Tuesday, November 1, 2011


There is amazing irony in the fact that two Anne Arundel County 4A Schools, both battling for their playoff lives this weekend, did not play each other. Meade, under first year coach Rich Holzer, and South River, under first year coach Lance Cleland, who used to coach at Meade, will decide their playoff fates Friday night.

The Mustangs (6-3) host Broadneck (4-5), winners of three of its last four. South River (6-3) travels to 9-0 Old Mill. The scenario is simple.

If South River upsets the Patriots, they are in, no matter what Meade does. If South River loses, they still get in if Meade falls to the Bruins. Meade can only snare one bonus point that South River can't and they trail the Seahawks by two points. A Meade win and South River loss and the Mustangs head to the post-season.

Both teams can look back at losses to 4-5 Southern by one point each, but South River reaaly has to be kicking itself. Its loss to 2-7 Glen Burnie, 50-32, is what may keep them home. Has South River won that game, they would be assured of no worse then a tie, no matter what they did against Old Mill. The crime in all this, is that these two 4A teams never played each other and it is effecting the playoff race.

South River can vault itself into the third seed with a win over Old Mill and a North Point loss to 7-2 Westlake. Meade can be no better than the four-seed if it qualifies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Playoff Plot Thickens

Playoff time has essentially begun in Anne Arundel County. South River, Severna Park and Meade are seperated by just four points with two weeks to go.

However, Meade plays at Severna Park this week and South River plays at Old Mill to conclude the schedule which means we literally won't know until about 8pm on November 5 who will be in or out. South River travels to North County, before finishing on the road at Millersville.

The winner of Meade-Severna Park gets a huge boost with minimum of 13 points just from that game alone, and depending on other results could have the winner and South River, should it beat North County virtually even heading into the last week of play. Broadneck has picked up the pace here of late, which has given the Falcons and Seahawks some extra bonus points, with Meade due to host the Bruins in week 10. Severna Park plays vs. Northeast at Chesapeake High School, Saturday November 5 at 5pm.

If Severna Park survives this battle, Meade and South River can look back on one point losses to Southern as the reasons they don't make the playoffs. Meade opened the season with a one-point loss to the Bulldawgs, and then followed up winning at South River in week two, 25-24.

Southern is still mathematically alive in Class 2A South, but must defeat Broadneck and Arundel to conclude the year on the road.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old Mill Dazzles, while South River steps up

Old Mill High School and Arundel High School have set the standard for 4A Football in Anne Arundel County for the better part of 10 years now. They have played some memorable games, regular season shootouts, and playoff shockers.

Both schools have sent players to play football in college, with more headed that way. Last Thursday at Arundel though, left I think even the most ardent supporters of both teams speechless.

The Patriots (6-0) spotted Arundel 10 points less then four minutes in and the proceeded to score 47 unanswered points to paste the Wildcats, 47-10.

Rob Chesson was his normal self after an early fumble led to three points for the home team. He rambled 233 yard and five touchdowns, but again it was the Patriots defense which showed championship poise.

"They got one on us early, give credit to them (Arundel), but we knew what we had to do and our defense kept doing it,'' linebacker Rafael Kess said. Zebbie Atkinson paced the defense with three sacks and pressured Cooper Hibbs numerous times into early throws before his receivers came open.

Both teams have had explosive offenses through the years, but this Old Mill defense has that quality and toughness which could bring the county a championship. Some teams have one to the playoffs with one or the other, but this Old Mill team seems to have the package necessary to be a legit contender to win the whole thing.

"Our defensive guys have been outstanding. The effort they put in in practice and and play with in games has been excellent. They play really hard do what's asked of them,'' Old Mill Coach Chad McCormick said.

Meanwhile, over on Benfield Boulevard, South River traveled to Severna Park for a game with huge playoff implications. Connor Cox threw for 358 yards and five scores to lead the Seahawks to a 33-28 win. The victory gave South River a key five-point lead in the 4A East playoff Race for the fourth and final spot. Eric Young and Mike Strange combined for 12 catches for the winners.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Week six games have playoff implications

(ODENTON)- Fans will over populate Arundel High tonight to see the showdown between unbeatens, Old Mill and host Arundel, the most important game of the night will be in Severna Park.

