Broad Run 35, Potomac Falls 0
Broad Run junior running back Thayer Nelson is as difficult to locate as he is to tackle. At 5 feet 4 inches and 148 pounds, he easily hides behind his offensive linemen before darting upfield.
On several plays during Broad Run's 35-0 win over Potomac Falls in a AA Dulles District game Friday night, many Panthers defenders' first glimpse of Nelson was of his back. The speedy tailback ran for 117 yards on 16 carries, including 105 yards on 12 attempts in the first half, as the Spartans (6-3, 4-2 district) won for the second straight week.
"I get behind big guys . . . and I just try to stay down," Nelson said. "Normally, they can't see me."
Nelson increased his season rushing total to 1,186 yards as the Spartans amassed 186 yards on the ground. Even when the Panthers (4-5, 3-3) tracked Nelson, they found that tackling him is tougher than it seems.
Midway through the third quarter, Nelson caught a screen pass and ran over a would-be tackler en route to a 16-yard gain that set up a two-yard touchdown run by fullback Kwight Johnson on the next play.
"His legs are tremendously strong," Broad Run Coach Ken Belchick said. "That's where he gets all of his quickness and his power. He's small-looking, but he's a very powerful runner."
Johnson provided additional power on the ground, scoring three touchdowns and carrying 13 times for 38 yards. Running backs Brandon DeSouza and Andrew Lawlor combined for an additional 31 yards rushing.
"I think this offense helps us all," Nelson said. "Kwight comes with the power, Andy comes with a little speed and mixture of that, and I just run as fast as I can."
The Spartans defense stifled Potomac Falls throughout the game, allowing the Panthers across midfield on only three drives. Panthers running back Darren Bailey, who rushed for 154 yards against Heritage last week, was held to 50 yards on 11 carries.
Broad Run's defensive line "came to play tonight," Belchick said. "They did a nice job playing their techniques, and they were in the spots where they were supposed to be."
The Panthers managed only 146 yards of total offense and turned the ball over five times. Quarterback Mario Lanza lost a fumble and threw three interceptions, one of which was returned 28 yards by defensive back Craig Tait for a touchdown in the final minutes.
"We've got a great run defense, and the secondary wanted to try to come out and attack," said Tait, who had all three interceptions. "Tonight, I figured we had to step up because we only have a couple games left."