MILLERSVILLE, Md. - Old Mill only suffered one loss last season; a loss that came at the worst time.
The Patriots cruised through the regular season at 10-0 and captured the Anne Arundel County championship before losing to Arundel 25-22 in the opening round of the Class 4A East playoffs. Arundel’s game-winning score came on a late touchdown pass with about a minute remaining.
That loss proved to be an eye-opening experience for Old Mill’s players returning this season. They learned very quickly not to take anything for granted and are determined to ensure their season doesn’t end in similar fashion this season.
“I can’t describe the feeling we had after that loss to Arundel ,” said Old Mill senior quarterback Brady Ludwig. “It was great to go undefeated in the regular season, but I would definitely sacrifice a couple of those wins for a chance to play for a state title.”
Old Mill, a perennial playoff contender which has qualified for the postseason 15 years in a row, appears poised for that streak to continue with more than 30 players returning from last year’s squad. This includes senior linebacker Noah Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald, who is set to play college football at Fordham, was a freshman on the junior varsity team when Old Mill won its last Class 4A state title in 2011. He said he got to practice with the varsity during their playoff run and saw what it took to make it to M&T Bank Stadium where the championship games are played.
Fitzgerald said he wants nothing more than to end his high school career in similar fashion.
“We went into the playoffs last year feeling cocky and really big-headed,” Fitzgerald said. “We got humbled in a hurry. We have the physical talent to win a state title, but we have to remain mentally tough as well.”
Old Mill head coach Chad McCormick said the Patriots have taken a lot from their losses in the playoffs the last two seasons. But, he admits getting back to the top of the Maryland football hierarchy in 2014 won’t be easy.
The Patriots open the season Sept. 5 at home vs. Broadneck , followed by games at Arundel and then home vs. Meade . Each team qualified for the postseason in 2013 with Meade winning the 4A East region crown for the second year in a row.
“Our schedule to start the season will be our biggest challenge,” said McCormick, in his fourth year at the helm. “We will know where we are as a program very early in the season. Any one on those teams has the ability to win the county title and go deep into the playoffs. For us, our challenge begins Week 1 vs. Broadneck .”
- Sept. 5 vs. Broadneck, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 12 at Arundel, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 19 vs. Meade (10-3), 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 26 at South River, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 2 vs. Annapolis, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 11 vs. Northeast (2-8), 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 17 at Glen Burnie (1-9), 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 24 vs. Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 31 at North County (1-9), 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 7 at Severna Park (5-5), 6:30 p.m.