River Hill High School’s football team, coming off of a tough loss to county foe Marriotts Ridge in overtime the week prior, was looking to get back on track against Wilde Lake on Oct. 4.
Up 14-0 in the second quarter, the Hawks’ offense pulled off a 60-yard touchdown, but a key part of that play came from an interesting source.
“Way to get that extra block out there! That’s what we need,” River Hill assistant coach Jimmie Owens exclaimed to Maryland football commit Beau Brade after his block on the edge led to the score by teammate Zachary Igwebe. Brade is committed to the Terps as a safety, but he plays both ways for the Hawks.
That play was just one example of who Brade, one of the top players coming out of Maryland in 2020, is: a competitor and a teammate.
“[Brade] is constantly watching film for not only himself, but his teammates too so he knows what everyone’s job is in every situation, not only his,” River Hill senior running back Anthony Behrmann said. “He also started the year off strong, rushing for over 100 yards in multiple games, but as the season went on he started to pick up the role of being the lead blocker on many runs. And he took on that role of blocking way more than getting the ball with open arms, and you would never hear a complaint out of his mouth.”
The path of football was shown to Brade early on by his dad, who got him to try flag football and eventually transition to the Columbia Ravens and Western Howard County Warhawks programs.
River Hill head football coach Brain Van Deusen first came across Brade before he reached the high school level.
“We first saw Beau at summer camps while he was in middle school,” Van Deusen said. “He had good size and great instincts at that age. We saw a lot of potential and figured he could help us on varsity as a freshman.”
That potential has certainly shined through as Van Deusen — who also coached eventual NFL talents Michael Campanaro and Kevin Johnson at River Hill — mentioned that Brade will go down as one of the greatest players in school history.
Brade’s game combines speed and strength to make plays on both sides of the ball, which has helped him become just the second player in Howard County history to reach 400 career tackles.
“Beau has always been very aggressive and a great tackler,” Van Deusen said. “His knowledge of the game and scouting offenses has improved over the years. His ability to read the quarterback and the receiver routes allows him to make big plays on defense. His coverage and ball skills have improved each year and that has produced more interceptions.”
This play style has been noticed by Maryland coaches, who have even told Brade that they intend to use him in a similar way to Antoine Brooks Jr. as a safety-linebacker hybrid. The Terrapins could be looking to pair Brade and current true freshman Nick Cross together, which is a welcomed idea by the River Hill recruit.
“Just seeing [Cross] be able to get some playing time, to start, has a lot of influence in me,” said Brade. “I’ve talked to him too because he’s from Maryland and went to DeMatha and we worked out some too. Just looking at how strong he is and how he works and competes, I’m looking forward to playing with and against him.”
Maryland football’s committed players keep up with each other with a group chat, and being able to watch film and highlights from future teammates has been a key motivation for Brade — especially close conversations with fellow defensive backs Devyn King and Tarheeb Still.
Brade was also able to take in Maryland’s home matchup against Indiana, and despite the tough loss, he is optimistic about the future of the program and shared the mindset of other current committed players.
“We know it’s coach [Mike] Locksley and his staff’s first year there,” Brade said. “There’s some stuff that they still have to teach the players and they’re in the Big Ten for the first time, so we knew that this year was going to be a little skeptical. But next year I’m really excited for what’s going to happen and the years to come after that.”
For now though, Brade is keeping his sights set on the MPSSAA State Football Tournament and trying to put River Hill back on top. The Hawks open up their 2019 playoff run on Nov. 8, as they host Howard County foe Wilde Lake.
“We’re still looking forward to going out and practicing hard every week,” Brade said. “With all that’s happened at River Hill in the past with their four state championships, we have the chance to be another great River Hill team.”