Brunswick High School’s varsity football team may have lost some key players through graduation last year, but this latest group of underclassmen are showing lots of promise.
Most got a lot of experience in the short winter-spring season, where the Railroaders went 4-1, closing out the abbreviated season with an impressive win over Frederick on Friday, April 16.
Now, these players are getting the chance to continue to hone their skills through a full, nine-game, schedule, since high school sports across the state are resuming.
In Brunswick’s season-opening 34-13 loss to the visiting South Carroll Cavaliers last Friday, coach Jerry Smith liked what he saw, but there is still much to be done.
“There’s talent, really good talent, but we’ve got to start to come together as one unit,” he said. “We need to come up to age really quick.”
South Carroll is a Class 2A school, as opposed to Brunswick, which is a Class 1A school. The Railroaders hung with the Cavaliers for the most part, but South Carroll rushed for 211 yards while Brunswick had 98 yards on the ground.
The Cavaliers had 113 yards passing. The Railroaders had 87 yard passing.
Brunswick is turning to its youth movement as a way to build for the future. To that end, freshman Ethan Houck has gotten the nod as the Railroaders’ starting quarterback.
Houck responded by completing 8 of 19 passes and a touchdown. He threw a 65-yard TD strike to Michael Souders on a hitch pattern late in the second quarter.
“That was all Michael,” Smith said. “They called that play in the huddle. It all worked out.”
Brunswick trailed the Cavaliers at the time of the score, 21-0, so Houck’s TD pass to Souders gave the Railroaders some momentum heading into the locker room at halftime.
“Ethan is very coachable,” Smith said. “He will do better as the season goes on. He showed some good things, but he’s got some things he still needs to work on.”
Brunswick’s other TD in the game came at the end of the third quarter when J. T. Harich scored on a 1-yard plunge. Sam Verosto kicked one of two extra points for the Railroaders.
Souders was Brunswick’s top rusher with 48 yards on three carries. His longest run of the day was a 42-yarder. Souders was also the Railroaders’ top receiver with two catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Brunswick was penalized seven times for 38 yards. The Railroaders lost one fumble.
On defense, Brunswick had two interceptions.
Smith said the Railroaders lost two days of practice last week, since schools closed early last Wednesday because of the remnants of Hurricane Ida, then remained closed last Thursday. That showed in Friday’s loss to South Carroll.
“We lost a day that we tackle,” Smith said. “We had no drills. That left us with only two days to put in a game plan. It makes things a little bit difficult.”
The Railroaders host Thomas Johnson (0-1) this Friday at 7 p.m. Brunswick won last year’s matchup with the Patriots.
“It’s the little details we have to work on now,” Smith said. “But that comes with experience. What we need is 11 guys on the field, all working in sync. No excuses, we’ve got to be ready to play every week.”