Arundel quarterback Billy Cosh put up his customary numbers, but it was the Wildcats' "new wrinkle" -- a running game -- that helped state No. 5 Arundel hold off No. 18 Old Mill 34-27 in a season-opening battle of state-ranked teams Friday night in Millersville.
Cosh completed 29 of 45 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns, but Arundel also amassed 254 rushing yards, thanks mostly to recent transfer Joseph Blackwell, on 45 carries to outscore the explosive Patriots.
Arundel took the lead less than a minute into the game and never trailed, but the outcome was still in doubt until Cosh connected with R.J. Harris on a 49-yard pass play on a third-and-8 with 98 seconds left. The play gave the Wildcats a first down at Old Mill's 17 and allowed the team to run out the clock.
The game was every bit the shootout that the final score indicates. Old Mill and Arundel combined for 1,007 offensive yards and an additional 264 special teams yards.
KEY PLAY: It's no surprise Cosh was involved in the key play of the game, but this time it was his feet that provided the highlight instead of his arm. Cosh's 21-yard run midway through the third quarter moved the ball to the Old Mill 24 and three plays later Blackwell scored on a 13-yard run putting the Wildcats' in the lead for good at 20-13. The drive proved pivotal because Old Mill had just run off three straight scoring drives (a touchdown and two field goals) to tie the game at 13. Arundel's seven-play, 79-yard scoring drive answered the call less than two minutes after Old Mill had scored.
SIMPLY EXPLOSIVE: The stat line for Old Mill senior standout Josh Furman was quite impressive: 219 yards on 13 carries. Yet, 122 of those yards came on two plays – 36- and 86-yard touchdown runs. Furman was rather quite as Old Mill fell into a 13-0 deficit, before his 86-yard score jumpstarted a 13-point scoring run that allowed Old Mill to tie the game early in the third quarter.
THEY SAID IT: Arundel's game-turning drive was an eye-opening 79-yard, seven-play series … all runs … that put the team ahead for good at 20-13. When asked the last time a one of his teams strung together seven straight runs, 23-year head coaching veteran Chuck Markiewicz paused and then said, "I don't know … maybe never."
Last year, Old Mill defeated Arundel early in the season and both went on to the playoffs. Both teams begin this year with Top 20 state rankings and lofty expectations. "I told our team before the game that a good team is going to lose tonight," Old Mill coach Damian Ferragamo said. "Unfortunately, it was us."
WORKHORSE: Blackwell settled in quite nicely with his new team, rushing for 174 yards and a touchdown and catching five passes for 83 yards and three scores for Arundel. Blackwell, a junior, transferred to Arundel from Archbishop Spalding this fall. Blackwell's presence gives Arundel more of ground threat. In fact, Blackwell and Cosh combined for 44 of the team's 45 rushes.
OTHER STAT STARS: Harris had 13 catches for 204 yards for Arundel. … Jason Clements finished with 143 yards on 24 carries for Old Mill.
A REAL KICK: Old Mill place-kicker Brad Cummings wasn't about to let a little icing get to him. He lined up for a 35-yard field goal attempt that would effectively end the first half. After an encroachment penalty moved him five yards closer, Arundel used back-to-back timeouts to stall. Cummings actually converted one attempt that was negated as the officials declared the timeout was called prior to the snap. After nearly five minutes (due to the penalty and two timeouts), Cummings drilled the 30-yard to pull Old Mill within 13-10 at halftime. Old Mill's first drive in the third quarter ended with Cummings converting a 23-yarder to tie the score at 13.
NEXT UP: Arundel travels to Severna Park, which is coming off a 49-7 loss to Broadneck. Old Mill has another difficult task with a home game against Annapolis.
Arundel 34, Old Mill 27
Old Mill 0-10-3-14=27
A - Joseph Blackwell 28 pass from Billy Cosh (Tyler Young kick), 11:09 (A: 7-0)
A – Blackwell 7 pass from Cosh (kick failed), (A: 13-0)
OM – Josh Furman 86 run (Brad Cummings kick), 1:29 (A: 13-7)
OM – Cummings 30 field goal, :06 (A: 13-10)
OM – Cummings 23 field goal, 7:27 (13-13)
A – Blackwell 13 run (Young kick), 5:38 (A: 20-13)
A – Blackwell 33 pass from Cosh (Yonug kick), :42 (A: 27-13)
OM – Furman 36 run (Cummings kick), 10:40 (A: 27-20)
A – John White 7 pass from Cosh (Young kick), 9:20 (A: 34-20)
OM – Clements 3 run (Cummings kick), 8:06 (A: 34-27)
Sheldon Shealer has covered high school football in Maryland for more than 20 years. He can be reached at Sheldon.Shealer@espn.com .