The Severna Park 8U Green Hornets football team saved its biggest victory of the season for the final game of the year as they came from behind to beat previously undefeated Old Mill 35-25 in double overtime of the Anne Arundel Youth Football Association Central Division championship game at Glen Burnie High School on November 10.
The team of Berk Acikgoz, Marshall Brocketts, Liam Brown, Matt Bruffey, Jayden Cobbs, Isaiah Cooley, Axel Cornett, Christian DeLuca, Cash Donaldson, Corbin Fockler, Griffin Fowler, Parker Housel, Mason Jones, Gunnir Listman, Matthew McKee, Tyler Morgan, Wyatt Priem, Derek Rogers, Harrison Rumney, Raymond Schummer, Maxwell Stimson, Zayden Tasker and Blake Youngs finished the season 11-1 overall and avenged its only loss of the year by beating Old Mill in the final.
Severna Park’s road to the championship was challenging. After a first-round victory over Harundale, the Green Hornets faced Cape St. Claire in the semifinal, a team they had beaten twice in the regular season. The Cougars put up a stiff fight and led Severna Park by a touchdown with less than one minute left, but Fowler, the quarterback, hit Morgan in stride with a perfectly-executed 60-yard bootleg pass for a game-tying touchdown with 34 seconds remaining. In overtime, Shummer scored a rushing touchdown to lift Severna Park to the win.
In the championship game, the Hornets again trailed late in the game against Old Mill, the only team that had beaten them in the regular season. Morgan broke free on a 35-yard sweep for a touchdown with two minutes left to send the game into overtime, and Shummer secured the championship with a rushing score in double overtime.
The core group of the team, which also played together as 7-year-olds last season, has a 21-3 record over two seasons together, including 5-1 in the playoffs.
The team lost in the championship game in 2018 and saw 2019 as their redemption season.
“The boys set a goal in the summer of 2019 to do whatever it takes to get back to the dance, and they came through,” said head coach Matt Bruffey, who coached the team with Brad Fowler, Ryan Priem, Derek Cobbs and Chris Deluca. “They are extremely tough, hard hitters, and winning is in their DNA. Never ever gave up and played every down like it was their last.”
Bruffey cited the standout play and leadership of Fowler, Shummer, Morgan and Bruffey Jr. and the addition of Cobbs to the team as key factors in the group’s success, as part of the team from 2018 moved up to the 9U level this season and left behind several players to take their turn leading the squad.
“They were actually rooting for Old Mill to win their semifinals game so they could play the team that beat them in the championship,” said coach Bruffey. “That’s a unique quality. Without a doubt I am most proud of their ability to lead the new players and never give up and play until the last whistle. Continuing to play when you’re down late in a game at this age is extremely tough, but they never quit.”