Arundel faces second straight date with Meade in 4A playoffs


The rematch is on for 7 p.m. Friday in Gambrills.

No. 4 Arundel (10-0), the 10th Anne Arundel County team to finish unbeaten in the regular season since 1960, will play host to Meade (7-3) in the quarterfinals of the 4A state football playoffs.

The county and East Region champion Wildcats earned the top seed in the eight-team field with a 36-22 win over Meade on Friday. Meade took the eighth seed and will make its first playoff appearance since 1987.

Arundel built a near-insurmountable 34-8 halftime lead to set up the rematch that doesn't have coach Bill Zucco worried.

"A lot of people say it's not good to have to beat somebody again, but we feel we can beat them again," said Zucco, whose team lost in last year's quarterfinals to state champion North County.

"If I lost 36-22, I would have doubts going in, but we're home and the kids are focused. We would rather have played somebody outside the county, but you have to beat somebody.

"I've been hearing all that stuff about how good their secondary is, but we had guys open all night."

Zucco also said that Meade "didn't quit," and that is what his counterpart is banking on.

"We have not played well recently [Meade lost, 21-0, to North County week before], but we have to build on our second-half effort against Arundel," said Meade coach Jerry Hartman whose team was 1-9 a year ago. "We're kind of excited about it [being in playoffs]."

Arundel's junior quarterback Erik Lipton, who set school records for yards passing (1,814) and touchdowns (18) said the Wildcats "will approach it as a new game and not be overconfident.

"We've come too far not to be ready."

Unbeaten leftovers

The 1967 Glen Burnie football team, one of 10 county teams to go undefeated (10-0) in the regular season since 1960, survived its final game by 7-6 over Annapolis on a last-second touchdown pass from Ned Spilker to Ray Burke.

Also, on that Joe Papetti-coached Gopher powerhouse were late state trooper Ted Wolfe and county councilman Ed DeGrange.

Winter is coming

Believe it or not, winter sports practices start Wednesday and here are some boys basketball dates to mark on your calendars.

On Dec. 15 Tommy Polley and Dunbar visit Annapolis for an 8 p.m. tip-off and the next day at 7:30 p.m. Patrick Ngongba and Calvert Hall come calling at Broadneck.

Dunbar at Annapolis will be preceded by a Panther Alumni game at 6 p.m. with former standouts Barry Booth, Kevin Thompson and Tim Brown serving as captains who will choose sides for the intrasquad game.

"Anyone who buys a ticket to our first four home games will receive first preference to the alumni-Dunbar night, and we expect a sellout," said Annapolis coach John Brady.

A county first?

County old-timers can not remember when two county girls basketball players signed for scholarships to the same national power as Arundel's Chavonne Hammond and Severna Park's Jennifer Holmes did with Vanderbilt earlier this week.

Doesn't it say something for the quality of the county's high school program and such summer teams as the Chesapeake Hurricanes who travel to national tournaments where players get invaluable exposure?

Hot irons on the links

Coach Cal Peterson's Anne Arundel Community College golf team served notice this fall of their intention to contend for a national championship in the spring by setting a school record.

Led by Severna Park grad Ryan Thompson's 71 on the par 70 course at Bowie Country Club, the Pioneers shot a 297 against Salisbury State University a couple weeks ago for the lowest score in AACC golf history.

"It's the first time I ever had to throw out a 70 score [77] because it was too high to count in the team score," said Peterson. "This is the most impressive group of golfers I have had the opportunity to coach.

"Of the 10 participants who took part in fall practice everyone has the potential to shoot in the '70s. I'm anxious to continue this spring with our quest for a national title."

Belichick comes home

It's too bad that the late Annapolis football coach Al Laramore is not around for the homecoming of Baltimore Browns coach Bill Belichick. Belichick was a lineman for Laramore in the late '60s.

Belichick became head coach of the Browns in 1991, the year Annapolis High dedicated its football field to Laramore. He could not attend the Sept. 6 ceremony, but in a heartfelt letter read that night, credited Laramore for helping to shape his career.

"Al was instrumental in teaching me what through thick and thin was all about and for that I owe him a great deal," wrote Belichick, who added that Laramore provided "a tremendous learning experience at a very delicate age."

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