Old Mill's football players came into their home opener Friday night with a chip on their collective shoulder. They wanted to prove it's time to talk about current Patriots such as Marcus Hicks, Jalen Jones and Carl Chance instead of dwelling on the talent they lost from last year's Class 4A state championship team.
Against Anne Arundel County foe Broadneck, the host Patriots proved they could pick up right where the state title team left off despite graduating 16 starters, including running back Rob Chesson and his state-record 49 touchdowns. They showed they've left Chesson and company in the past, cruising by the Bruins, 35-7, to win their 15th straight game.
In the season opener for both teams, the Patriots showed off a solid running game, but only one touchdown came on a running play, Shawn Brown's 8-yard run in the third quarter. The other touchdowns came on big plays — passing, special teams and defense.
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Hicks ran back a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and scored on a 30-yard jaunt after stripping the ball from a Bruins player. Quarterback Jones hit wide receiver Chance with touchdown passes of 80 and 59 yards.
"These guys are making a name for themselves now," Patriots coach Chad McCormick said, "and when you don't want to talk about who we have, that can sort of put that chip on your shoulder. You know what? I like it. It's very motivating. It makes these young men get motivated and keeps them focused."
The Bruins had the first chance to get on the board in the first quarter, but All-Metro kicker Adam Greene, who hit a 54-yard field goal last season, couldn't get the distance on a 52-yard attempt, Old Mill scored on its next play from scrimmage when Jones hit Chance with an 80-yard touchdown pass.
On the Bruins' next series, Hicks stripped the ball and raced to the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 5:26 left in the first quarter.
Broadneck got on the board with 4:43 left in the second quarter on Grant Hudson's quarterback sneak, but Old Mill need just 15 seconds to match that. Hicks took Greene's kickoff from the Patriots' 1-yard line to the end zone for a 21-7 lead.
Brown added the 8-yard touchdown run 33 seconds before the half to push the Patriots' lead to 28-7. Jones hit Chance with a 59-yard pass to finish off the scoring with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
"We were able to drive and sustain a few times, but we sputtered down around the 15-yard line," McCormick said. "Two times, I think, we got inside the red zone and we didn't score, but we had the big plays … and Broadneck's a great defense. Sometimes it's tough. You go play, play, play and if you hit a big play, you're very fortunate. You've got to take those shots and our kids were able to capitalize on them."
The player, who was identified only as a freshman, sustained the concussion during a "freak accident" during warmups, Old Mill athletic director Craig White said. The player was discharged from Shock Trauma and White saw him and his father as they arrived at school to get the family car.
One witness said the two boys, who were not involved in contact drills and were not wearing helmets in the mid-90s heat, banged heads. The injured player was conscious and was moving his arms and legs when he was flown to Shock Trauma.
Old Mill 35, Broadneck 7
B 0 7 0 0 -- 7
OM 14 14 7 0 -- 35
OM—Chance 80 pass from Jones (Dagg kick)
OM—Mar.Hicks 30 fumble rec. (Dagg kick)
B—Hudson 1 run (Greene kick)
OM—Mar.Hicks 99 kick return (Dagg kick)
OM—Brown 8 run (Dagg kick)
OM—Chance 59 pass from Jones (Dagg kick)