The Broadneck High Bruins may have lost 36 seniors from last year’s regional championship squad, but they didn’t lose their grit.
Broadneck nearly overcame a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter against Arundel High on Friday night, before falling 34-31 on a blustery night in Cape St. Claire. The game featured a county-record 55-yard field goal by junior Adam Greene.
Arundel’s Cooper Hibbs threw for 229 yards, including 181 to wide receiver Hunter Cetrone, helping the Wildcats move to 6-1 on the year.
The Bruins, meanwhile, fell to 2-5.
Based on the mood of coaches and players after the game, it might have been hard to discern that Arundel won. Broadneck head coach Rob Harris had nothing but praise for his young team’s effort, while Arundel’s Chuck Markiewicz said he was frustrated by the Wildcats three fumbles and 97 yards in penalties.
“We can’t keep kicking our own [butt],” he said. “I’m getting sick of watching it. It drives me absolutely crazy. I don’t know if we’re that good, or that bad. I can’t tell.”
The Bruins, despite the loss, were buoyed by the performance of quarterback Brady George, who threw for 234 yards and four scores, including three to wide receiver Zack Franco.
But the best Bruins moment came on the opening score, from Greene’s leg.
“When it came off my foot, I knew it was a good kick from the start,” said Greene, who said his range in practice is normally about 48 yards. “The snap was good, and the hold was absolutely perfect. I knew I hit it right.”
The previous county record for the longest kick was held by Brooks Barnard, a graduate of Broadneck and the University of Maryland, who played in the NFL.
Despite that kick and some general sloppiness, Arundel dominated the first half of the game, going up 20-3 midway through the second quarter on 6-yard strike from Hibbs to Tyler Young on third down.
After Broadneck cut the score to 20-10 in the second quarter on a 23-yard screen pass from George to Franco, Young ran back the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for the score.
Arundel appeared fully in control in the third quarter, when Broadneck drove to the Arundel 1-yard line, but the Wildcats stopped the Bruins on four straight downs.
The Wildcats took the 27-10 lead into the final period, but the Bruins got some life after Damian Cromwell intercepted a pass from Hibbs and returned it to the 4-yard line. George then connected with Franco for the score to cut the game to 27-17.
“I told them at halftime, 17 wasn’t enough,” Markiewicz said. “These guys, they wanted to win.”
There was then a lengthy delay in the third period, after Broadneck linebacker Paul Faupel sustained a possible concussion on a play. He was taken off on a stretcher as a precaution.
With about 7 minutes to go, Arundel took a 34-17 lead on a touchdown run by Blake Thornton. The Wildcats stopped Broadneck on the next possession, then pinned the Bruins back to their own 16-yard line after a booming punt by Young.
But Broadneck wasn’t done. They had reason to believe the game wasn’t over yet, as it was just last week that the Bruins overcame an 11-point deficit in the final minute to steal a win against Annapolis.
With four minutes left Friday night, George calmly turned to his left and dumped off a pass to Cromwell, who ran 84 yards for the touchdown.
Broadneck then recovered a fumbled at the Arundel 31, and took advantage of a pass interference penalty to set up first and goal at the 6. On the next play, George hit Franco again, cutting the score to 34-31 with just under three minutes to go.
The Bruins forced Arundel into a three and out, and left themselves with about two minutes to tie or win the game.
Looking to get within range of the strong-legged Greene, Broadneck struggled to move the ball, and Arundel took over on downs with under a minute left.
“These kids fight hard, they have a lot of heart,” Harris said. “They showed that tonight, they really did. I’m proud of them.”
Notes: Arundel's Matt Davis had 91 yards rushing on 15 carries and a touchdown ... Alex Newman had ten tackles ... Davaugh Coley had two sacks for Arundel ...Broadneck's Wick Dawson had 44 yards rushing on 14 carries ... Arundel next hosts Severna Park, while Broadneck plays at North County.
Other county action:
Severna Park 47, Chesapeake 16
Glen Burnie 50, South River 32
Southern 33, North County 13