The final week of regular football season is here, with No. 9 Meade, No. 10 North County, South River and Broadneck the only Anne Arundel teams still alive for postseason.
Games at 7 tonight
Coming off its 40-21 rout of then No. 1-ranked North County, Meade's Mustangs travel to archrival Arundel. Meade (7-2, 6-0) could clinch a playoff berth, possibly win the Class 4A East Region and win the 4A County League title outright with a victory.
Immediately after last week's North County win, Mustangs coach Jerry Hartman told his players: "It's over. Forget about it. We have to win next week."
The host Wildcats (6-3, 4-2), whose playoff hopes were dashed in a 14-7 loss to Severna Park in a driving rainstorm, will be nasty. Meade, after all, spoiled Arundel's 1995 season.
After becoming only the 10th county in 35 years to go undefeated in regular season with victory No. 10 by 36-22 over Meade, the Wildcats then lost to the Mustangs, 14-7, in the last 2: 38 of the Class 4A quarterfinals.
Coach Bill Zucco's Wildcats would like nothing better than to win the Jerry Mears Cup, named after the late Arundel and Meade coach, that goes to the winner. They would also ruin Meade's season. Meade got into the playoffs with a 7-3 record last season, but 7-3 is not going to cut it in the Class 4A playoffs this year.
Meade is ninth in the state points rankings, but a win over Arundel should give Meade enough points to nose out Dulaney and Perry Hall for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Of course, if Meade wins and North County is upset by Broadneck, the Mustangs would take the region and automatically qualify (four region champs advance, followed by the next four teams per playoff point averages).
An additional game in postseason would give Meade junior running back Tornardo Sharps a shot at the Mustangs' school record for rushing yards in a season -- unless Sharps duplicates last week's effort against North County.
Sharps ran for five touchdowns and 243 yards to run his season total to 1,428 yards, 248 shy of the school record 1,676 set by Roman Harrison in 12 games last season.
North County (8-1, 6-1) clinches the East region with a victory over stumbling Class 3A Broadneck (6-3, lost two in a row) in Ferndale. The Knights could also gain a share of the Class 4A league title if Meade loses to Arundel.
"If we lose to Broadneck and Meade wins, we could be out, " said North County coach Chuck Markiewicz.
The Knights are fourth in the playoff picture, but don't stand to gain a lot of bonus points, and it appears they would be edged by either Dulaney or Perry Hall for the eighth spot. But if both North County and Meade lose, the Knights take the region.
North County's passing combo of Mike Evans to Corey Wright can add to record-setting seasons. Evans can top his state season records for yards passing (2,564) and completions (198), and break the state mark for TD passes (28) he shares with four others.
The Knights' quarterback has 317 passing attempts and needs only 21 attempts to snap the state record (337) set by North County's Johnny Ray in 1990.
Wright, who has a state-leading 74 receptions for 909 yards, needs only two catches to break the state season record (75) set by Jason Smith of Broadneck in 1993 and one more touchdown grab to snap the state mark (12) he shares with Smith and Poly's Martin Prosper (1994).
Wright is 211 yards short of the county record (1,120) owned by North County's Lou Brown (1994) and 233 shy of the state mark (1,142) set by Kenwood's Joe Gray in 1992.
Wright has 125 career catches for 1,631 yards.
Broadneck is not even in the top 12 among teams vying for a Class 3A playoff berth.
South River (6-3, 1-1) is 11th in the Class 2A rankings and has a remote shot at postseason if it wins at home over Southern (3-6, 1-1). The winner of this game will share the 3A-2A League title with Northeast (5-4, 2-1).
St. Mary's (7-2, 2-1) takes its first No. 1 ranking in football into Anne Arundel Community College vs. Calvert Hall (2-6, 0-2). A Saints victory, coupled with a Loyola (4-3, 2-0) loss in one of its final two games (St. Joe and Hall), would give St. Mary's a share of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown.
7:30 game tonight
Host Severna Park (5-4, 4-2) and Annapolis (4-5, 2-4) renew the county's oldest rivalry at George Roberts Field. This will be the 37th year and 38th time they've played.
Severna Park has won the last three to even the series at 17-17-3.
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Pub Date: 11/08/96