“We knew the timing had to be right,” Ludwig said. “I knew the timing was right. Just made a play.”
The timing, of course, couldn’t have been better for McCormick’s team. On a night when the Patriots (2-0) committed three turnovers, muffed a handful of snaps and punts, and committed nine penalties, Ludwig was the youthful arm Old Mill needed.
On his first varsity throw, he hit Chance on a 30-yard rope down the left sideline – and drove Old Mill deep inside Falcons territory toward the end of the third quarter. But the Patriots missed a short field goal attempt after the drive stalled and both offenses struggled to gain traction in the fourth quarter.
Both teams committed penalties on their very first play, and both muffed kicks throughout the first half. Old Mill lost three fumbles in the first two quarters, with two coughed up by running back Raykwon Young inside Severna Park territory. But the Patriots were the more polished team in the second half.
“Our kids maintained their composure throughout the game,” said McCormick. “We had some opportunities early that we just didn’t take advantage of.”
Senior running back Shawn Brown added a dazzling 73-yard touchdown run on Old Mill’s first possession of the third quarter - juking out two Falcon cornerbacks - but Brown and backup running back Aqeel Mooring had limited carries due to what McCormick called “nagging injuries.”
With a crippled running game came an opportunity for Ludwig and the passing game. He completed 6-of-10 passes for 99 yards, and looked small at times among the muscular defensive front of Severna Park (1-1).
He was also facing a talented prospect in Severna Park quarterback Austin Stein, who gave Old Mill’s defense fits all evening and led the Falcons back in the third quarter. The upset bid ended on the final play of the game, though when Stein was intercepted on fourth down and long by Marcus Hicks, preserving Old Mill’s perfect record and Ludwig’s greatest triumph of his young life.
“I had a little nerves on me. [McCormick] gave us a little run play first and settled down my nerves a little bit, and then I went to throw the rock a little,” said Ludwig, beaming. “It happens.”