Commentary

Arundel on target for title in 2009?

Updated: November 12, 2009, 10:19 AM ET
By Mike Loveday & Sheldon Shealer | ESPN RISE

With each passing week, Arundel is setting - well - more passing records.

Playoff Coverage

MDVarsity.com covers all four classifications from the pre-snap to the post game press conference for the 2009 maryland high school playoffs.

The Wildcats offensive juggernaut rolls into the Class 4A East playoffs after averaging a staggering 49.2 points per game in Anne Arundel County League play. Kansas State-bound quarterback Billy Cosh is within 800 yards of the state's public school all-time passing record. Receiver R.J. Harris already holds the mark for receiving touchdowns, and is closing in on three additional records.

Arundel faces Annapolis in the Class 4A East region semifinals in what appears to be the most intriguing group of playoff teams. Opposite Arundel and Annapolis is a match-up between North Point and Old Mill. Arundel and North Point are the only undefeated teams remaining in Class 4A, and only one team from this group will make the state semifinals. If North Point and Arundel win this week, it sets up a showdown between the Wildcats' offense and North Point's defense, which has allowed only 50 points this year.

Most Dangerous No. 3 Seed: Suitland. The Rams are riding a nine-game win streak, which includes a one-point win over first-round opponent Flowers. Suitland has won three of the last five region titles, and twice they did so as the underdog in the seedings.

Most Dangerous No. 4 Seed: Thomas Johnson. The Patriots are catching top-seeded Urbana while the Hawks are reeling from a two-game losing streak. Thomas Johnson narrowly lost the first meeting between the teams 10-7.

Tough Break: Broadneck. The Bruins now hold the distinction as the first program with 15 regular-season wins over two years since 2003, yet not make the playoffs.

West

4. Springbrook (7-3) at No. 1 Sherwood (8-2)
Details: Friday at Sherwood, 7 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Sherwood won, 33-13
Springbrook Playoff History: 21-6 in 11 playoff appearances. Springbrook won state titles in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1988 and 1989 under current Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy. After Milloy's departure from Springbrook, this one-time state power vanished from the scene and is making only its second playoff appearance since 1994. The program's most recent playoff game was in 2003.
Sherwood Playoff History: 24-11 in 14 playoff appearances. Sherwood is the Class 4A defending state champion. The program also had state titles in 1995 and 1996, under the coaching of Milloy. Al Thomas, who resigned as head coach after last season, guided Sherwood back into state prominence during the 200s, and the program is making the playoffs for the fifth straight season. During that time, Sherwood has never lost a first-round matchup.
Game Notes: On paper it would appear this game would be won on the ground -- Springbrook's Devon Pestano and Sherwood's Cyrus Britt are both 1,000-yard rushers. But, when these two teams met in Week 9, it was Sherwood quarterback A.J. Pignone who was the difference maker. Pignone threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-13 win. Springbrook receiver Mitchell Pollard had 116 yards and two touchdowns receiving in the loss. Springbrook is coming off a big win over Paint Branch while Sherwood is coming off a loss to Quince Orchard. Pestano has 1,131 yards and 20 touchdowns. Britt has 1,102 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

No. 3 Paint Branch (8-2) at No. 2 Walt Whitman (8-2)
Details: Friday at Walt Whitman, 7 p.m.

Tracy Martin
Mike Loveday Tracy Martin is a dual-threat quarterback for Paint Branch.
Most Recent Meeting: 1998, Paint Branch won, 21-18
Paint Branch Playoff History: 3-5 in six playoff appearances. Paint Branch won a state title in 1975, beating Howard to end that program's 47-game win streak. Paint Brach is making its first playoff appearance since 2000.
Walt Whitman Playoff History: 1-4 in four playoff appearances. A school more knowfor soccer than football, Whitman is beginning to change that perception. The Wildcats are in the playoffs for the second straight year. The team's only playoff win came in 1978.
Game Notes: It has been nine years since Paint Branch has been in the playoffs and while Whitman has more recent postseason experience, Paint Branch has been building toward this game since Mike Nesmith took over as head coach three years ago. Nesmith has several players, Tracy Martin, Ivan Tagoe, Torian Henderson, that have played together for the last three years. Martin is a dual-threat at quarterback, throwing for 868 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushing for 450 yards and four touchdowns. Tagoe is Martin's main target, making 38 catches for 591 yards and 11 touchdowns. On the ground, Nesmith will rely on the senior Henderson (351 yards) and sophomore Bene't Willis (872 yards, 12 touchdowns). Whitman has a more traditional quarterback in junior Henry Kuhn who has thrown for 1,358 yards and 11 touchdowns. Kuhn had one of his best games of the season against Quince Orchard, throwing for 216 yards and three touchdowns. Kevin Cecala anchors the Vikings running game, rushing for 850 yards and nine touchdowns.

