Century's Landon Bruce runs the ball during the first half of the Knights' game against Liberty in Eldersburg Thursday, Nov. 2, 2018.
Century's Landon Bruce runs the ball during the first half of the Knights' game against Liberty in Eldersburg Thursday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Landon Bruce tried his hand in soccer for one year until he learned he could start to hit people in a different sport — football. Bruce made the switch 12 years ago and he never looked back.

Bruce made Century High School’s varsity football team as a sophomore in 2018 and had to wait his turn behind then-teammates JT Schneider and Charlie Hackett, who were in front of him in the team’s running back corps. Schneider and Hackett graduated last year, and Bruce said he learned a lot from the duo while getting his reps.

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Bruce averaged 4.0 yards per carry (65 carries, 403 yards) and scored three touchdowns for the Knights as a sophomore — second most to Schneider, a 2018 Times first-team all-county pick. He also caught five passes for 22 yards and one score, and added 36.5 tackles on defense as a linebacker.

“It was a pretty successful year as a third-string, second-string running back,” Bruce said. “We’ve got a great running backs coach this year and we’re doing a great job with cornerbacks — the line does a great job so it’s just been easy for me.”

Prior to Friday’s 34-9 loss to crosstown rival Liberty, Bruce led the Knights, and the Carroll County Athletic League, with 42 carries for 223 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Knights — he was on pace to be a 1,000-yard rusher by the end of the season.

Knights senior quarterback Brady Crumbacker has known Bruce since he was a junior and Bruce was a sophomore. Last season was their first playing alongside one another, and Crumbacker said Bruce is a great teammate, and an even better friend.

“Every time Landon has the ball, I’m confident that we’ll get positive yards because he’s a very strong running back,” Crumbacker said. “He’s very confident in himself.”

Bruce, a 6-foot and 190 pounds, scored in the Knights’ first two games of the season, against Dundalk and Poolesville, both in similar fashion. The Knights ran an inside run out of a wildcat formation and Bruce darted up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown against the Owls and rushed for more than 100 yards in that first game.

The Knights ran another wildcat formation against Poolesville, and Bruce found another opportunity with a 4-yard rushing touchdown in the team’s 22-6 victory.

He contributed Friday with 11 carries for 62 yards (unofficially) against Liberty.

“The line makes great holes and personally, I think I have pretty decent vision so I can read holes and make seams,” Bruce said. “I’m pretty explosive and I’ve got a lot of power and I have good speed with the line and the way our receivers block down field leaves a lot of open holes.”

Bruce has the remainder of this season, and another, to continue to be a driving force for Century. He praised the Knights’ linemen and anticipates another solid season with next year’s incoming class as well.

As for this year’s Knights, Bruce said there is still so much more to come.

“I think glimpses have been seen, we’re nowhere near where we’re going to be when we finish and we’re definitely gaining each week and getting better,” Bruce said. “The first week showed a few signs here and there, but we couldn’t finish. Last week we could’ve put them deeper down but we didn’t and we just have to keep building.”

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