It was just like practice, Frederick running back Bruce Dorsey said. Just like when he has to run past teammates who throw large padded bags at his feet and waist to simulate defenders trying to tackle the burly runner.
Only when Dorsey took an option pitch from quarterback Cory Rhodes early in the fourth quarter last night, it was an opponent -- not a bag -- that Dorsey decided to try to jump. The outcome of his team's first postseason game in 17 years was hanging in the balance, and Dorsey cleared the would-be tackler at the 5-yard line. He found an easy path to the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown run that put the host Cadets in front for good, and they went on to claim an 18-7 victory over No. 13 Seneca Valley in a Maryland 3A West Region semifinal before a crowd of 750.
Frederick (10-1) will host the 3A West final next week against the winner of tonight's game between No. 14 Northwest and No. 15 Urbana.
Playing in a steady rain last night, Frederick often went to its "mud package," according to the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Dorsey, using two tight ends and putting Tommy Prazenica at fullback. "It's all power running game," Dorsey said.
That was fine for Dorsey, a senior who finished with 209 yards on 31 carries, giving him the school's single-season record at 2,029 yards. He scored the game's first points on a one-yard run up the middle after wide receiver Anthony Walker made a diving catch for a 30-yard gain on fourth and 14.
However, Frederick failed to convert the point-after try, and Seneca Valley answered when wide receiver Bryant England scored on a 19-yard reverse for a 7-6 lead late in the third quarter.
Trailing entering the fourth quarter, Dorsey put Frederick into scoring position with a 48-yard run to the right. Two plays later he took the pitch to the left from Rhodes and saw his path to the end zone was going to require an extra hurdle -- a move that Frederick Coach Vince Ahearn said he has seen a few times this season.
"We work on that all week with our position coach [Seth Sherwood], because that's how a lot of people try to tackle me," said Dorsey, who has scored 26 rushing touchdowns this season. "We have people standing with bags, and as I'm running down they throw the bags and I have to jump them and I never know when it's coming."
Broadneck Advances in Volleyball
Broadneck advanced to the Maryland volleyball semifinals for the fifth consecutive year, but it felt anything but routine.
Thanks to a surprising freshman hitter and thunderous support from what coaches called the largest volleyball crowd ever at Broadneck, the Bruins beat Anne Arundel County rival Arundel in the Maryland 4A East Region final, 25-17, 14-25, 25-14, 25-21.
They'll play the winner of last night's 4A North championship match between Dulaney and Thomas Johnson at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
"This is a win that we're going to remember for a long time," Broadneck Coach Romonzo Beans said. "Arundel is so tough. It's never been this hard for us to get this far. Some of our players really stepped up."
Put freshman Ali Malesich at the top of that list. Malesich enrolled at Broadneck five months ago having never played volleyball. Last night, she outshined the most accomplished senior in Anne Arundel County.
Six times, Malesich jumped at the net and blocked spikes by Arundel star Tiffany Johnson, who will attend Kansas State on a volleyball scholarship. One of those blocks came midway through a tight final game and turned momentum in favor of Broadneck.
Allie Woods (17 kills) and Kanishia Sheppard (13 kills) also helped Broadneck avenge a five-game loss to Arundel in last week's county championship match.
"She's a freshman, so I didn't think she would be playing like that," Johnson said. "She made the difference."
With every county football game canceled because of rain, more than 250 people packed into Broadneck's gymnasium. Fans from Arundel chanted; fans from Broadneck chanted back. Seemingly all of them yelled at the head official, who ran out of the gym as soon as the game ended.
"Oh man, this was crazy," Beans said. "This is the way it should always be a for a big game, with a ton of passion and energy."