Severna Park gave Broadneck something the Bruins hadn’t experienced once in Anne Arundel County play this season.
A good scare.
The Bruins swallowed their first-half mistakes and emerged into the second half a renewed and dangerous opponent. Broadneck dominated the second half to flatten Severna Park, 48-14, in the Ravens RISE high school football showdown.
Broadneck, still unbeaten in county public school play, outscored the Falcons 34-0 in the third and fourth quarters.
“This was the first chance to show if we’re a second-half team or not,” Bruins senior quarterback Josh Ehrlich said. “We came out, were very physical on both sides of the ball. I’m proud of the way we handled a little adversity — which we hadn’t seen since week one [against Archbishop Spalding].”
Ehrlich led the team on the ground (96 yards), in the air (16-for-23 with 248 yards and three touchdowns) and in the locker room. Tied at halftime, the senior captain calmed everyone down and encouraged his teammates to play physically the second half. Emotions ran high at the game’s start; Ravens quarterback Trace McSorley spoke to both teams, and Ravens cheerleaders flocked the sidelines. Purple fireworks shot in the sky during the national anthem.
Harris also stressed how much the Broadneck-Severna Park rivalry played a factor in the Bruins’ first-half shakiness.
“It’s been a long time and it’s always been a big game,” the coach said. “I think our kids were caught up in the atmosphere of the big game and they took it to us. But then, we responded.”
While it’s hard to quantify, no one could downplay the role heart played in Friday’s victory. Ehrlich hasn’t experienced a team this close before, and the desire to boost one another up translated to synchronicity on the field.
“We were just physical, playing straight down the throw type of offense,” Ehrlich said. “It was just very fun to be out there and we’re going to carry that on to next week. Old Mill’s just another game on our schedule. We’re going to handle them like anyone else.”
The Bruins (6-1, 5-0) opened the night flexing the clean, skillful plays that had trampled every county public school team they’d seen thus far. After Davion White (two touchdowns) cleaved through the fray a couple times, Ehrlich and sophomore Eli Harris put their chemistry on display. The receiver traveled exactly where he needed to be for his quarterback, who hit him for a 55-yard touchdown pass to give Broadneck a 7-0 lead.
But the Bruins would not be making a quick meal of Severna Park (5-2) as they had so many teams so far.
After his defense sent the Broadneck offense off the field in three downs, Falcons quarterback Seamus Patenaude marched his team smoothly downfield — with the help of the Broadneck defense’s many penalties. Three encroachment calls, among others, slapped the Bruins over and over again, handing Severna Park easy positioning at the 1-yard line. Given how at least three Bruins needed to drag down running back LJ Cooper every time he had the ball, a 1-yard run for the tying touchdown was nothing. He hurtled through a wall of Bruins before Florida-bound kicker Trey Smack’s extra point locked the score at 7.
Even when possession switched, there were as many flags littering the field as there were Broadneck players. The Bruins seemed flustered, a certain desperation to regain control showing in every play.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen them that amped up. And it showed,” Harris said. “We had 15 penalties in the first half.”
But where Broadneck had begun to unwind, Severna Park was just warming up.
A flock of Falcons grabbed Ehrlich, but before the quarterback came down, the ball slipped from his grip and into Falcons senior Matt Marcantoni’s hands. Shock rolled over the Bruins who, to this point, hadn’t faced an Anne Arundel public school team they couldn’t crush.
Soon after, Patenaude pedaled back while senior wideout Chad Brown jogged into open space, not a Bruin in sight. The Falcons senior easily skated over the goal line to take the lead, 14-7. For Broadneck, the next drive became absolutely crucial to recapture just a little momentum before halftime. Urgency flushed through Ehrlich as the quarterback made play after play, including a 21-yard pass to Machi Evans. The junior receiver made his catch in stride and closed the gap again, to 14-14, a minute before the end of the quarter.
Before both teams headed to their locker rooms for the break, Broadneck wanted to jab their visitors again. With plenty of time in the pocket, Patenaude opted for a long pass. Instead of finding an open teammate, though, Bruins defensive back Anthony Hawkins sprung up with the pick.
Going into halftime tied at 14 cooled Severna Park down as much as it fired up Broadneck.
“I don’t know if the outcome would have changed,” Wright said, “but it definitely would have been a better ball game in the second half. … And then we missed our opportunities to score.”
Broadneck’s offense exited the field too quickly and too often in the first half, allowing the Falcons too many chances. It would not make that mistake again in the third. The Bruins used up six minutes in their slow and calculated campaign that resulted in Kyle Pierce flipping over a Falcons defender to score and take control back.
“That first drive of the second half was huge, to go down the field with [few] mistakes … the message was: ‘Be who we are. Take care of business. Stop giving them opportunities to play with us,’” Harris said.
Down by just a score, the first half’s Severna Park could not be found. Injuries piled up, forcing Falcons to play out of position. Nonetheless, they went flat while Broadneck just kept showing off.
Albert Pasa collected another interception for the Bruins, which quickly led to a rushing touchdown for White and a 28-14 advantage.
Ehrlich chased that score with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Harris to make it 35-14.
Severna Park had a chance to revive itself, at least a little, early in the fourth quarter, but failed. The Broadneck defense chased Patenaude down on fourth down and stopped the Falcons from potentially scoring a 2-yard touchdown.
Latest High School sports
Not that it would have mattered. Two touches later, Evans went jetting up the left side over 88 yards to collect the sixth Bruins touchdown. White iced the last decorations on the win, hauling in a 7-yard score.