Bradshaw has plenty of responsibilities for the unbeaten Hornets, serving as a two-way starter, kick returner and punter, but even without the ball in his hands, he knows he can be valuable to an offense with several other emerging playmakers.
Drawing an extra defender or two to Bradshaw’s side has often provided sophomore wide receiver Jalen Christian and senior running back Trevor Patton the space needed to produce their own explosive plays. Damascus will need to utilize all those weapons if its hopes to knock off Seneca Valley on Friday night in a Montgomery 3A showdown.
“It’s just as exciting” when a teammate reaches the end zone, Bradshaw said. “Even though I didn’t really do anything, I kind of did do something. As long as we score and we win, I don’t really care how it happens.”
Bradshaw has eight total touchdowns this season (three receiving, three on returns, one rushing and one on defense), helping Damascus clinch its record 15th straight playoff berth. The team can likely lock up the top seed in the Maryland 3A West by beating the Eagles.
But the Hornets remain perfect, in part, because they haven’t had to lean on Bradshaw as much to create offense, thanks to the rise of junior quarterback Chase Williams.
Last season, Damascus did most of its damage on the ground and many pass plays had Williams or then-senior Eddie Cooke throwing the ball deep to allow Bradshaw a chance to chase the football down. At times, the team’s best offensive option was to line Bradshaw up in the backfield and run it out of a Wildcat formation.
The Hornets returned nine offensive starters, and Williams has been one of the county’s most improved players this season, showing better mechanics and leadership. Through eight games, he has 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Against Sherwood last season, Williams was nervous and speaking so quickly in the huddle his teammates could barely understand him, Bradshaw remembered. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wide receiver said the signal caller is now beginning to compare favorably in his poise with 2010 All-Met Connor Frazier, who led the team in Bradshaw’s first two varsity seasons.
“We’re just a totally different team than last year,” Coach Eric Wallich said. “Everybody’s a year bigger, faster and smarter.”
Christian — who picked up Division I scholarship offers from Virginia and Connecticut this week to bring his total to seven — has also helped with a team-best six receiving touchdowns.
Bradshaw took both of his catches for scores in last week’s 41-24 win over Whitman. In that game, Patton had three touchdown runs of at least 25 yards, and the Damascus offense reached the end zone six times on just 29 total plays.