By Mike London
SALISBURY — A Ledford third-and-3 operating play within the first quarter of Thursday’s Central Carolina Convention recreation was met with stunning drive by a tall, lean Salisbury Hornet.
That deal with for loss led to at least one extra punt in a nightmarish first half for the Panthers, who by no means might get something going offensively at Ludwig Stadium. The guests took a 42-6 pounding from the quickly bettering Hornets (4-2, 3-2), who will likely be within the state playoffs in the event that they win at South Rowan on Friday.
The rangy man who made the third-down hit in opposition to Ledford — 6-foot-1 senior Brandon Broadway — appears like a powerful security, however he’s undoubtedly a defensive finish. He enjoys proving that each week.
“I’m sort of skinny for the road, I suppose,” Broadway mentioned. “However for those who do the fitting issues and play your coronary heart out for the group you are able to do it.”
Broadway’s dream is to get to 200 kilos. He’s at 193.5 proper now. Sure, 193.5. That half-pound is essential to him. It’s onerous to maintain the burden on throughout soccer season, even a shortened spring season.
Broadway has competed in observe and discipline and wrestling, however soccer is his ardour.
He got here to the game comparatively late. He didn’t play soccer within the youth leagues.
“My first soccer was at Harmony Center Faculty,” Broadway mentioned. “Seventh grade. Operating again. However that didn’t work out so effectively.”
He ultimately turned a defensive lineman. He returned to Salisbury — the town the place he was born — previous to his junior season.
The Hornets teaching workers was glad to have him, however was skeptical that he might play on a defensive position the place they’ve some massive, thick guys.
“We tried Broadway as a DB and vast receiver and tried him as an outdoor linebacker,” Salisbury head coach Brian Hinson mentioned. “These positions weren’t the fitting match.”
Hinson informed the story of how the Hornets have been popping out flat after commonplace warmups final season, in order that they shook issues up some, incorporating vigorous one-on-one drills to get the depth degree up. Throughout a kind of drills, Broadway acquired down in a three-point stance and breast-plated the man throughout from him, driving him backwards 5 yards.
“Everybody acquired jacked up,” Hinson mentioned. “And we realized that whereas he may not appear to be it, Broadway was a defensive finish.”
Broadway acquired most of his motion final season on particular groups.
“That was my position, so I attempted to be nice on particular groups,” Broadway mentioned. “Poured my coronary heart into it.”
Because the 2019 season went on, particularly through the lengthy playoff run, he was getting extra snaps on the defensive position, because the deep Hornets rotated contemporary our bodies. He made three tackles and recovered a fumble within the loss to Shelby within the 2AA state championship recreation.
With Blaine Shellhorn graduating, the Hornets moved Broadway right into a beginning spot at defensive finish, and he’s been as much as the problem.
“He’s carried out the job,” Hinson mentioned. “Bodily, he’s rather a lot stronger than he was in 2019, And whenever you mix that added power together with his fast get-off and a variety of effort you’ve acquired a very good participant.”
Broadway is a pupil of the sport. He’s discovered new strikes as a pass-rusher and he’s been placing them to make use of.
He’s been impactful, particularly the final two weeks. He mentioned he’s been impressed by some good pregame speeches.
He had two tackles for loss in opposition to Ledford in opposition to the run recreation, plus a sack and a half. He was additionally credited with two QB pressures.
“He got here off the sting, flattened out and acquired straight to the quarterback on one play,” Hinson mentioned. “Textbook sack. You’ll be able to’t do it any higher.”
Ledford’s solely rating got here on a kickoff return. Ledford has a stable group with a properly balanced offense that put up 421 yards the earlier week in opposition to stout Oak Grove.
However Salisbury shut the Panthers down. On 15 passing makes an attempt, Ledford netted a meager 25 yards. On 35 dashing performs, Ledford acquired 85 yards. Ledford again Christian Franklin is method above common, and he had an 18-yard run in opposition to the Hornets. On his different 21 carries, he totaled 23 yards. He was operating into human brick partitions, a few of them thick, however a few of them on the lean facet.
Broadway likes to listen to lockdown numbers like that. He is aware of he made errors on Thursday — he was given a 74% grade by the teaching workers — however often he’ll out-work or out-quick his errors.
“I like that folks have a look at me and don’t suppose I could make performs on the defensive position,” Broadway mentioned. “I prefer it that folks say I’m not sufficiently big. That’s my motivation. Each recreation, I’ve the mindset of going on the market and proving that I belong.”