The play call initially caught Calvert’s Levi Brickner off guard, even though he had done just about everything else a football player could up to that point. The Cavaliers had dialed up a halfback pass Brickner had barely practiced and never attempted in a game before.
As teammates celebrated, Brickner dutifully took his spot as the extra-point holder, one of the many positions he played in leading Calvert to a 42-28 win over Gwynn Park in the Maryland 2A South semifinals Friday night in Prince Frederick.
“He does it all,” Lanham said. “I’m glad he’s on our team, not the other team.”
Brickner was a force all over the field as Calvert (10-1) advanced to next week’s region final at Patuxent, which defeated Lackey in the other 2A South semifinal Friday. The senior rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns to help drag the Cavaliers out of an early deficit and also appeared as a linebacker, fullback and punter. He played on every Calvert unit except kickoff return.
But it was the nuances of Brickner’s performance that made it so impressive.
Gwynn Park began the game with a safety, and Lanham lost a fumble on the Cavaliers’ next snap. But Calvert then started feeding Brickner, and he soon ripped off a 31-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Gwynn Park took the lead back with a 40-yard touchdown catch by Markell Mayhew, but the game turned once the Cavaliers grabbed a 14-8 second-quarter advantage. Gwynn Park Coach Danny Hayes elected to go for it on fourth and inches from his own 30-yard line and watched Calvert senior Ryan Farrell stuff the play in the backfield.
Brickner pounced, scoring again before halftime to put the Cavaliers up 22-8. He started the second half by recovering an onside kick while sliding out of bounds “baseball-style,” as he put it.
“We just knew we wanted to keep their offense off the field. Run the ball and get a lot of yards after the hit,” Lanham added.
Calvert put away Gwynn Park in the third quarter, turning two interceptions into two touchdown runs by Lanham. Though the Cavaliers were smaller and didn’t have as much speed at the skill positions, they simply wore down the Yellow Jackets with a grinding rushing attack and sneaky play-action calls.
By the time Brickner threw his trick-play touchdown, Calvert had built a 42-16 lead. Gwynn Park tried to make it interesting late with scoring strikes to junior Keivon Brooks and senior Isaiah Coulter.
“We were already up, but obviously we needed a little breathing room,” Brickner said. “We got like around 30 seniors, and we don’t want to go out on a loss.”
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