Michael Nebrich leads Lake Braddock to victory over Robinson in Northern Region Division 6 semifinal

Lake Braddock came back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to beat Robinson 24-23.
By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 20, 2010; 12:08 AM

Eighth-ranked Lake Braddock trailed by two touchdowns at halftime. Then, trailing by six points with time winding down in the fourth quarter, the Bruins twice faced fourth down and left the offense on the field.

After all, when you've got perhaps the Washington area's most dynamic offensive player, no obstacle is too big to overcome.

Quarterback Michael Nebrich - sporting a mohawk haircut - just kept making plays. He threw a pair of touchdown passes in the third quarter and scampered up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown run on a fourth-down play with less than four minutes left, lifting host Lake Braddock to a 24-23 victory over 13th-ranked Robinson before 6,000 in a Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 6 semifinal on Friday night in Burke.

"I've said all along Michael Nebrich is the best player in the tournament," said Lake Braddock Coach Jim Poythress, whose team will play 19th-ranked Chantilly (10-2) in the region final. ". . . He took the game over and made plays when he needed to. He put the team on his back."

It would be nearly impossible to overstate Nebrich's contributions as the Bruins (11-1) stayed on course for a second consecutive region title. The Connecticut recruit rushed for 92 yards and completed 14 of 22 passes for 286 yards. Lake Braddock had just three plays where a player other than Nebrich had the ball, netting two yards.

It was a terrific performance, especially considering Lake Braddock trailed 17-3 at halftime. Robinson (9-3), which handed the Bruins their only loss this season, 10-7 on Oct. 1, had nearly everything go its way in the first half.

But after halftime, Lake Braddock took over. Its defense forced a pair of punts without allowing a first down. And its offense struck quickly, Nebrich hitting Tanner Quigley for a 41-yard touchdown and then finding Matt Zanellato for a three-yard touchdown.

In less than seven minutes, the Bruins had tied it at 17.

Helped by a pair of penalties on the Bruins, Robinson drove for the go-ahead score, Joe Meier's two-yard plunge up the middle on fourth down. But Emmanuel Adetunji blocked the point-after kick leaving the Rams' lead at 23-17 with 9½ minutes left.

On the ensuing drive, Lake Braddock lined up in punt formation on fourth and seven on its 42. But after calling timeout, Poythress sent Nebrich back on the field and he scrambled eight yards for the first down. Nebrich was sacked and recovered his own fumble, but on the next play hit Zanellato for a 35-yard gain down the left sideline. Four plays later, facing fourth and one, the Bruins again called timeout. Nebrich lined up in the shotgun, took the snap and ran to the right before cutting upfield.

"When it opened up, I thought I had the first down," Nebrich said. "Then I saw the safety come over the top and he overplayed me to the right and I cut back."

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