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Brunswick defense takes care of business

November 01, 2003|by CURT HORNBECKER

BRUNSWICK, Md. - Travis Pfistner needs to brush up on his prognostication skills.

Sure, the Brunswick defensive back successfully predicted that his defense would rise to the occasion in a difficult situation, but he obviously wasn't aware that his interception in the end zone would be the play that turned around the game in the Railroaders' 9-6 victory over South Hagerstown in an MVAL Antietam Conference game Friday night.

Pfistner's pick came when the Railroaders needed it most. With the game scoreless, South had a second-and-goal at the 5 when quarterback David Miner spotted Josh Bussard open in the end zone. But Miner's pass bounced off Bussard into Pfistner's arms to thwart the Rebels' opportunity.

"That play was huge," Brunswick coach Kevin Lynott said. "He told me, 'Coach, we're taking care of it,' then he intercepts the pass. That was huge."

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On the ensuing possession, the Brunswick offensive line came to life, opening holes for seven successive running plays totaling 30 yards, after being held to minus-12 yards in the second half. Alex Papanicolas accounted for 23 of the final 37 yards, including the final 20 yards, for the 6-0 advantage with 7:34 left in the game.

"What I noticed (after Pfistner's interception) was a difference in their team," South coach Greg Kellick said. "That just fired them up. They took it to our guys up front. Up to that point, we played pretty consistent defense."

With less than four minutes left, Miner attempted to field a Brunswick punt, but couldn't control the ball. Nick Beachley recovered at the South 11. Charles Johnson's 21-yard field goal gave the Railroaders (4-5, 3-2) a 9-0 edge with 1:33 left.

"I said at that point, when they kicked (the field goal), that was the nail in the coffin," Kellick said. "We did everything we could, but we took too long to get down the field."

South (3-6, 2-3) managed to get on the board with just 11 seconds left on a Miner-to-Ronnie Jackson 31-yard pass, but the two-point conversion attempt failed, as did the ensuing onsides kick.

Miner, a threat to run the ball as well as throw it, was held in check by the Railroaders until the final minute of the game. He constantly was pressured attempting to throw the ball, and he was unable to scramble for significant yardage.

"Our defense kept us in the game," Lynott said. "We felt like we needed to shut down Miner, and I think we did that. As explosive as their offense is, I'm surprised we held them to no points until 11 seconds were left in the game."

Neither team could move the ball consistently, combining for just 350 yards of total offense. Neither team rushed for more than 150 yards.

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