Ask him what position Joey Bruscia plays, and Linganore coach Rick Conner can’t give you a straightforward answer.
“Joey’s a football player,” Conner said of the Lancers’ 5-foot-11, 220-pound senior Friday night at Linganore. “I don’t know what position is his best position. He’s just a freaking football player.”
Conner can say the same about Brady Domroe.
And because Bruscia and Domroe have shown him unique skill sets, Conner has had them playing several different positions, including quarterback, where they have been rotating in and out along with Conner’s son, sophomore Timmy Conner. For the second straight game, the tactic has worked quite well, with host Linganore blanking Westminster 31-0.
“We’re thinking outside the football box because that’s what our personnel dictates,” Rick Conner said.
For the most part, Bruscia and Domroe established themselves as running threats in a Linganore offense that churned out 226 yards — 127 by Xander McClure — on the ground and 102 through the air. They didn’t gain those yards in chunks as they did much of last year during their second straight run to the Class 3A state title game, choosing to methodically move the ball downfield while attempting just 11 passes.
The Lancers (2-0) are just fine with that approach if they get the kind of result they achieved on Friday: 5.86 yards per carry.
“That’s a principle of Linganore football: 4 yards every play, keep pounding the ball, wear out the defense and drive down the field,” Bruscia said. “That’s always been our thing.”
When they’re at quarterback, Bruscia and Domroe often keep the ball, probe the line and see what they can gain on the ground. Domroe even takes snaps in wildcat formations. And with Timmy Conner also rotating in at the position, opposing defenses have much to take into consideration.
“It’s got to be very difficult [for defenses],” Timmy Conner said. “We have a bunch of different packages and personnel. And we run different plays off of that, and they’ve got a lot to prepare for, and they don’t know what to expect.”
The way Domroe sees it, the Owls (0-2) certainly weren’t expecting the Lancers to pass on the first play of the second half. Domroe, who also lines up at running back, had received some work as a slot receiver for the first time in practice this week. He put that work to use, streaking down the middle of the field on a deep post pattern to haul in a pass from Bruscia that he turned into an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Before the long completion, the Lancers had passed for just 22 yards in the first half.
“The coaches told me to jog and then catch them off guard and sprint right down the middle, and it worked perfectly,” Domroe said.
Domroe also plays cornerback while Bruscia lines up at linebacker, and they helped a defense that applied continuous pressure on Westminster quarterback Jalen Bradford.
Bradford had little time to throw with defensive tackle Dustin Keith and defensive end Cole Mitchell bearing down on him throughout the game, forcing him to get rid of the ball early. He completed 15 of 38 passes for 166 yards and three interceptions. Ryan Barthlow returned one of the picks 45 yards for a touchdown that gave the Lancers a 24-0 lead late in the first half.
Will Coletti and Ben Musselman had the other two interceptions while Mitchell fell on a fumble in the end zone for the game’s first touchdown.
“We had a lot of positives tonight,” Rick Conner said.