Sometimes one player feels as if he turned a win into a loss all by himself. Sometimes one player feels as if he made a huge difference, maybe the difference. And sometimes, such as in Broadneck's 24-21 win over Arundel last night, one player feels both ways.
With 11.1 seconds left, Tim Gappert sent a 22-yard field goal through the uprights, making up for his earlier missed field goal and missed extra point.
"I was real nervous," Gappert said. "I thought I [had] cost our team the game."
The errant extra point would have tied the game at 14 in the third quarter, and Gappert spent most of the rest of the game wondering which tree he would hide behind for the next week.
"I just missed it," Gappert said. "The hold was good."
Gappert would make up for it, helping Broadneck escape a fate it avoided all last season: losing. The two-time defending 3A/2A Anne Arundel County champions have not lost a league game in three years.
With quarterback Paul D'Imperio and running backs Chase Gompers and Dan Nucci running a Wing-T clinic, Arundel put together two touchdown drives to jump to a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Sandwiched between was a 17-yard Broadneck drive that ended with an ill-fated fake punt from the Broadneck 37.
Whenever Broadneck went after Nucci or Justin Tippett up the middle, Gompers would bounce outside. And whenever the Bruins tried to contain sweeps, an Arundel running back would burst through the line for a big gain. The question wasn't whether Broadneck's offense would be able to score, it was whether Broadneck's offense would get to play.
"They had the ball a long time; they dominated time of possession," Broadneck Coach Jeff Herrick said. "They just ran their offense very well."
They did, and on the few first-quarter occasions when Arundel didn't, Broadneck failed to finish defensive plays.
"There were three key tackles in the early going that we missed," Herrick said. "We overpursued on a few plays, too."
But after those struggles at the start, the Broadneck defense not only stiffened, it got the offense going. Tony Klapaska recovered a fumble on the Arundel 30-yard line late in the first half, and two plays later Aaron Foote ran in from 13 yards for Broadneck's first touchdown.
CAPTION: Broadneck's Aaron Foote, who scored team's first touchdown on 13-yard run, drags Justin Tippett for first down.