Quarterback Nick Elko threw four touchdown passes to tie the state public school season record of 38, but it was the Arundel defense that sparkled even more last night as the No. 4 Wildcats won their first regional title in 24 years.
Host Arundel won the Class 4A East crown with a 49-20 victory over defending regional champion No. 6 Broadneck at John Puglise Stadium in Gambrills last night.
With linebacker Arinze Obiako - the Wildcats' best defensive player, according to coach Chuck Markiewicz - out because he was ejected last week and was suspended for one game, linebacker Michael Inyang stepped up.
Inyang intercepted two passes and returned a fumble 54 yards for a touchdown to give the Wildcats a 27-14 lead. It came on the heels of an Elko to Alec Lemon 92-yard touchdown pass in a third period that saw the Wildcats score 27 points and break the game open.
Trevor Washington and Alex Ball also had interceptions and Ben Hutchinson recorded a safety.
"It was all of us working together to make this happen," Inyang said. "We practiced hard and studied our scouting reports. We knew their tendencies and that's why we knew what we were doing on every play."
The win was Markiewicz's 150th victory.
The Wildcats (12-0) will play today's Parkdale-Suitland winner (Class 4A South) in next weekend's state semifinals.
If Suitland wins - and it defeated Parkdale, 20-12, earlier this season - Arundel will be at Suitland next Saturday.
If Parkdale upsets Suitland, Arundel could have a home game Friday night.
Elko completed 24 of 39 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns to tie Joe Haden of Friendly (2006) and Westminster's Kevin Clancy (2005) for the public school season record of 38 touchdown passes.
Brandon Johnson-Farrell had two touchdowns to give him an Anne Arundel County season-record 18 touchdown catches.
In winning their first regional title since 1983, the Wildcats set a school record for most wins in a season, breaking the 1979 record of 11.
It was the second trip to Arundel this season for Broadneck (9-3).
The two met in the season opener Sept. 7, with the Wildcats prevailing 34-28 on Elko's fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 36-yard completion to Johnson-Farrell with 2:06 remaining.