There’s a goal at Broadneck each year, a threshold that Coach Rob Harris and his team use to determine whether their defense is ready to compete for a state title. The number is seven.
“We think if you allow 10 or less points per game, you have a defense that is upper-echelon, that can get you to the playoffs and you see what happens,” Harris said. “You get to around seven, then you’ve got a defense that’s as good as anybody’s in the state. That’s what we’re striving for.”
With each week, the Bruins are getting closer to that magic number. They blanked Southern, 28-0, on Friday night and have allowed 47 points in four games. After giving up 35 points to No. 15 Old Mill in the season-opener, Broadneck (3-1) has since posted two shutouts and held South River to 12 points.
“Coming into this year, we knew that we should be one of the top defenses in the county, so I kind of saw it coming,” senior linebacker Randy Fischer said. “Though there’s always room for improvement.”
Fischer is one of eight returning starters and four three-year starters on a Bruins defense that held Southern (2-2) to 132 yards of total offense Friday. Bulldogs running back DeJuan Neal, who entered the game as the top rusher in Anne Arundel County, mustered only 43 yards on 11 carries.
Fischer racked up 12 tackles in the win and is well on his way to leading the team in tackles for the third consecutive season. After he picked up three tackles in a row on Southern’s first possession of the game, his defensive teammates joked while jogging off the field.
“Coach, can we call a different defense?” one player asked. “Because Randy’s making every tackle.”
Fischer made his varsity debut at 135 pounds as a sophomore and has since added 80 pounds of bulk. While he has always been around the ball, Fischer now has more force behind his hits and is understanding the game at a higher level. Nose tackle Landon Reecher said that he too has matured.
“It’s a different year. I’m not a junior anymore,” said Reecher, who has eight tackles for loss and two sacks this season. “I’m the same player I was last year. I’m just playing up to my potential a little more. I trust myself more, have more confidence.”
At 285 pounds, Reecher is one of the strongest defensive tackles in the county and frequently draws a double team. Fischer and Michael Hildebrand, who has received interest from Football Championship Subdivision schools, anchor the linebacking corps. Cornerback Devon Williams, who also plays wide receiver, can run the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds.
“I know what each of us is going to do,” Reecher said. “And I know that if I make a mistake, they have my back. If they make mistakes, then I have their backs.”
The Bruins don’t just have one standout defensive player, but several. And new defensive coordinator Jason Wohlfarth, who coached the team’s defensive backs for several years, has shined in his first year as a defensive play-caller.
“We’re really lucky right now that it’s all coming together,” Harris said.