Broad Run High School junior Jared Toler was baffled at times with what he saw in the Spartans' 23-0 loss to Massaponax on Friday night. The Spartans fumbled the ball 10 times--and the visiting Panthers recovered four of them--eight days after committing six fumbles in a win over Colonial Forge.
"We worked all week on solving that problem," said Toler, an offensive and defensive lineman. "Our coaches emphasized, 'Make sure you hold on to the ball--we know you're trying to make stuff happen, but hold on to the ball.' I just don't know what happened tonight."
Against Colonial Forge on Sept. 9, the Spartans lost five fumbles on a rainy night, yet managed to overcome the turnovers to win, 26-20. Broad Run (1-2), despite a strong performance from its defense, was not able to overcome its mistakes Friday.
Massaponax (2-1), a second-year school from Fredericksburg, scored its first touchdown on a 35-yard fumble recovery by junior Raheem White with 5 minutes 57 seconds left in the first quarter. Broad Run's next possession also ended in a fumble, and the Panthers took advantage, scoring on a 33-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Stephen Morin.
"We moved the football when we didn't fumble," Broad Run Coach Ken Belchik said. "But we kept fumbling the ball. Last week, we got away with it, but we tried to tell the guys that we wouldn't get away with it this week. We can't make those kinds of mistakes. Our defense is playing super, but our offense is making too many mistakes."
Indeed, the Broad Run defense has played very well over the past two weeks. The Spartans held Colonial Forge to 113 yards of total offense, and on Friday they shut out the Panthers in the second half.
Massaponax scored two offensive touchdowns in the first half; the second one was set up by a 43-yard punt return by senior Joey Morin that put the ball on Broad Run's 30-yard line.
"Defense has really stepped up," Toler said. "We shut them down and gave ourselves a chance in the second half. We moved the ball, we burned up time, but then we'd make a mistake. We need to put the ball in the end zone. When we do that, we'll win."
Broad Run (1-2)
M--White 35 fumble return (Ovard kick)
M--S. Morin 33 pass from Perry (Ovard kick)
M--Little 3 run (Ovard kick)
LEADING RUSHERS--Massaponax: Little 21-85; Broad Run: Mitchell 18-48.
LEADING PASSERS--Massaponax: Perry 6-14-0 93; Broad Run: Gordy 4-11-2 52.
LEADING RECEIVERS--Massaponax: Yencha 3-47; Broad Run: Null 3-32.