GAMBRILLS, Md. - Arundel enters the 2014 season knowing it can beat any team in Anne Arundel County.
The Wildcats also know they can easily lose to any of those teams. That was evident last season as Arundel lost to eventual county champion Old Mill in the regular season only to beat the Patriots on a last-minute touchdown in the opening round of the Class 4A East playoffs.
But, the opposite was true against Route 175 rival Meade . In that case, Arundel defeated the Mustangs in the regular season before Meade scored on a late two-point conversion to knock off their archrival, 22-21 in the 4A East finals.
Arundel coach Chuck Markiewicz knows the margin for error between winning and losing is small for the Wildcats, who have made the state playoffs 11 straight seasons. Still, while the program has been a consistent winner, Arundel has not won a state title since 1975 or made the championship game since 2007.
“Our goal every year is to hang around as long as possible,” Markiewicz said. “The only way you can do that is by playing your best football late in the season.”
Markiewicz said Arundel’s high-powered pass-heavy offense was hampered by injuries during the playoff push in 2013, including playing with just one healthy receiver against Meade.
“We’re just one key injury away from our season being derailed,” Markiewicz said. “Still, I feel like, when healthy, we can compete with anybody and we proved that last season.”
Arundel has nearly 20 players back from last season’s squad, including key starters on both sides of the ball. This includes quarterback Anthony Messenger, who completed 212-of-337 passes for 2,337 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Messenger said the Wildcats are ready for another postseason push in 2014, beginning Sept. 5 vs. Severna Park. With a win, Arundel will have won its season-opener for a ninth straight season.
“Meade earned that win last year,” Messenger said. “We haven’t forgotten how that felt and we hope to bounce back this season.”
Senior linebacker Diondre Wallace agrees. Wallace is a Division I prospect that recorded 89 tackles as a junior for Arundel.
“Our goal is to just be 1-0 every week,” Wallace said. “We can’t concern ourselves with anything other than the first game in front of us. If we get too far ahead of ourselves we will get beat.”
- Sept. 5 vs. Severna Park, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 12 vs. Old Mill, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 19 at North County, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 26 vs. Glen Burnie, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 2 at Northeast, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 10 at Annapolis, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 17 vs. South River, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 24 vs. Broadneck, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 31 at Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 7 at Meade, 6:30 p.m.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Anthony Messenger (QB, 5-11, 180, Sr.)
- Isaiah Watson (WR, 5-11, 200, Sr.)
- Aaren Porter (WR, 5-9 170 Sr.)
- Larry Barnes (RB, 5-9, 180, Jr.)
- Andrew Eagle (OT, 6-3, 250 OT)
- Aaron Jackson (OT, 6-3, 225, Sr.)
- Diondre Wallace (LB, 6-0 230, Sr.)
- Curtis Cropper (DT, 6-3, 245, Sr.)
- Billy Nolan (LB/DB, 5-11, 180, Sr.)
- Victor Mack (CB, 6-0, 180, Sr.)
- Andrew Cassard (CB, 5-10, 170 Sr.)