— No. 3 Broadneck's quest for its first state championship hit a roadblock in Prince George's County's Wise.
The host Pumas (12-1) used an opportunistic defense and 112 second-half yards from Uriah Bethea to turn a one-point halftime deficit into a 14-7 win and another trip to the Class 4A state championship game.
Wise, who lost by a point to Old Mill in last year's title game, will play Frederick County's Urbana, which defeated Gaithersburg 37-6 Friday night in the other semifinal, in the Class 4A state final at 7:30 p.m. Friday at M&T Bank Stadium.
"There's only so long you can hold a great team," said Broadneck quarterback James Mullis. "We had a few turnovers that cost us. We never gave up."
The Pumas used their defense to take the lead early in the second quarter. On a third-and-13 from his own 11, Broadneck quarterback James Mullis dropped back to pass. Wise defensive end Victor Tabbs tipped the ball straight up in the air before catching it and returning it 5 yards to give the Pumas a 6-0 lead (after a failed run on the conversion attempt) with 11:24 left in the first half.
Broadneck (10-3), which was led by running back Grant Harris' 80 yards on 16 carries, responded just before halftime. The Bruins got the ball back with 1:23 left at the Wise 49 yard-line, and Mullis used a good mix of passing and running to get the ball close to the goal line. With just over 40 seconds left, he called his own number and scored from 10 yards out. After an Adam Greene extra point into a stiff wind, the Bruins had a 7-6 lead at the break.
Then it all began to unravel in the second half.
Bethea (130 yards rushing on 20 carries), who entered the game with 1,454 yard rushing, began to find holes that weren't there in the first half. The Pumas went on a seven-play, 80-yard drive on their second possession of the second half to take the lead.
The Bruins had a chance to end the drive midway through it, but Wise caught Broadneck on a blitz on third-and-1 at the Wise 42, and Bethea made them pay with an 18-yard sweep. The drive was capped by a Jamal Jones 23-yard run to make the score 14-7 (after a successful Bethea conversion run) with 2:37 left in the third quarter.
"They had some success running off tackle against us," said Bruins coach Jeff Herrick. "I don't really think we had any individual breakdowns, it just boiled down to some adjustments they made and some we didn't."
The Bruins got the ball to the Wise 28 on the next possession, but that drive stalled when Mullis had to dive on his own fumble on third-and-11 late in the third quarter. Broadneck would never threaten again.
"We just couldn't move the ball," said slot back Trae Byes. "When you can't move it, you can't score, and if you can't score, you can't win."
Wise 14, Broadneck 7
B0 7 0 0 -- 7
W0 6 8 0 -- 14
W – Tabbs 5 interception return (run failed)
B – Mullis 10 run (Greene kick)
W – Jones 23 run (Bethea run)