After a pair of early losses, it's been a season of must-win games for the Old Mill football team. Friday night was no different, including the result.
Donovan Franklin ran for 157 yards on 34 carries, and the No. 6 Patriots defense turned five turnovers by No. 1 Broadneck into 19 points in a 26-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Bruins (10-1) on Friday in a Class 4A East Region semifinal.
Old Mill (9-2) will play at No. 5 Arundel in next week's regional final with a spot in the state semifinals on the line. Arundel defeated Old Mill, 25-22, in the region semifinals last year after the Patriots went unbeaten in the regular season.
"For us, this was Week 9 of the playoffs," Old Mill coach Chad McCormick said. "Our kids showed up, and were tuned in and made some football plays."
Kicker Chris Walker connected on field goals of 28, 38, 32 and 41 yards for the Patriots, who recovered three fumbles and intercepted three passes.
"Our kicker had a heck of a night and our defense really stood up and played really well," McCormick said. "We had great defense and special teams and our offense did exactly what it needed to do tonight."
Old Mill got on the board on the first drive of the game when David Marrocco capped a 10-play, 48-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0. The Patriots ran the ball on all 10 plays of the drive.
The Patriots added six points in the final minute of the first half after a pair of turnovers led to field goals by Walker.
With the Bruins driving for a potential tying score late in the second quarter, Broadneck's Taylor Bohanan fumbled after picking up 10 yards on a fourth-and-4 from the Old Mill 31-yard line. Nikko Ware recovered the fumble and raced 20 yards to the Old Mill 40.
After Walker's 28-yard field goal made it 10-0 with 14 seconds left in the half, Ware came in untouched to sack Canaan Gebele and force a fumble that Jamal Boadu recovered to set up Walker for a 38-yard field goal to make it 13-0 at halftime.
The Patriots moved the ball to the 14, and Walker connected on his third field goal to make it 16-0.
Walker added a 41-yard field goal, then Malik Hicks capped the scoring with a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Old Mill opened the season with a three-point loss to the Bruins followed by a seven-point loss to the Wildcats. A 37-0 victory over Meade in Week 3 got the Patriots back on track.
A third loss would have most likely kept the Patriots out of the playoffs for the first time in 16 years.
It was a disappointing end to an otherwise spectacular season for Broadneck, which will graduate more than 30 seniors from the group that came to the school the same year Rob Harris took over as head coach.