North

No. 4 Thomas Johnson (6-4) at No. 1 Urbana (8-2)
Details: Saturday at Urbana, 1 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Urbana won, 10-7
Thomas Johnson Playoff History: 8-8 in nine playoff appearances. The Patriots won its only state title in 1982 with Lynn Carr as coach. Carr is now the state's director of football. Thomas Johnson is making its fourth straight playoff appearance.
Urbana Playoff History: 16-6 in 10 playoff appearances. Urbana is making its 10th playoff appearance in 11 years. The Hawks won state titles its first four years in the postseason (1998-2001) to set a state record, but since that time has a 4-6 postseason record. Urbana is making its first Class 4A playoff appearance this year.
Game Notes: At this point in the season you can probably toss out Urbana's 10-7 win over Thomas Johnson in Week 6. Urbana has lost two straight games and Thomas Johnson, while having won its last game of the year has lost three of its last five. It looks as thought the Patriots will be without one of its best players after Jeremy Grove was injured in the Linganore game and could be done for the year. That bodes well for an Urbana defense that has allowed seven or fewer points in six games this season. For Thomas Johnson, cutting down on penalties could be the difference maker in the rematch. In the Week 6 loss, the Patriots had 113 yards in penalties. Looking at the résumé's for each team, Urbana has wins over two playoff teams: Lackey and Thomas Johnson. The Patriots have wins over Century, Middletown and Tuscarora.

No. 3 Patterson (8-2) at No. 2 Woodlawn (8-2)
Details: Friday at Woodlawn, 7 p.m.

[+] EnlargeKeith Brown
Mike Loveday for ESPN RISE Keith Brown and Suitland are riding a nine-game winning streak heading into the playoffs.
Most Recent Meeting: 2000 region final, Woodlawn won, 20-14
Patterson Playoff History: 4-10 in 10 playoff appearances. Patterson, under coach Roger Wrenn, made the playoffs 10 of the first 13 years it was an MPSSAA member. The program is making its first playoff appearance since 2005. Patterson's best playoff showing is three state semifinal finishes.
Woodlawn Playoff History: 4-12 in 12 playoff appearances. Woodlawn is making its first playoff appearance since 2003. The program's best playoff showing was a state runner-up finish in 1977.
Game Notes: Woodlawn's only losses of the season are to Franklin and Hereford and hold wins over New Town, Perry Hall and Archbishop Curley this season. Coach Mark Agent, who was able to leave an 0-10 job at Owings Mills two years ago, finds himself coaching a perennial playoff contender. Patterson made its name this season with a 37-20 victory over three-time defending 1A champions Dunbar and an overtime win over City College.

South

No. 4 Eleanor Roosevelt (6-4) at No. 1 Wise (9-1)
Details: Saturday at Wise, 1 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Wise won, 6-0
Eleanor Roosevelt Playoff History: 9-9 in 10 playoff appearances. The Raiders are making its sixth playoff appearance in the past seven years, missing only 2007 when it was forced to forfeit nearly half of its victories. Roosevelt has lost in the region semifinals in its past four postseason appearances, and has not won a playoff game since 2003.
Wise Playoff History: 2-1 in one appearance. Wise postseason debut came last year and the team stunned then undefeated Roosevelt on the way to the state semifinals.
Game Notes: It may be a down year for Eleanor Roosevelt who lost more games on the field since they finished 7-4 in 2005, but do not expect Wise to look beyond the Raiders. In fact, the Raiders are looking to avenge the 14-6 double overtime loss to Wise when they were the No. 1 seed last season. Wise is an improved team over the one that reached the 4A semifinals last season. Former Oxon Hill head coach Kevin Wolfolk took over as defensive coordinator and the Pumas set an MPSSAA record with eight straight shutouts this season, including a 6-0 win over the Raiders in Week 4. University of Maryland commits Rashaan Moore and Titus Till leads the defense. Roosevelt will look toward running back Richard Aiyegoro who has rushed for 619 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. ER lost four games to forfeit in 2007

