New offense suits Broadneck's Hartman

October 05, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Alan Hartman has seen life as a quarterback from both sides now. From the traditional wing-T and power-I offenses of his past, to the suddenly fashionable run-and-shoot that greeted him at Broadneck this fall.

And right now, he loves the view.

The 6-foot senior is smitten with the newly implemented attack, where throwing the football is more than just a passing fancy.

"It's pretty easy, really," Hartman, 17, said. "It's simple to understand. I expected it to be a lot harder than it was. If you read all your keys, there's going to be someone open."

And chances are, Hartman will find him.

The Cape St. Claire resident should own all of Broadneck's passing records by the end of the season. And it may not take that long.

Hartman eclipsed one mark in his first start, a 20-7 season-opening loss to South River. By throwing for 231 yards, he shattered the single-game record of 167 set last year by Brian Tate.

Considering Broadneck's previous reputation as a ground-pounder, this could be only the beginning.

With four touchdown passes in as many games, he is halfway to the season record held by three players. He also is less than 200 yards from the season passing yardage record of 805, set by Larry Coates in 1984.

"It's kind of a goal for me. I do want to lead in yards passing," he said.

Hartman's introduction to the position came three years ago, when he played for Cape St. Claire's 135-pound team. He was moved to quarterback midway through the season, throwing "outs and pop passes" from the wing-T formation.

The following year, he took the snaps on Broadneck's junior varsity team, which mainly ran off-tackle from the power-I. All passing records at the school appeared safe.

This especially was true after he moved to St. Mary's County as a junior to live with his mother. He broke his arm and sat out the entire football season at Chopticon, before he transferred back to Broadneck this fall.

So how did Hartman wind up as one of the most prolific signal-callers in Anne Arundel County this season, second only to North County's Eric Howard, another run-and-shoot maestro? He credits a summer of playing quarterback in the Mid-Atlantic States Passing League and the confidence his coaches at Broadneck had in naming him the starter.

"He can really throw the ball," said Bruins coach Jeff Herrick, explaining his decision to go with the 6-foot, 175-pound Hartman. "His arm is strong, and he already was acclimated to [the offense] from the summer passing league."

Despite his productivity in the opener, which included a 74-yard scoring pass to Chris Fullam in the third quarter, Hartman had his rough moments, too. South River's defense sacked him eight times and forced three interceptions.

He didn't throw another interception until Monday's rain-soaked 35-20 loss to Annapolis, when two errant passes eventually led to Panthers touchdowns. He accounted for 186 yards through the air, including a 57-yard scoring strike to Jason Smith, in a 22-0 win over Glen Burnie on Sept. 11, and his 5-yard touchdown pass to Smith the next week keyed a 16-13 win over Arundel.

"He seems to be understanding the offense more," Herrick said. "Right now, I've just got to keep him healthy and get some guys who can catch the ball."

At least, Hartman has more time to look for his receivers than in the first game, when he often hurried his passes to avoid taking a loss.

"I don't think our offensive line was quite ready," he said. "They're big and all, but they needed more practice going live. I had about two or three seconds [to throw], and now I think it's about four or five."

If nothing else, the game proved to Hartman that the offense could move the ball, even without hitting on all cylinders. "That's when I started thinking, 'This thing really can work,' " he said.

The run-and-shoot already has worked marvelously for North County, which went to the playoffs using a similar alignment in only its second year of existence. Herrick and North County coach Chuck Markiewicz were boyhood friends who coached together at Arundel in the late 1970s. They now have something else to talk about.

"He showed me a great deal of basics to this offense," said Herrick, who occasionally will use one or two tight ends in a particular formation. "I also learned a lot from clinics and things of that nature.

"We've been trying to run the football for the last three years, and it just didn't seem that productive. We had phases of the run-and-shoot the last few years, we just hadn't implemented it whole-heartedly. The kids like it and we decided to do it.

"It's not like this is overcoming the world, but it's shown signs of producing more offense."

It's also making a star out of Alan Hartman, and a shambles of Broadneck's record book.

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