What a win it was for the Sherwood Warriors in the State 4A Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
The Warriors capped off a perfect 14-0 season with a dominating 21-3 win over a powerful Linganore team that also came into the title game undefeated.
It’s the 3rd State Title for Sherwood as the Warriors won back-to-back 4A championships under Bob Milloy in 1995 and 1996.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS:
With the win, Sherwood Head Coach Al Thomas became the first coach to win a state title at three different schools. The 69-year-old cancer survivor had turned the trick at Seneca Valley ( 5 times) and at Damascus (2 times). Thomas showed the emotion of a teenager at the end of the game as he ran around the field at M&T Bank Stadium hugging his players. And while he had won 7 state titles coming into the game, this is his first state championship with his son on his coaching staff. 44 years a coach and he proved he’s still going strong. You know John Harvill (who gave Thomas his first coaching job as an assistant at Gaithersburg High School in 1964) is very proud of his protege.
It seemed like all of Olney made the ride across 108 to 32 to 95 to 395 to MLK to M&T Bank Stadium. And like they have all year, the student section stood the entire game (as did most of the fans). Some championship game veterans said it was the biggest crowd they have ever seen for a high school title game at M&T Bank Stadium. And how about all the signs that lined the roads (and overpasses) between Olney and Baltimore that the players and the coaches saw during their drive to the big game. Sherwood High School has the State 4A Championship football team and also State Championship fans. I wonder if there are any hand warmers left at any store anywhere near Olney. It was also nice to see all the signs posted across Olney by businesses wishing the Warriors well.
What a career Zack Splain capped-off with the State Title win against Linganore. The senior ended up throwing 35 touchdown passes this season. None bigger than the one he threw to James Oboh to open the scoring against Linganore. Zack had the unenviable task of filling the shoes of Deontay Twyman and all he did was lead his team to a state title. Job well done.
Like they have all season, Sherwood players delivered some huge hits from start to finish against Linganore. The Lancers averaged 43 points a game over the season and 53 points a game during the playoffs. All they could muster against Sherwood was 3 points. Some of the biggest hits of the night (and I’m sure I’ll leave out a few names) went to Steven Gamble, Thomas Huff, Phil Durrity, Chris Everet, Sosthene Kapapula, Ralph George, Hasani Samms, and even JV call-up Dillon Hubbard on special teams. I bet Linganore has never played a team that hit like Sherwood. I think QO would say the same.
It was a perfect season for Andy Estrain. The little Sherwood kicker nailed three extra points and finsihses the season with something like 68 straight extra points. His family was known “back in the day” as a great baseball family in Silver Spring. Now the Estrains can hang their hats on a football championship that Andy helped win with his right leg.
Do you think James Oboh, Dominique Davis and Hasani Samms will ever forget the touchdowns they score on the field turf at M&T Bank Stadium? I don’t think so.
The Amazing Kreskin
It was like Sherwood assistant coach Ronnie Sterling knew all along the Warriors were going to win it. At Al Thomas’ side on the sidelines, the former Wheaton High School standout receiver had a smile on his face from start to finish against Linganore. After taking a year off from coaching last season, I know coach Sterling played a big role in this memorable season at Sherwood.
Champions Par Duex
Steve Norcio and Al Thomas have something very much in common now. Each of these coaches have now won a championship with many of the same players. While Thomas had them in high school, it was Norcio who led the likes of Steven Gamble, Ralph George, Matt Emerson, Zack Splain and Chris Everett (if i left anyone out I apologize) to back-to-back Pop Warner Championships when he coached the OBGC Bears. And Steve wasn’t even there to see his former players win another title on Friday night. That’s because he is down in Orlando trying to lead a Pop Warner team from White Oak to a championship. Something tells me he knew how Friday night’s game in Baltimore would turn out.