After Wednesday's practice, Broadneck quarterback Tony Marino pulled aside Chris Desautels, the team's place kicker, and delivered some well-meaning advice:
"Listen, man," Marino said. "You don't get many chances to be intimidating, so you better take advantage of it."
Desautels, described by his teammates as goofy and unimposing, will be Broadneck's most feared player tonight when the No. 14 Bruins host Arundel at 7:15. Broadneck has won its last three games against the Wildcats -- including a playoff win last season -- by the same score, 17-14. And each time a Desautels field goal has made the difference.
Both Broadneck and Arundel are 2-0 with proven quarterbacks, exciting running backs and experienced head coaches. "We're pretty even," Broadneck Coach Jeff Herrick said. "We're always pretty even."
Which means chances are good -- again -- that the game may rest on Desautels's foot.
"I love close games, because I like it to come down to me," Desautels said. "If that happens again, I'm always confident that I can come through."
A lanky soccer player, Desautels stumbled into kicking a month into his freshman year and found himself starting on varsity two weeks later. Since then, his progression has been well documented: He was all-county as a sophomore and all-state as a junior. "This year," Desautels said, "I want to keep moving up. I'm aiming for all-American."
At 6-foot-4, he swings through the ball with tremendous power. According to teammates, he is capable of making 55-yard kicks in practice. He has hit more than five kicks from 40-plus yards in his Broadneck career, though he has yet to make a field goal this season.
"He's got some pretty awesome power," Herrick said. "On kickoffs, we get touchbacks half of the time. You don't see those too often in high school games. That's a major advantage."
This season, Desautels has also proven to be a capable safety. During his first start as a defensive back, in the season-opener against Chesapeake, Desautels intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.
"He's one of our most athletic players," Marino said. "He brings a lot more than just your average kicker. He can win games for us."
Directions: Take U.S. 50 east towards Annapolis. Exit at 29B, and turn left on College Parkway. Turn right on Green Holly Drive, and Broadneck High is on the right.