Thursday, October 25, 2007

Arundel Football

Elko Has His Way for Unbeaten Arundel

No. 15 Arundel 24, Severna Park 14
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, October 25, 2007; AA11

Standing at midfield, nearly 50 yards from Arundel football coach Chuck Markiewicz on Monday, Severna Park Coach J.P. Hines reminisced about the days he spent playing linebacker at Arundel in the late 1970s.

He remembered the time Markiewicz, then an Arundel junior varsity coach, wore full pads to help Hines's defensive unit prepare for a meeting with an opponent's oversize tailback.

"It wasn't easy getting a hit on" Markiewicz, Hines said.

In the week leading up to 15th-ranked Arundel's 24-14 win against visiting Severna Park, there wasn't a Falcons player or coach who could have emulated Arundel quarterback Nick Elko.

Elko, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior, completed 21 of 33 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for a five-yard touchdown, connected on a 22-yard field goal attempt, accounted for 15 of the Wildcats' 16 first downs, converted every extra point attempt, punted twice and handled kickoffs.

"Elko is, everybody knows, one of the best quarterbacks in the state, and our game plan was to keep their offense off the field," Severna Park senior quarterback Pat Morrison said.

Severna Park (4-3, 4-3 Anne Arundel) was able to do that by intercepting Elko in the first quarter and by stopping the Wildcats (7-0, 7-0) from scoring on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line at the start of the second quarter.

The Falcons scored on a 20-play, 75-yard drive that featured two first downs, three Falcons penalties and a punt that deflected off of an Arundel player and was recovered by junior Will Crawford at the 9-yard line to extend the drive. On fourth and goal from the 2, Morrison hit junior wide receiver Anthony Jackson to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead three seconds before halftime.

"They did a good job by keeping the ball out of our hands," Elko said. "It really showed us how to match adversity. We kept our heads together and pulled together in the end."

Elko hit four receivers for his 134 second-half passing yards, including a perfectly timed five-yard fade pass to junior Alec Lemon to tie the game at 7 with 9 minutes 29 seconds left in the third quarter.

Morrison answered by orchestrating a 12-play, 72-yard drive capped by a 10-yard strike to junior Zack Karr to put the Falcons up 14-7 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Elko converted five first downs, four of them on passes, and scored on a five-yard run that tied game at 14 just before the end of the third quarter.

Senior wide receiver and defensive back Brandon Johnson-Farrell (seven catches, 134 yards) intercepted Morrison and then caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Elko to give the Wildcats a 21-14 lead before Elko kicked a 22-yard field goal.

"It was a good win. It helps us keep our momentum going into another big game against Old Mill next week," Johnson-Farrell said.

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