For two seasons, the Boonsboro football team moved mountains.
On Friday, though, the Warriors had trouble moving the ball. And it happened at the worst of times.
Brunswick, a team known for its wide-open offense, made a bigger statement with its defense by shutting down the Warriors and shocking them for a 39-16 upset in the Maryland Class 1A West semifinals.
The Railroaders (7-4) stopped the top-seeded Warriors (8-3) cold and scored the final 19 points of the game to win going away. Brunswick’s reward is a trip to Cumberland next weekend to face third-seeded Fort Hill, a 20-19 winner in overtime over Allegany.
In the end, it came down to one of the basics of football — and it drew the curtains on one of Boonsboro’s finer seasons under coach Clayton Anders.
“(Brunswick) did a great job,” Anders said dejectedly. “They controlled the line of scrimmage and that’s where games are won and lost. We had trouble moving the ball.”
On defense, Brunswick strung out Boonsboro’s running attack and held the Warriors to minimal gains. Boonsboro managed just 186 yards of offense and eight first downs — 61 yards and three first downs in the first half — to steal the game.
The Railroaders sealed the game behind quarterback Collin Nusbaum, who controlled the game with his arm and his legs. The senior threw for his usual fare of 325 yards and two touchdowns, but also ran for 92 more yards, catching the Warriors when they were back flooding pass routes.
“They protected him just enough,” Anders said. “They don’t run a lot, but they use traps. That’s their braad and butter. We defended them and didn’t give up anything big, but they moved the chains.”
David Moore added 88 yards and three touchdowns to blow the game open.
The Warriors shut out the Railroaders 47-0 just three weeks ago — which made Friday’s loss sting worse.
Boonsboro took the lead early as Justin Jardeleza intercepted a pass and put the Warriors on the Railroaders’ 10-yard line. Boonsboro couldn’t punch it in and settled for a 26-yard field goal from Trevor Walsh to take a 3-0 lead with 3:28 to go in the first quarter.
Brunswick scored twice in the second quarter on a 3-yard run by Moore and Blaine Price’s 21-yard touchdown catch from Nusbaum to take a 14-3 halftime lead.
The Railroaders took the second-half kickoff and put together a 12-play drive, scoring on Moore’s 4-yard run to take a 20-3 lead.
Just when the Warriors looked like they were out of it, lightning struck.
Boonsboro marched down the field and scored on a fourth-and-goal play with fullback Jardeleza under center. He rolled out and found Nick Seabright for a 9-yard scoring pass with 2:23 to go in the third quarter.
After the ensuing kickoff, Zach Poffenberger intercepted a Nusbaum pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown to bring the Warriors within 20-16 with 2:08 left. Yep, that’s two scores in 15 seconds.
Brunswick put the game away from there when Boonsboro failed to come up with a stop.
“We weren’t able to get anything on the next possession,” Anders said. “We didn’t do anything.”
Nusbaum hit Douglas Pearl for an 18-yard score to give the Railroaders the backbreaking score for a 26-16 lead.
They put it away from there. Moore broke for a 28-yard score with 1:04 to go, and Shawn Largent intercepted a Chad Cowden pass and returned it 37 yards to the end zone to put the finishing touches on the upset.
Brunswick 39, Boonsboro 16
Brunswick 0 14 6 19 — 39
Boonsboro 3 0 13 0 — 16
Bo — Trevor Walsh 26 FG
Br — David Moore 3 run (Collin Nusbaum kick)
Br — Blaine Price 21 pass from Nusbaum (Nusbaum kick)
Br — Moore 4 run (run failed)
Bo — Nick Seabright 9 pass from Justin Jardeleza (Walsh kick)
Bo — Zach Poffenberger 35 interception return (kick failed)
Br — Douglas Pearl 18 pass from Nusbaum (kick blocked)
Br — Moore 28 run (kick failed)
Br — Shawn Largent 37 INT return (Nusbaum kick)
First downs 27 8
Rushes-yards 37-170 38-102
Passing yards 325 84
Comp-Att-Int 29-40-2 8-20-1
Total offense 77-495 58-186
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Punts-avg. 2-32.0 5-32.4
Penalties-yards 10-76 4-40