns leading the way with 114 yards, Old Mill rolled up nearly 300 yards rushing. Glen Burnie's strength is rushing and that is bad news for the Bruins.
Old Mill will be hard-pressed to make it two in a row, playing host to a very good Calvert (1-0) team.
Considered the sleeper in the county's 4A race, Meade opened with an 18-16 win over Laurel, a team that buried the Stangs, 35-0, a year ago. Meade should make it two in a row at home tonight against Mervo (0-1).
Chesapeake is a fourth county 4A team hoping to go to 2-0, in a visit to 2A South River. The Cougars opened with a 23-0 triumph over Southern of Baltimore. South River was hammered by Lackey of Charles County, 38-0.
Annapolis should do an about-face at home tonight against Carver, a 6-0 overtime winner over Northern-Baltimore. The Bears will not be nearly as potent as top-ranked Mount St. Joseph, which dominated the Panthers, 32-0 last week.
Class 2A Northeast, which opened with a 35-0 loss to Atholton, completes tonight's nine-game slate by playing host to St. Paul's (1-0) of Baltimore County.
St. Mary's (1-0) visits Spalding (1-1) tomorrow.