Wildcats rally past ’Stangs to end skid
Arundel scores 28 straight points in second half, halts three-game losing streak
Reports of the Arundel football team’s demise were apparently greatly exaggerated.
For confirmation, just ask No. 13 Meade, which saw its five-game win streak halted by a 42-14 loss to the visiting Wildcats, who entered Friday’s game having lost three straight games.
With the game tied at 14 at halftime, Arundel (4-3) scored 28 straight points, including back-to-back scores from Jamel Walker on a 91-yard interception return and a 25-yard return of a partially blocked punt that gave the Wildcats a 35-14 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.
“I let it all out for those boys today,” said Walker, who nearly had an interception earlier in the third quarter. “This was a big win for us. Our confidence was down, but we brought it back up today because we knew were going to execute. That’s all we talked about in practice.”
Besides Walker’s heroics — which included catching the blocked punt in the air before weaving his way into the end zone — Arundel’s normally pass-happy offense was paced by running back Darius Hunter, who rushed for 172 yards and scored a rushing and receiving touchdown as well as 2-point conversion.
“Coming into this game, we were going to pound the ball,” Hunter said. “Their inside is pretty weak. I just went out there and got the job done. I just want to be a guy to depend on really.”
The Mustangs (5-2) aided Arundel’s dominant second half with several penalties, including a handful of unsportsmanlike-conduct calls that continued drives for the Wildcats or ended drives for Meade.
“I’m speechless,” Mustangs coach Albert Jones said. “It was one of those days when the kids were mentally off. Some people let emotions get the best of them and it hurts the team when that happens. The season’s not over. We just lost a round. The season is a 14-round heavyweight fight.”
Arundel opened the game’s scoring on a 5-yard quarterback keeper by Ryan Sedgwick with 3:06 left in the first quarter as the Wildcats dominated time of possession and field position in the fast-paced opening 12 minutes.
Meade trimmed the deficit to 7-6 on its next possession when Elijah Smith charged in from 2 yards out on a fake end around less than a minute into the second quarter to cap a nine-play, 53-yard drive. The extra-point kick failed.
Hunter continued the back-and-forth first-half affair with a 6-yard scoring run up the middle for a 14-6 advantage with 7:29 left in the half. Hunter helped fuel the 72-yard drive with a 22-yard burst up the middle from near midfield.
“We have a chance to make into the playoffs,” Hunter said. “We got the job done.”
Both offenses floundered on their next possessions before the Mustangs scored with 21 seconds remaining in the second quarter on a 9-yard run up the middle by Londell Montgomery.
Meade appeared to be settling for an extra-point kick, but after a timeout by Arundel, the Mustangs tied score at 14 on a 2-point run by Smith on a quarterback keeper.
It was all Arundel in the second half, starting with Sedgwick’s 6-yard strike to Cole.
Walker jumped a sideline route by Meade and returned the interception 91 yards for a 27-14 lead with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
“I know I let my team down [when he missed the first interception], so I had to come back and get it back,” Walker said.