A long line of teary-eyed players stood, waited to hug Broadneck High football coach Rob Harris Friday evening.
It was the end of a roller coaster season, and the emotions were high.
The scoreboard told the story: Quince Orchard 42, Broadneck 9.
With a trip to the Class 4A state finals at nearby Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on the line, No. 8 Broadneck had few answers for defending state champ Quince Orchard from Montgomery County (13-0 overall), which will play either Henry A. Wise or Charles H. Flowers, both from Prince George’s County, Thursday evening for the state crown.
The Bruins’ only scores came on their first and last drives of the game. With Quince Orchard scoring early and often before and in between the two visitor scores, the fight never left the Bruin sideline.
“The kids didn’t want to go out like that,” Harris said.
The Anne Arundel County co-champs fell behind quickly. Iverson Howard took the first play from scrimmage 58 yards for a touchdown.
Broadneck (11-2) drove 49 yards on its first touch, setting up Chris Coleman to kick a 37-yard field goal. Coleman, a junior, broke the school record for most field goals made in a season with 14.
“He loves kicking more than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Harris said. “Chris is wonderful. He loves his job.”
Quince Orchard, ranked No. 5 in the state media poll, began its run. Howard scored from 18 yards out. Quarterback Savan Briggs scored on a keeper from a yard out. Tavarhi Groves scored on a 51-yard pass from Briggs. Groves added a 21-yard rushing score.
The Cougars, who’ve won 26 straight games, capped their night with Isaiah Blackman-Boyd taking in a one-yard touchdown.
In the dying embers of the game, as the clock hit zero, Bruins quarterback Cam Catterton found Eli Harris for a 33-yard touchdown.
“(The players) definitely fought to the end,” Harris said. “We’re so proud of them.”
Last season, Broadneck reached the state quarterfinals (lost to Flowers), but graduated a significant senior core including four-year starting quarterback Josh Ehrlich, now a freshman at Marist. Catterton, who returned to Broadneck after two seasons at South River, guided the Bruins to another Anne Arundel County title and first state semifinal since 2015.
“I think we were a little better than people thought,” Harris said. “It’s a fun journey. It’s a journey where people start buying into their roles and what they need to do to help the team to be successful.”
The Bruins, who last reached a state title game in 2003 (Class 3A), have risen among the area’s elite programs. Broadneck rolled off 11 straight victories after a season-opening loss to eventual MIAA A Conference champ and No. 2 Archbishop Spalding.
Harris believes Broadneck is on the doorstep of a state championship entrance.
“It says a lot about the players and the commitment to the program,” Harris said. “We’re not just a year to year team. We’re a program that wants to compete every year. I think we’re right there competing every year. We just got to take that last step.”
CLASS 4A STATE SEMIFINAL
QUINCE ORCHARD 42, NO. 8 BROADNECK 9
Broadneck 3 0 0 6 — 9
Quince Orchard 14 14 14 0 — 42
Quince Orchard - Iverson Howard 58 run (Evan Church kick)
Broadneck - Chris Coleman 37 field goal
Quince Orchard - Howard 18 run (Church kick)
Quince Orchard - Savan Briggs 1 run (Church kick)
Quince Orchard - Tavarhi Groves 51 pass from Briggs (Church kick)
Quince Orchard - Groves 21 run (Church kick)
Quince Orchard - Isaiah Blackman-Boyd 1 run (Church kick)
Broadneck - Eli Harris 33 pass from Cam Catterton (game over)