Old Mill’s baby-face backup quarterback Brady Ludwig had been working on the play all week in practice, throwing the 25-yard deep-out just high enough so his receiver could go up and get it. But the 155-pound Ludwig, a sophomore who had never played a varsity snap, never thought he’d get to throw that route this season. Let alone on a third down in overtime.
Old Mill Coach Chad McCormick called the route with his team in desperate need of a play in overtime Friday night against Severna Park and Ludwig, freshly inserted in the third quarter to replace a struggling starter, delivered. He rolled right and found receiver Carl Chance on a 25-yard jump ball and the ninth-ranked Patriots held off the Falcons 20-14 in an Anne Arundel league game in Millersville.
“We knew the timing had to be right,” Ludwig said. “I knew the timing was right. Just made a play.”
The timing, of course, couldn’t have been better for McCormick’s team. On a night when the Patriots (2-0) committed three turnovers, muffed a handful of snaps and punts, and committed nine penalties, Ludwig was the youthful arm Old Mill needed.
On his first varsity throw, he hit Chance on a 30-yard rope down the left sideline – and drove Old Mill deep inside Falcons territory toward the end of the third quarter. But the Patriots missed a short field goal attempt after the drive stalled and both offenses struggled to gain traction in the fourth quarter.
Both teams committed penalties on their very first play, and both muffed kicks throughout the first half. Old Mill lost three fumbles in the first two quarters, with two coughed up by running back Raykwon Young inside Severna Park territory. But the Patriots were the more polished team in the second half.
“Our kids maintained their composure throughout the game,” said McCormick. “We had some opportunities early that we just didn’t take advantage of.”
Senior running back Shawn Brown added a dazzling 73-yard touchdown run on Old Mill’s first possession of the third quarter - juking out two Falcon cornerbacks - but Brown and backup running back Aqeel Mooring had limited carries due to what McCormick called “nagging injuries.”
With a crippled running game came an opportunity for Ludwig and the passing game. He completed 6-of-10 passes for 99 yards, and looked small at times among the muscular defensive front of Severna Park (1-1).
He was also facing a talented prospect in Severna Park quarterback Austin Stein, who gave Old Mill’s defense fits all evening and led the Falcons back in the third quarter. The upset bid ended on the final play of the game, though when Stein was intercepted on fourth down and long by Marcus Hicks, preserving Old Mill’s perfect record and Ludwig’s greatest triumph of his young life.
“I had a little nerves on me. [McCormick] gave us a little run play first and settled down my nerves a little bit, and then I went to throw the rock a little,” said Ludwig, beaming. “It happens.”