After six consecutive losses in season openers, Broadneck finally conquered the opening-night jitters, downing host Old Mill 13-0 at Bob Golliday field last night in a non-league county contest.
Junior all-county wide receiver Jason Smith and senior quarterback Sean Ryan keyed the Bruins' run-and-shoot offense, hooking up on two second-half touchdown plays.
With 3 minutes and 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Smith turned a short toss over the middle into a 37-yard touchdown, outrunning free safety Adrian Johnson to the end zone. Mike Chaney's kick gave Broadneck a 7-0 lead.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Smith caught his 10th and final pass of the night -- once again over the middle -- to complete a 32-yard scoring play.
Jason Fullam (five receptions, 50 yards) played a key role in the drive with two catches for 27 yards and a 5-yard run on second-and-one from the 38 to sustain the drive.
Smith finished the game with 178 yards receiving. He also had two interceptions to go with numerous big hits from his safety position.
Ryan, a 6-foot-7, 195-pound basketball standout, was making his first varsity start in football. He finished with 17 completions in 23 attempts for 254 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also punted twice for an average of 36 yards.
"Sean did a great job tonight," said Broadneck coach Jeff Herrick. "The thing that impressed me the most was the amount of poise he showed."
While both squads showed flashes of brilliance on several first-half drives, both also showed early-season rustiness in their inability to cash in on the big play.
Broadneck's first opportunity came late in the first quarter, when Smith made a diving interception to stop an Old Mill drive. On the first play from scrimmage, Smith caught a short pass from Ryan and turned it into a 44-yard play.
With first-and-goal from the 8-yard line, junior back Damien Watkins gained 2 yards, then Smith caught a pass for a yard.
Old Mill defensive end Shane Lui then came up with the big play for the Pats, sacking Ryan for a 10-yard loss. Smith caught another pass for 10 yards, but was stopped short of a touchdown.
Old Mill then marched down to the 17-yard line, led by running backs Butch Strong (16 carries, 109 yards) and Johnson. Their drive came up short when Tim McGurk missed a 28-yard field goal with a minute left in the half.
In the middle of the third quarter, Old Mill found itself on the move again. Strong had carries of 18 and 15 yards, but the drive stalled when Issiaga Soumah couldn't come up with a pass from Jim Christensen close to the goal line.
Old Mill's last chance to cash in sputtered at the 1-foot line. Tim Gentry's 25-yard catch and run moved the Patriots to the Bruin 25. Fullback Mike Longazel then bulled up the middle for 12 yards, followed by a 5-yard run by Johnson.
Old Mill , setting up a fourth and goal situation at the one.
But on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Johnson was thrown for a 3-yard loss by Broadneck linebacker Pete Borradaile, who along with fellow senior linebacker Louis Blaser anchored the Bruin defense throughout the game.
"Our offense came through in the second half, but our defense was really the big key for us tonight," Herrick said. "Blaser, Bordelli, [defensive end] Andrew Williams and Jason all came up big."