Arundel coach Bill Zucco went over after the game to give Northern's Cee Harris a big hug, but his arms weren't long enough to hug own his entire, inexperienced defense.
The No. 9 Wildcats (1-1) had just taken their home opener over Northern of Calvert County, 32-12, in a game a lot closer than the score indicated.
Arundel's "new" defense, led by middle linebacker Jimmy Lazzaro, held the sensational Harris to only one score while the Erik Lipton-to-Joe Parker combination got it done offensively.
Lipton ran four yards to ice the game with 3: 01 left and completed 12 of 19 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Parker caught all three touchdown passes (20, 23 and 40 yards) and had eight receptions for 124 yards.
The final touchdown pass came on the third period's final play to give the Wildcats some space after Northern had closed to 18-12.
It was typical night for Lipton and Parker, but maybe not for Zucco's young defense.
Harris, a 5-foot-6 junior tailback as quick as they come at this level, ran for 157 yards on 21 carries, including a 53-yard touchdown to start the second half thatput the visiting Patriots back in the game at 18-6.
When Northern quarterback Nick Ferguson plunged a yard with 4: 12 left in the third period to make it 18-12, there was serious concern for Arundel.
The touchdown breakaway by Harris was what Zucco feared going in, and though his Wildcats gave up that touchdown and the yardage to Harris, they managed to contain him until they could put the game away.
"I think he'll be as good a running back we'll see all year long," said Zucco. "We were definitely keying on him, and he still got that 157 yards. He's going to get a lot of yardage on a lot of people."
Harris had three touchdowns and 180 yards rushing in a season-opening 21-18 victory over Severna Park, but the Cats' rebuilt defensive unit -- nine of last year's starters replaced -- was up to it last night in Gambrills.
"We still have a long way to go, and they're learning a new defense," said Zucco, whose Cats opened up with a 34-18 loss at Caesar Rodney in Delaware. "Once we get comfortable, we'll be OK, but we're still very, very inexperienced on defense."
Lazzaro was in on at least a dozen tackles and had a sack on a first-half blitz. As fullback, he also gaining 80 yards on 12 carries.
Other Wildcat defensive contributors included defensive tackles Anthony Dennis and Brandon Rath, and defensive backs Ron Soroka and Charles Durand.
Pub Date: 9/13/96