MIDDLETOWN — Brunswick’s football team had plenty of opportunities on Thursday against struggling Thomas Johnson. The Railroaders took advantage of most of them, especially in the first quarter.
Brunswick scored on five of six possessions in the opening quarter, setting up what ended up being a 52-14 win at Middletown High School.
While the Railroaders also had an easy win last week (28-6) against 2019 Class 1A state champion Catoctin, much of Brunswick’s intensity on Friday was generated out of frustration following a 37-0, season-opening shutout loss at Middletown on March 12.
“After that Middletown loss, we were furious,” Brunswick senior running back J.T. Harich said. “That wasn’t our team, so we came back out, worked our butts off and played much better after that.”
Harich did his part against the Patriots (1-2), scoring two of Brunswick’s first three touchdowns.
He scored on a 26-yard jet sweep with 9 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter. Six minutes later, he scored from 13 yards out.
“I just took the ball right up the gut,” Harich said of the second TD run. “The line did a great job all night with their blocking.”
At 2-1, the Railroaders are in a position to possibly play an extra game. Brunswick can solidify that position with a win against Tuscarora next week in what is the final regular-season game of this abbreviated season.
“We just have to wait and see how things pan out,” Brunswick coach Jerry Smith told his team on Friday.
Just about every time the Patriots made a mistake on Friday, the Railroaders made them pay dearly for it.
A short punt set up Brunswick’s first touchdown. The Railroaders got the ball at the TJ 42, and Harich scored two plays later.
A bad snap during a punt later in the first quarter gave the Railroaders the ball at the TJ 6. Quarterback Wylan Harich scored from 6 yards out on the very next play.
Brunswick’s Michael Souders set up J.T. Harich’s second score with 4:10 to go in the first quarter when he picked off a Brandon Hylton pass at the Patriots’ 30, returning it 6 yards to the TJ 24. Two plays later, Harich was in the end zone.
The Railroaders punched the ball in again at the 2:44 mark, less than a minute after Luca Mosley recovered a TJ fumble at the Patriots’ 23. Anthony Rakowski scored on a 1-yard dive.
Brunswick was still not through scoring in the first quarter. Ben Wells scored on a 15-yard run with less than a minute to go in the quarter.
By then, the Railroaders were well on their way to the win, leading 33-0 after the first quarter and 52-0 the half.
Rakowski returned a TJ fumble 7 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter; Bailey Himes had a 21-yard interception return with 1:39 left in the first half; and Wylan Harich scored his second TD of the game on an 11-yard keeper to close out Brunswick’s scoring in the game.
The second half was played with a running clock.
The Railroaders finished with 310 yards on the ground.
“We want to be a downhill run team,” Smith said. “We’ve been working real hard on running the ball. We’ve got a good-sized line. That’s what we like to see.”
TJ had a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Ethan Krolow scored on a 40-yard run. He also threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jaiden Pritchard.
“We continue to fight,” TJ coach Bobby Humphries said. “Obviously, things didn’t go our way, but we’re starting to get things back together. Our guys didn’t give up. They’re starting to play like a team, they’re starting to act like a family. We’re just dealing with a lot of injuries.”