The resurgence of Meade's football program revolves around a new coach and a 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback who transferred from Alabama and has electrified the offense.
The Mustangs won only 11 games in the past six years but opened this season with two impressive wins.
However, host Meade ran into a tough Old Mill team last night and the No. 4 Patriots showed why they are a top contender in Anne Arundel County with a 26-12 victory before an estimated 2,200.
"They are the most athletic team we've seen," Old Mill coach Damien Ferragamo said. "I can't believe they have that many athletes in one school playing football. That's a real good football team, and we are real lucky to get out of here with 'W.' "
The Mustangs outscored their previous two opponents, Franklin and Chesapeake, by a combined 89-7. Old Mill was equally impressive in its two opening wins over Severna Park, 27-7, and then-No. 4 Arundel, 34-19.
The Patriots (3-0 overall, 2-0 county) jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the opening five minutes. Grant Enders found Devante Sanders for a 35-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Enders then scored on a 1-yard run after Meade (2-1, 1-1) fumbled the ball on its 8.
Meade quarterback Ray Cotton, who has committed to Auburn, then showed in the second quarter why he is one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the nation. On the Mustangs' first scoring drive, Cotton was five of six for 93 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Brown with 9:14 left in the half. Cotton completed 16 of 26 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns.
"I'm proud of the way out kids responded. We didn't give up and we were in the game," said Meade coach Lance Clelland, an All-Metro lineman at McDonogh in 1996. "At the very end there, we make some catches, make some blocks, and it goes our way. That is what you have to remember."
However, every time the Patriots needed a big play, Enders delivered. He responded to the Mustangs' touchdown with a 21-yard scoring pass to Josh Gross, and the Patriots led 20-6 at halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, Cotton struck again with 29-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Turner with 9:11 left to cut the deficit to 20-12. Old Mill put the game away on a 14-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard run by Enders. Enders was 20 of 33 for 233 yards with two touchdown passes and two touchdown runs.
"Our defensive play was great, and it's been consistent through the first three games," Enders said. "They put us in good position to move the ball. We got guys on the outside who make big plays, and our line gives the protection. We looked good tonight."