South River (3-2) at Chesapeake-AA (5-0)
When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Coaches: Edward Dolch, South River; Rob Elliott, Chesapeake
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH
South River: OL-DL Ka’Ron Lewis, Sr.; RB Joe Foy, Sr.; RB Nate Carbaugh, Sr.; QB David Foust, Jr.; RB-LB Nasir Franklin-Branch, Jr.; WR-DB Sean Leonard, Jr.; RB-S Delvin Johnson, So.
Chesapeake: QB Dylan Young, Sr; WR-CB Russell Tongue, Sr.; DL Cody Carpenter, Sr.; K-P-WR Colton Spangler, Sr.; LB Andrew Colangelo, Sr.; RB-LB Khalil Gary, Sr.: DL AJ Richardson, Sr.
KEYS TO VICTORY
Chesapeake is off to the first 5-0 start in program history. Not only have the Cougars given up the fewest points in Anne Arundel County this season but they also lead the county in scoring margin.
Last week, they rolled over Lansdowne, 49-20, as Young threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
With Young under center, the Cougars have moved from primarily a running team to winning with his arm. He leads the county with 1,021 yards passing. He’s thrown for 10 touchdowns without an interception.
“They’re coming in undefeated, so they’re going to be a confident bunch,” Dolch said. “They’re going to continue to play at a high level, so we have to bring the best version of ourselves over there.”
South River bounced back last week from back-to-back losses to No. 13 Arundel and Annapolis by beating Severna Park, which had upset Old Mill the previous week. Foy sparked the victory with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Leonard had two interceptions.
The Seahawks gave up 104 points in their two losses, and Dolch said they’re aiming for more consistency. They have a lot of versatile playmakers, especially in Foy and Johnson, who can run the ball or play slot, while Carbaugh is a more physical player at fullback.
Last season, South River came away with a 28-9 win over Chesapeake as the Seahawks doubled their total scoring output in 2017 from the previous year.
Elliott said the key to stopping the Seahawks is containing Foy, a tailback with 534 yards and six touchdowns on 89 carries.
“Offensively they’re really talented. You can’t key on one spot,” Elliott said. “We know Foy is the focal point. To have a shot against them, you have to contain him. I don’t know if anyone can stop him, but you’ve got to contain him… But the quarterback’s a pretty good thrower and they’v’e got receivers who can catch the ball. With their offensive line, and Ka’Ron, they’re a physical team.”
The Seahawks and the Cougars have played two common opponents this fall and beaten both. South River beat Glen Burnie, 40-0, and Severna Park, 23-14, while Chesapeake defeated Glen Burnie, 14-0, and Severna Park, 21-10.
The Cougars have been steadily rising under eighth-year coach Elliott, who led them to the playoffs for the first time in program history three years ago and had them back in the Class 3A East regionals last fall.
As one of only two unbeaten teams in Anne Arundel County, along with No. 4 Broadneck which they do not play, the Cougars are headed into the toughest stretch of their season with Old Mill and Arundel coming up in the next two weeks.
They’ve allowed just 36 points and they’re winning by an average of 25.2 points per game.
“Everybody’s talking about the offensive numbers, but really the biggest thing is our defense,” Elliot said. “The first unit defense has given up two touchdowns in five games and that’s kind of being overlooked because we’ve had a kick off run back against us and we’ve had a fumble that was run back for a touchdown and they get thrown into the numbers, but our defense has played outstanding.”
The Cougars have also been strong on special teams, especially with one of the Baltimore-area’s best kickers in Spangler, a second-team All-Metro selection last season.
“They have some pretty talented kids,” Dolch said of the Cougars. “Rob does a great job and they run a lot of personnel packages and formations, so it makes preparation difficult and then in-game, we have to be very aware of what packages they’re bringing on and off the field, so we can get the right calls in and be in position to be successful.”
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
» St. Mary’s at Archbishop Curley, Friday, 4 p.m.
» Old Mill at No. 4 Broadneck, Friday, 6:30 p.m.
» No. 14 Howard at Long Reach, Friday, 7 p.m.