4A East No. 1 seed
First round: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Patuxent at Broadneck
No team in Anne Arundel history knows more about winning. Last Friday, the Bruins lost their only county game in two years. Their 2003 season ended in the state title game.
The key cogs on this team -- quarterback Tony Marino, running back Brandon Johnson and kicker Chris Desautels -- all started last year, which may explain why Broadneck trailed for a total of about 10 minutes during the first nine games of the regular season.
"A lot of those guys have been around forever," Arundel Coach Chuck Markiewicz said. "Or at least that's how it feels to me."
The defense is so cohesive, so effectively unified that it seems almost unfair to break it apart by using individual names. But you'll soon see several of these on all-county lists anyway, so here we go:
T.J. Zaleski, Carlos James, Brandon Barnes, Forrest Kyle, Nick Sowells and Rob Deaton help make up the county's most athletic defense. The Bruins give up fewer than 10 points per game. They've allowed one 100-yard rusher all season.
"Our defense is just a bunch of super-athletic monsters," said Marino, the quarterback. "Those guys are just plain nasty."
They rested their star running back late in games to keep him fresh for the playoffs; they added complex schemes to an already-dominant defense. In everything the Bruins did this season, they aimed at a single goal: to avenge last season's loss to Damascus in the state championship game.
Marino, Desautels and Johnson make up a senior trio that helped build up Broadneck football, and they're intent on seeing the construction project through before graduation.
"From Day One, when we got here, we made it loud and clear that only one thing mattered this season," Desautels said. "If we don't win the state championship, none of our success really matters."
-- Eli Saslow