The Meade High Mustangs took a big step forward as a program Friday night, outlasting rival Arundel High 36-28 to advance to the Class 4A East regional final.
Meade, which lost to Arundel 40-8 earlier in the year, took advantage of three big takeaways in the second half—including two interceptions near the end zone—to hand Arundel its only loss of the year.
Meade will now go on to play Old Mill for a shot at the state final four. Not bad for a team that had just one other winning season since 2001.
"For me it's just another stepping stone of where we need to be, but for the kids, it's a monkey off their back, I know that," said second-year head coach Rich Holzer. "They've been losing to them for so long. I'm happy for these kids."
Arundel and Meade played even in the first quarter, with each team scoring twice to make it 14-14. But Meade scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, helped along by a 44-yard touchdown run by Kyle Evans and a 22-yard score by Tyree Turner. Evans also threw a touchdown pass to Anthony Watkins.
Trailing 36-14 in the third quarter, Arundel responded quickly with two touchdown passes from Cooper Hibbs to Tyler Young.
Arundel kept the Meade offense in check in the second half, but hurt itself with turnovers, including two interceptions by Cooper Hibbs near the end zone.
"We couldn't cash in," Arundel head coach Chuck Markiewicz said. "If we do what we normally do, we win by two touchdowns. We threw a couple picks down there ... it happens. You have to give credit to [Meade]."
Meade sealed the win late in the fourth quarter on a fake punt play deep in Arundel territory. Ray Myers took a direct snap and converted a fourth down, allowing the Mustangs to run out the clock. It was Myers only carry of the game.
"We've run that in practice, but we wanted to do something amazing and something nobody's ever seen," Myers said. "We ran it and hoped it would work, and it did."
Meade will next face Old Mill, a 21-7 winner over South River.
Notes: Arundel's Hibbs finished 22-31 for 274 yards, but three interceptions...Arundel's Tyler Young had nine receptions for 148 yards...Kyle Evans rushed for 119 yards on 19 carries for Meade.