Season recap: Brandon Ross
Every team that faced the Charter School of Wilmington (Del.) had the same objective before each game: stop Brandon Ross.
The Maryland-bound running back, however, made it exceedingly difficult for opponents to accomplish that feat.
“Our offense started and finished with Brandon,” said Force coach Tyran Rice. “He had a very productive season. He kind of had a target on his back. Definitely coming into this year, teams were game-planning on how to stop him. They’d put as many people into the box to try to stop him, and they’d play man-to-man on the outside to try and contain him. … With that being said, he had a very productive season.”
Ross finished his year with 1,172 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on 181 carries, plus 19 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior guided the Force to a 7-3 record – the best mark in Charter’s 10 years of existence.
The highlight of Ross’ senior year came against A.I. du Pont in the fourth game of Charter’s season. Snap after snap, Ross picked apart the Tigers’ defense.
“He caught a flare pass and took it the distance, I want to say about 80 yards or so,” Rice recalled. “But in the process he made two people miss and he outran another player’s angle. It looked like he was going to catch him, but he just turned it up another gear and outran him to the end zone.”
The final tally for Ross that night was five catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 155 yards and another score on 22 carries. There was no rest for Ross against A.I. du Pont – or any other team on Charter’s schedule – when the Force’s defense took the field. The future Terp also started at cornerback.
“Having him play both sides of the ball was definitely taxing on him,” Rice said. “When you carry the ball 20-plus times and are the focal point of someone’s offense, then get out there and play defense as well, it can break you down a little bit. But Brandon did a pretty good job with that. There were a couple games where he had to come out and get a blow and get back on the field. But he’s able to do that. He went through the year and played every game. Not every kid is built for that, but he knew before the season that he was going to have to be in great shape. He’s a very hard worker and did everything he needed to do to get his body ready.”
Coaching leaves Rice without much free time to pay close attention to college football, but he’s well aware of Maryland’s rebound season. While he hasn’t had any recent in-depth discussions with the Terps staff regarding their plans for Ross as a freshman, Rice thinks it will be a relatively smooth transition to college.
“A kid like Brandon can fit into any system,” Rice said. “He has the speed that you just can’t coach. On top of that, he’s a hard worker and he’s going to do whatever the coaches tell him to. I’ve seen his growth in our program. A lot of that is attributed to him doing what he needs to do during the offseason. … He definitely is something special on offense. Now I know ACC football is a big jump from what we’re seeing in Delaware. But I feel like once he gets there, gets in the weight room and learns the system, he’ll be fine.”