No. 3 Suitland (9-1) at No. 2 Flowers (9-1)
Details: Saturday at Flowers, 1 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Suitland won, 21-20
Suitland Playoff History: 14-8 in 10 playoff appearances. The Rams are making their eighth straight playoff appearance. It's basically been feast or famine in the postseason during that run. Four times the Rams lost its opener, the other three times it has come away with two state titles (2004 and 2006) and a state semifinal showing. This will be the first time Suitland has made the playoffs under a coach other than Nick Lynch, who passed away following the 2008 season.
Flowers Playoff History: 5-5 in five playoff appearances. Five times Flowers has made the playoffs, five times it has finished as the region runner-up (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008).
Game Notes: Flowers is riding a four-game winning streak which includes a 14-12 victory over Wise last week. The Jaguars only loss of the season was a 21-20 overtime defeat to Suitland during Week 6. Flowers head coach Mike Mayo will have, as usual, a three-headed running attack led by senior Reginald Woods (806 yards, 11 touchdowns). John Clark (746, seven touchdowns) will also see carries. Suitland is dangerous with quarterback Devontae Lindsey (1,402 yards, 11 touchdowns) playing better as the season has progressed. The Rams are deep at running back with three players, Kevin Williams (744 yards, 9 touchdowns), Keith Brown (646, 10), Dontrewell Kelley (568, 7), all capable of breaking a game open at any time.

East

No. 4 Annapolis (8-2) at No. 1 Arundel (10-0)
Details: Friday at Arundel, 7 p.m.

[+] EnlargeBilly Cosh
Mike Loveday Cosh is first or second in nine different categories.
Most Recent Meeting: 2009, Arundel won, 38-7
Annapolis Playoff History: 6-13 in 14 playoff appearances. Annapolis is making its first postseason showing since 2002, before the most recent playoff expansion. The Panthers won a state title in 1978. Annapolis has not won a playoff game since its 2000 runner-up season.
Arundel Playoff History: 9-13 in 14 playoff appearances. The Wildcats have qualified for the playoffs every year since the postseason expansion of 2003. Arundel's best showing is a state runner-up finish in 2007.
Game Notes: Annapolis returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and are led by running back Demond Brown (1,245 yards, 14 touchdowns). The Panthers are riding a five-game winning streak since they lost to Arundel, 38-7. That's the good news. The bad news is they are playing an Arundel team that has won 20 straight games over Anne Arundel county teams. Led by Billy Cosh (2,805 yards, 49 touchdowns), the Wildcats average 49.2 points per game and have an improved defense that gives up an average of 12.3 points per game. Cosh is on pace to break his record-breaking season of last year when he threw for 56 touchdowns in 13 games. Ronnie Harris already has the public school record for most touchdown receptions in a season (24) and a career (44) and has his sights set on the state record of 29.

No. 3 Old Mill (8-2) at No. 2 North Point (10-0)
Details: Saturday at North Point, 1 p.m.
Most Recent Meeting: First meeting
Old Mill Playoff History: 4-12 in 12 playoff appearances. Old Mill has made all 12 postseason appearances in the past 20 seasons, with a 2005 state semifinal finish as its best showing. The Millers are making its 11th straight postseason appearance, yet they have won only four games during the time.
North Point Playoff History: 0-1 in one playoff appearance. North Point, a relatively new school, lost its only playoff game last year.
Game Notes: There will likely be a feeling-out period as these two programs meet for the first time. While they have never met, there is a feeling of similarity between the teams as both will rely on a steady running attack. Old Mill is led by Josh Furman and Jason Clements while North Point relies on Arlando Scott (942 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Emmanuel Onakoya (658 yards). Junior Conner Crowell leads an Eagle defense that allows an average of 4.9 points per game with 84 tackles and Anthony Zoscak leads the team with 11.5 sacks.