The three fire trucks that pulled up beside Arundel’s field in the third quarter seemed a fitting image for what happened on the field Friday night.
But unlike the issue the hard-working people in the trucks addressed, there would be no putting out the fire Old Mill football kindled.
Led by veteran quarterback Myles Fulton and his arm, the Patriots unraveled a green Wildcats team on both sides of the ball for a 48-3 victory in Gambrills. The win felt especially sweet for the Patriots, who have long clashed with their crosstown rivals and haven’t always come out on top.
“There was a lot of hype around this game,” senior Tim Tripplett said. “They were talking all week; we were talking. We came out here and did our thing.”
The victory served as a much-needed reset for the Patriots (2-1) after last Friday’s defeat at the hands of Fort Hill. Old Mill coach Mike Pfisterer and his staff put the biggest focuses this week on a return to fundamentals and simply having fun. After a tough week of practice, the Patriots chose to learn from and move past those previoius mistakes.
The second blowout win of the season, after a 59-0 shutout against North County on Sept. 3, also helps to stoke Old Mill’s confidence against Anne Arundel County foes — and beyond.
“We coming for states,” Tripplett said.
Alongside Fulton and his 241 passing yards (13-for-20), Tripplett engineered the action with two interceptions and two receiving touchdowns
Arundel’s defense might have had a simpler time stuffing Old Mill on the ground to start, but it was helpless the first time Fulton took flight.
The Old Mill quarterback pedaled back, sought out an open pair of hands in the open field beyond the line of scrimmage and released.
Senior receiver Donte Craggette-Drake (5 receptions for 128 receiving yards) hauled in his catch from about 44 yards off and cleared the final five to put the Patriots up 7-0 not even three minutes into the first quarter.
Arundel did come up with an initial answer.
Wildcats’ junior running back Ahmad Taylor (19 rushes for 72 yards) took most of the early carries with modest success. After a flag bumped Arundel forward five yards and a good pass moved it another 12, Taylor took the wheel.
The 5-foot-7 junior shot out of the middle of the line, cutting Arundel’s yardage to the end-zone to seven. It gave senior kicker Clint Mills a comfortable distance to complete his 18-yard field goal.
But the momentum for Arundel was short lived.
Nine seconds before the end of the first, Tripplett swiped Arundel sophomore quarterback Gavin Kamachi’s toss from the air and charged to the end zone, eliciting a chorus of boos from the Arundel crowd and another set of points for Old Mill.
“He’s a play-maker,” Pfisterer said of Tripplett. “He’s all over the field. He had a heck of a game.”
Once again, the Wildcats could do little to pressure Fulton when he poised for the pass. He launched two soaring connections — one for 42 yards to Craggette-Drake and another 37-yarder to Tripplett — for yet another touchdown, upping the score to 21-3 moments into the second quarter.
“He’s got a great arm — he can throw the deep ball, short ball, he can run, very athletic,” Pfisterer said of Fulton. “He has it all.”
Arundel fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Patriots recovered, bringing their offense back onto the field.
“Arundel’s always had great offenses in the past. Competing with them, being able to play like we did, it’s definitely a confidence-booster,” Pfisterer said.
And though that gifted drive wouldn’t pay off, the next would: Fulton again found Tripplett for a 14-yard reception and touchdown. Arundel’s response? Two botched snaps, one that resulted in a fumble to Old Mill and directly led to another Patriots touchdown.
“It feels good,” Tripplett said, “to have your whole team hyped up on the sideline — it changes the energy of the game.”
Before the game concluded, Triplett snagged his second interception courtesy of another highlight play.
“We have a great team. We talk about just playing four quarters,” Pfisterer said, “all three phases coming together. Tonight, I felt like those guys played hard and I’m proud of them.”
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