With bragging rights and first place in the county standings on the line, Broadneck proved once again to be a lethal second-half team on Friday night against Old Mill.
The Bruins thrashed Old Mill after halftime on the way to a 41-25 victory that gave the Patriots their first Anne Arundel County loss. The game, between two teams that came into the night unbeaten against league opponents, essentially served as a county-championship contest.
With the win, Broadneck improves to 6-0 in Anne Arundel play — the last undefeated county record. The Bruins outscored the Patriots 27-8 in the second half.
“Best team in the county!” the players cried as they celebrated together, each pointing one finger toward the sky.
“I think this is going to be a generational team, I do. The talent and the chemistry we have is unmatched,” senior quarterback Josh Ehrlich said. “But we have to prove it every Friday, whether it’s next week against Glen Burnie, tonight against Old Mill or in a couple weeks at Navy stadium.”
In all likelihood, Old Mill and Broadneck may meet again in the playoffs. Ehrlich (14-for-19, 155 yards and three touchdowns) relishes the thought.
“I don’t think anyone can stop us,” he said.
For Broadneck coach Rob Harris, competing against his former assistant coach — Old Mill coach Mike Pfisterer — brought an extra special flair to the night’s events.
“Coach Pfisterer is missed. He did a hell of a job here,” Harris said. “He’s doing a great job over there.”
Broadneck’s victory began with “the cleanest” week of practice and academics, Harris said.
“They accepted the challenge and they battled,” the coach said, “and I’m really proud. I wanted us to see adversity today, and be careful when you ask for things, but our kids saw some and responded.”
Ehrlich lauded his Bruins (7-1) for showing that they could be a second-half team against Severna Park last week. One time, however, can be a fluke. Two times is a pattern.
“We knew we had to come out. They kicked out butts in the first half — hands down to them, they had a great game plan — but we settled down and did what we do. We run the ball. We pass the ball. RPOs,” Ehrlich said. “It’s really fun.”
Old Mill had a slew of missed tackles on the first drive, risky against any team but especially against a lethal Broadneck team that can run and pass.
The one time it did collect a key tackle — Tim Tripplett’s sack on Ehrlich that dragged Broadneck back nine yards — was quickly undone by a pair of Ehrlich runs that brought the first touchdown.
As much as the Bruins hunted Old Mill quarterback Myles Fulton, it couldn’t seem to pin down the county’s passing leader in the early going.
Fulton (14-for-23, 183 yards, two touchdowns) curled out of a scrum at the line of scrimmage, biding time while the Patriots’ star receiver, Donte Craggette-Drake, cruised towards the end zone. Fulton delivered a perfect pass over the 32 yards of airspace between them to tie the game at 7-7.
Old Mill rolled with the momentum and ended up scoring twice more, embarking on a 17-0 run.
Broadneck had seen this tale before — but it liked the ending. Severna Park flipped the script on the Bruins last week, seemingly running over a flustered host to a lead before halftime.
But the Bruins rallied in that game against the Falcons and did so again Friday.
Jalen Carter’s interception changed everything against Old Mill. On the ensuing drive, Ehrlich launched a 19-yard-plus bomb well over the heads of every Patriot below. On the other side of that was senior receiver Nathan Levicki, catching it with his toes on the perimeter.
“That definitely turned the tide,” Pfisterer said. “That’s on me.”
The two sides went into the long halftime break with Broadneck down by just 3, 17-14.
Giving Broadneck the ball first in the second half only proved to continue the Bruins’ momentum. Kicked off by a 27-yard Davion White rush, Ehrlich navigated his Bruins down to fruition, running in the nine-yard score himself to reclaim a Broadneck lead, 21-17.
Both coach and quarterback tipped their proverbial caps to the offensive line.
“In the first half, I was leaving too early, I wasn’t trusting them enough,” Ehrlich said. “But those are my guys. I need to trust them every second of every game because they’re going to come through for me and they did tonight.”
Meanwhile, Old Mill tripped over all the flags thrown against it on the field. The Patriots punted for the first time on its first second-half drive and then Broadneck committed a little deja vu, not just of a previous touchdown — Ehrlich pass to Levicki — but of last week. Ehrlich found the receiver from about 17 yards out to push the lead to 28-17.
Old Mill couldn’t make it out of its red zone the next time, to which Broadneck replied with another touchdown.
Broadneck’s defense picked Old Mill apart. It sacked Fulton, something his offensive line usually doesn’t let happen.
Harris credits Jason Wohlfarth, the former defensive coordinator who returned from Detroit to coach on Friday.
“They had a good plan and they stuck to it,” Harris said.
Drive after drive ended without points — except one. Fulton went for a pass that bounced off two players — and into the clutch-making mitts of Tripplett, who went tearing down the field into the red zone. The subsequent touchdown and two-point conversion jolted Old Mill back to life, pulling within 34-25.
The problem was, Broadneck never faltered. White (17 carries for 155 yards) replied with another Bruins’ touchdown.
“Davion is a freak athlete. When he puts it all together, he’s going to be unbelievable,” Harris said.
Pfisterer blamed himself mostly, as well as a rocky week of practice, for the outcome. But he reminded his players of one crucial fact: this is just the regular season.
“I said, 2009, Old Mill won states — lost to Broadneck week 10 and made a run,” Pfisterer said. “… We’ll clean it up and get after it.”