Arundel and Old Mill will be 1-2 in the Class 4A East standings, barring a collapse, but, the final playoff spot, which looks to be a race between Severna Park and South River for now, is on display on 214 tonight.

The Falcons (4-1) lead South River by eight points in the standings. Severna Park has already beaten three-win Southern, while the Seahawks missed out, falling 25-24 in week two. The Bulldawgs stand to gain a couple more victories which will add valuable bonus points for Severna Park. It is imperative South River win tonight. A loss puts South River at 3-3 and with Severna Park having already played Old Mill, and only having Arundel ahead, South River would need some major help. A win by the home team and the race gets very interesting.

I will be at Arundel with Gridiron Review cameras, see you there.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

MIAA Showdowns highlight week 3

Archbishop Spalding certainly has the facilities to attract local athletes and its football stadium is now second to none with its huge scoreboard.

However, the one constant in its growth has been coach Mike Whittles. Whittles took over a program that at best was mediocre and has turned it into A conference material.

They will welcome McDonogh in for a prime test Friday Night at 7pm. After knocking off Mt. St. Joseph's in its first A conference game, the competition will heat up Friday Night on New Cut Road.

The greater story on Friday will be the fact that Spalding is holding a pancreatic fundraiser in conjunction with the football game. Coach Whittles has battled the disease like the champion coach he is, and thats worth as many life lessons as he can ever teach his kids about football.

Meanwhile, AACS, steps up to the B conference and local rival St. Mary's is rejuvenated and waiting. Nate Lewnes is now the latest Lewnes to tote the pill for the Saints, while former DeMatha Stag Josh McPherson is the lead man for AACS now.

It could be a quick game with this type pf potent running attack on both sides, but,wow, could you see AACS being this good this fast? Props to coach Ken Lucas and the administration.

I have to tell you, I'm not surprised, the Saints didn's miss a beat in spanking Central, the same week Coach Russell Croteau resigned, sighting health reasons. Former South River coach Steve Erxleben has taken over and don't expect any drop off from the Saints. This should be a great game.

Major kudos to Chesapeake coach Rob Elliott getting his programs first win of the year. The ran the ball down the throat of Southern, and established his program's credibility. Here's hoping there will be some more wins down 177...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Raving about Rehvon, and kudos to the Stangs

Meade's football program has had as much stability as Charlie Sheen of late. Numerous coaches this decade, good coaches who had to be replaced by archaic rules, and good players who never got the chance for consistent leadership.

Here's hoping that Meade can hang on to Rich Holzer. Coaches always say they improve the most week one to week two. As we wrote and stated on the Gridiron Review Show, there needed to be more Calvinaugh Jones so they could then throw more effectively. In week two, there was more Jones, there was better passing and Meade picked up a win. Im not sure they have enough to topple Arundel yet, but they have the ingredients, and as we know if football, a missed tackle here, a ball bouncing there is all it takes to get a signature win.

Holzer is the third  guy in three years to try an get the Mustangs galloping forward. I like what I saw from week one to week two, now he has an opportunity to really establish his program and credibility with Meade fans and players if they are competitive this week.

Having had two children graduate from Southern and attending Southern myself, I have to put that disclaimer out there. However, I also know the kids as more than just football players down there as well. Rehvon Bryan is as impressive a young man you will meet. Humble, respectful, always greets you with a handshake ad the kind of kid you want to root for. In two weeks, he has carried a young team (as many as 7 sophs starting) to two key victories against 4A Schools who will win games which means eight points for beating a 4A and bonus points down the road in one the states toughest regions in Class 2A South.

Bryan's four scores and big plays deep in Southern territory on defense helped the Bulldawgs surprise South River in the Route 2 Trophy battle, even though South River is technically on 214. I Say we call it the Chik-fil-a cup, since the Edgewater eatery does so much to help promote the game and the schools the week of the game.

Coming into this year I thought it might take this team a year to get new players acclimated, but, what you find with any program that has had some moderate success, quality coaching and stability goes a long way. Russ Meyers and Chuck Markiewicz have had the most success of any current coaches in the county. WHY? Stability. Leadership that stays in place, means system stays in place, means cosistency. Follow me?

In youth football this week, we amazingly got in close to 30 games thanks to the new safety turf fields at all the county high schools, except Northeast.

