Old Mill quarterback Grant Enders knew his defense was keeping No. 4 Arundel's no-huddle, spread offense off balance, so he needed to avoid turnovers and come up with a few big plays to pull off a win last night for Anne Arundel County supremacy.
Enders delivered with three touchdown passes, including one for 49 yards and another for 53, and the No. 11 Patriots cruised to a 34-19 victory over the host Wildcats.
Old Mill has developed big-time playmakers on both sides of the ball, and it is looking to build on last season's appearance in the Class 4A East semifinals.
"We just wanted to get up on them quick," Enders said. "We have a fast defense and we knew turnovers were going to happen. We just capitalized on offense with throwing the ball."
The visiting Patriots harassed quarterback Billy Cosh, recording four sacks and three interceptions. Old Mill's defense helped the offense get on the board when Mike Holley intercepted his second pass of the first quarter and gave the Patriots the ball on the 10-yard line. Jason Clements then found some room behind the left side of the offensive line and scampered in for the game's first score.
"We had a rough time in the beginning of the week, but we picked ourselves back up and practiced hard," Holley said. "Arundel is all about timing. We knew when the ball was coming."
The Patriots (2-0) struck again with 7:05 left in the second quarter when Enders found Devonte Sanders cutting across the middle for a 14-yard touchdown, capping a nine-play, 60-yard drive.
Arundel (1-1), which used its high-powered offense to tie a county record with 13 wins last season and advance to the Class 4A state title game before losing to Quince Orchard, finally got the board with first-year starter Cosh's 9-yard touchdown pass to Alec Lemon.
The Wildcats' special teams helped set up the next score when they forced a fumble off a punt on the opening drive of the second half and recovered on the Patriots' 20. Cosh and Lemon connected on a 20-yard pass on the next play to take the lead 13-12. However, Old Mill answered on the next drive when Enders threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gross, who got behind the secondary.
Enders wasn't finished.
He came up with another big play with a 60-yard pass to Sanders to set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Clements for a 27-19 lead with under two minutes left in the third quarter. Enders then put the game out of reach with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Sanders midway through the fourth quarter.
"We came in wanting to run the football but Arundel took that away," Old Mill coach Damian Ferragamo said. "It's great to have a guy like Enders as the back-up plan. He stepped it up big."