A couple of big games highlight the first week of the public school football season.
On Friday at 6:30 p.m., No. 8 Broadneck opens at No. 7 Arundel, and No. 11 Old Mill visits unranked Severna Park, as the county's top four teams kick off.
Broadneck returns three talented offensive players in wide receiver J.J. Hicks, running back Tony Baker and quarterback Kyle Colleran.
The Bruins of coach Jeff Herrick are coming off an 11-2 season that ended with a 28-26 loss at eventual state champion Suitland of Prince George's County in the Class 4A state semifinals.
Hicks is the only returning starter in the Bruins' secondary, which will be tested by Wildcats All-County senior quarterback Nick Elko.
Elko, who threw last year for 1,814 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions in a 9-2 season, adeptly runs the no-huddle spread offense.
Elko's favorite receiver, All-County senior Brandon Johnson-Farrell, who caught 41 passes and scored 10 touchdowns last season, leads a talented receiving corps.
"Our no-huddle is definitely high-speed and puts a lot of stress on the defense," said Elko, who will be out to avenge last year's 24-13 loss at Broadneck.
Severna Park won 21-14 at Old Mill last season on the way to its fourth consecutive Class 3A playoff berth. This season, the Falcons move up to 4A and will compete with teams such as Arundel, Broadneck and Old Mill for a berth in the 4A East region.
"Old Mill is good every year ... and we're back in the 4A and it doesn't matter to me," Falcons coach J.P Hines said.
Hines expects his offense to give Old Mill's 3-5 defense, led by junior linebacker Marvin Pinkney, some problems.
"I think our offense is going to generate a pretty even pass-run," said Hines, who employs the triple-option with second-team All-County quarterback Pat Morrison. "We've got some kids at the skill positions that will enable us to have the defenses guessing."
Morrison threw for 841 yards and 10 touchdowns while running for 470 yards and nine scores.
"I think we're going to throw the ball a lot more this year because of our talent and speed," Morrison said.
Coach Vince Ferragamo, who led the Patriots to a 9-3 overall record in his first season last year, lost All-County quarterback Kelian Stevens to graduation but has confidence in junior Grant Enders.
Enders stepped in for the injured Stevens at the end of last season and played well, running the Patriots' spread offense. Senior wide-outs Drew Coates (27 receptions, three touchdowns) and Alphonse Coats (24, five) also return.
Pinkney and Joe Hall are the key linebackers for Old Mill, with Steven Jenkins, Davious Dupree, John Watts and Anthony Edwards all returning starters in the secondary.
Falcons Hall of Fame
Severna Park plans to announce its 2007 Hall of Fame inductees at halftime of its home football game versus North County that will be broadcast live Oct. 26 on WNAV (1430 AM).
The inductees are: Ed Holt, Betty Watts and Calvin Cavey (community); Lowell Moore, Jim Trzybinski and Richard Keck (coaches); Jennifer Holmes, Jennifer Steele-Fulton and Carin Peterson (female athletes); and Scott Wilkins, Ron Green and Scott Neuberger (male athletes).
Severna Park will also honor the inductees at a dinner at Chartwell Country Club on Oct. 27 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Severna Park's Brittany Lilley, an All-County selection in basketball and volleyball last year who also participates in indoor track, said basketball is her best sport, but it is volleyball that she "will probably play in college." ... Rarely do Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference baseball players make the Oriolelanders fall showcase team, but pitchers Sander Beck of Severn and Austin Poretz of St. Mary's are playing with the elite team run by Orioles scout Dean Albany.