The 100-lb D2 kids from SRYA and Annapolis Boys and Girls Club got the thrill of playing at Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning as part of the Patriot Classic which featured some the regions best high school football teams. Congratulations to the parents and kids who showed up and represented the organizations with a lot of pride and enthusiasm. For the players, it hopefully will be a memory that will last a lifetime. Perhaps, one day, we will see one of the AAYFA stars playing at that stadium as we will with Demond Brown and Shelley White, who are currently enrolled at the Navy Prep School and will suit up as Midshipmen likely next season.

Will Glen Burnie win a game this year? At least one.
 What's wrong with Annapolis? Two words, Spalding, AACS.
When will Old Mill get some respect? I believe their play speaks for itself. If people don't respect this program by now, their knowledge of local football is not good.

If you have a question to be answered each week, send them to rpmedh88@aacounty.org and watch the AACO Gridiron Review weekly on Comcast CH. 98.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The more things change, the more the stay the same..

  If you have watched the first couple additions of the Gridiron review for 2011 you know I'm not afraid to express an opinion, though you will never see me attack anyone on a personal basis, it just makes no sense to do that at the prep level.

  In week one, we learned that no matter who the faces are, things stay the same for the most part. You know Arundel will just plug and playwith personel and make you use calculators to compile the numbers. Yes, that was 57 points that Arundel put up in week one. Welcome to the system Mr. Hibbs. Did you see by the way what alums, Elko (Del. State), Harris (New Hampsire) and Lemon (Syracuse) did last week? As the great Ric Flair would say, To be the man, you have to beat the man.

  Old Mill proved that a coaching change wouldn't effect their play as they defeated Broadneck at Lawrence E. Knight Stadium in Arnold. Rob Chesson carried 38 times, and the Patriots stout defense held Broadneck scoreless.

  Southern fans chirp about Southern's offense all the time. One fan Friday night told Russ Meyers "you need to run some Alabama plays, not Navy plays", I remind that fan that Navy has been to eight-straight bowl games. He has fough the urge of the fans to change an offense which best suits Southern's smaller offensive line. The Bulldawgs rode the legs of Rhevon Bryan late to defeat Meade, 15-14, at Wingate Field in Harwood. Southern, 1-0, found itself trailing 14-7, thanks to four turnovers, and a key roughing the passer penalty that got Meade out a huge hole. They never swayed from what they do best and sophmore quarterback Corey Contee kept his poise and led the Bulldawgs from behind.

 "We hung in there. Meade is a big, athletic group. The kids just played right til the end and I was happy with the way they hung in there,'' Meyers said.

  South River rode a huge second half to pull away from Chesapeake. Common sense says you better beat Teams like Meade and South River early, because the more they get comfortable with what the new coaches are asking, the better they will be. Both have some terrific talent. Calvinaugh Jones of Meade and Lavon Chaney of South River will battle with Chesson for all-county honors. Big ups to Chesapeake and new coach Rob Elliott. The Cougars were much more competitive against one of the county favorites.

  Northeast and Ken Fowler took some lumps last year, but, right out of the gate they showed great resolve in a 13-12 win over North County. They have no home field due to school construction, but the nomads of the county gridiron got a huge win to start the season.

  We knew Spalding and AACS were riding positive momentum in previous classes of the MIAA standings, but, both had successful openers, though neither was facing an A or B Conference opponent respectively.

 For those of you who don't get outside of the I-97 Corridor, beating a P.G. County powerhouse in Douglass is a great win for Mike Whittles team. You would be hard to find a guy who has been a better leader in adverse conditions then Whittles.

  AACS rode the legs of former Dematha Stag Josh McPhearson, whose brothers played at Maryland and Illinois. AACS has figured this thing out. They defeated Severn, and a good battle down the road for the B Conference is shaping up with the Eagles and St. Mary's, whose new staff and another Lewnes, defeated St. Albans.

  Week one on the youth level saw unfortunate ejections, but otherwise, an uneventful weekend. Lots of close wins and the debut of the Annapolis Boys & Girls Club in the AAYFA. Gridiron Review cameras will be out shooting highlights of Ft. Meade at GORC Friday night, and North County vs. Glen Burnie.

  Questions or comments, rpmedh88@aacounty.org.