In front of a home crowd on a chilly night, Old Mill ended five years of frustration against Broadneck with a 25-20 victory last night, its first over the Bruins since 1999.
"This is obviously a very good win against a very good team," Old Mill Coach Mike Marcus said. "I told [the team], 'This is great, but the one that matters is in [the playoffs].' We will see them again."
Senior running back Ryan Callahan gobbled up ground in the first half, gaining 141 yards, but it was the passing game that won it for the Patriots (4-0, 4-0 Anne Arundel).
Junior quarterback Kelian Stevens completed 3 of 6 passes for 131 yards overall, but was 2 for 2 in the second half, both completions going for touchdowns to Steve Holmes. In order to stop Callahan, the Bruins' defense committed to the run, bringing defenders closer to the line and risking the threat of a deep pass.
"They did a great job" stopping Callahan in the second half, Marcus said, "but fortunately when you put nine [players] in the box you expose some other things and it opens up the big play for us. We'll take that any day."
The loss dropped Broadneck to 2-2, 2-2.
Stevens's first touchdown pass to Holmes fell through the grasp of the cornerback and into the arms of his receiver, who outraced the rest of the defense and gave the Patriots a 19-14 lead.
His second was the same play the Patriots ran on the second drive of the game. In the first quarter, Stevens faked the option and pulled back, looking downfield for Holmes, who had beaten his defender on a post route. The ball, however, was overthrown and the Patriots missed a good opportunity to score. They didn't miss the chance again.
The fourth-quarter connection made it 25-14 and proved to be the winning score.
"It hurt us in the past and with the type of defense we play, it's not surprising," Broadneck Coach Jeff Herrick said of the passing. "You'd expect them to try something like that, and our [defender] wasn't too far off on those plays."
The Bruins got a good push from running back Brandon Johnson, who out-gained Callahan, 178-157. Johnson, Bruins quarterback Veric Brown, who was filling in for the injured Erik Dulaney, and the rest of the Bruins tried to fight back, with Johnson scoring on a five-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes 56 seconds left.
Broadneck couldn't muster the extra score it needed to create a repeat of last season, when the Bruins came back to beat Old Mill in a double-overtime playoff game.
"We just kept our heads up. We were like, 'We got them this time,' " Holmes said.
"We told everyone to keep their composure, keep calm and don't panic," Callahan said.