Broadneck digs out of 21-0 halftime hole, KO's Westlake, 22-21 Bruins gain state semis with conversion pass

Class 3A football

November 15, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

You can knock Broadneck down, but you can't knock the Bruins out. The Bruins have taken their share of eight-counts this season, but they always get up, and Westlake found out yesterday in Cape St. Claire.

Dressed like the Miami Dolphins, the Charles County visitors built a 21-point lead at the half. It seemed only a matter of time before they would deliver the KO punch.

Little did the Wolverines know that the Bruins had them right where they wanted them, despite allowing 323 yards (263 rushing) of total offense in the first 24 minutes.

Not ready for hibernation, the Bruins came roaring back to post an unforgettable 22-21 victory in the Class 3A state quarterfinals. It was a comeback that coach Jeff Herrick said he would "never forget as long as I live."

At halftime, defensive coordinator Jeff Tonini switched strong safety Sam Strother up and to the slot side and moved Tremayne Williams over to the tight end. That enabled the Bruins (11-0) to hold Westlake (9-2) to only 40 yards of total offense in the second half while the offense caught up.

Martel Threadgill, Anne Arundel County's all-time rushing leader with 3,922 yards in four seasons, made the biggest touchdown run of his career, driving and spinning into the end zone from 15 yards out to make it 21-20 with 3: 08 left.

There was no decision to make.

"No hesitation, these kids fought too hard for a tie," said Herrick.

Quarterback Lehrman Dotson (8-for-16 for 74 yards passing, 70 yards rushing) sprinted to his right and lofted the ball. Bruins fans, who had been in a frenzy after Threadgill scored, held their breath as Laron Colbert caught it and lost it, but not before he broke the plane.

Westlake's hopes of spoiling the moment ended on Tremayne Williams' second interception of the game at the Broadneck 41 with 1: 24 left. The Bruins' offense ran out the clock and a sea of maroon from their sideline ran over them in a wild celebration near midfield.

It was the first ever playoff victory for No. 5 Broadneck, the 11th team in Anne Arundel County history to go undefeated in the regular season.

The Bruins will journey Friday to Fort Washington in Prince George's County to play at Friendly. The Patriots, also 11-0 and the No. 2 seed, humbled seventh-ranked Bel Air, 41-7, Friday night. Friendly dealt Broadneck a 34-20 loss in last year's quarterfinals.

But this is a different Bruins team. It's a team that had come from behind in a couple other games and most importantly, never lost focus when five players were suspended at midseason for violating the county code of conduct.

Three of those players, who were starters, never returned, and the Bruins just moved on.

"They weathered the storm because they've got a lot of character," said Westlake coach Dominic Zaccarelli. "I kept telling our kids at the half, that the game wasn't over."

The Southern Maryland Athletic Conference four-time champions struck before two minutes were gone with Gonzie Gray taking a toss sweep for 69 yards and a touchdown. Early in the second period, Gray swept left again, this time going 61 yards for the score.

While the Broadneck offense sputtered, the Wolverines made it 21-0 with about four minutes left in the half on a 3-yard burst by Desmond Fagan.

Broadneck scored on its first possession of the second half, with Colbert taking an option toss from Dotson from 9 yards and Tim Gappert kicking the extra point.

The Bruins then mounted what would be a nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive near the end of the third period after a short punt by the Wolverines. Dotson fought his way into the end zone from the 3 on the first play of the final period and Gappert made it 21-14.

Defensive end Jeff Logan's fumble recovery at the Bruins' 40 set up the game-winning drive that consisted of nine plays with Threadgill (82 of his 91 yards in the second half) scoring his 26th touchdown of the season and 49th of his career.

Pub Date: 11/15/98

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