“This year the main goal is to become a state championship team for the first time in school history,” said Harris III, the Hornets junior quarterback. “Make history for Surrattsville, change the culture. That’s the main goal.”
The Hornets have made the playoffs just twice since 2001 and have never made it more than two games deep in that time. But Harris, whose father, also Robert, coaches the Hornets, is well aware of the history, and has no illusions about how challenging achieving the goals will be.
“I think we’ve had a great season so far, but we still have a lot to work on,” Harris said. “We’re trying to make minimal mistakes and cut back on mental mistakes: the things that could change games.”
Harris, himself, is emerging as a game-changer. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder has thrown for 352 yards and nine touchdowns in a run heavy offense. In addition to wanting to help Surrattsville football to a tradition-defying season, Harris hopes a good season can propel him into next summer’s camp season and a chance at the next level.
“I know my height will be a big obstacle to me playing quarterback in college, but I’m hoping to overcome the odds and play at the next level,” He said. “I feel like I’ve done okay [so far this season]. I don’t feel like I’ve played to the best of my abilities yet. I need to improve as the year goes on, and I’m looking forward to improving each week.”
Harris’s colleague in the Hornets’ backfield, running back Amaru Major, is the D.C. area’s ninth-leading rusher heading into this week’s games with 891 yards and 10 touchdowns. Major, also a junior, has rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season, and over 200 for three straight.
“His speed and his power [are what make him so tough],” Harris said of Major. “He has one of the best stiff-arms I’ve ever seen.”
As he uses it to brush away opposing defenders, Major also hopes that stiff arm and the speed behind it will propel him to a college career. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound Major says he’s “getting looks” from area schools, and has been going to camps, but will be able to make an even bigger push after this season. For now, he’s hoping he can continue at the pace that’s made his junior season the best of his career so far.
“I set goals for a certain amount of yards, certain amount of touchdowns, and for this to be one of my best years in my four years of high school,” Major said. “It’s been my best.”
Major said his team set specific goals, too — goals they’re still in a position to achieve at the season’s halfway point.
“We had a lot of goals set in the summertime,” he said. “We were determined to win, go far, win our division, be in the playoffs and go to the championship.”
If the Hornets can’t achieve those goals this season, Harris and Major will be back again next year to try again with a Surrattsville team that’s starting to expect winning, rather than hope for it.
“The mentality is way different [now],” Harris said. “Our players have the mind-set that we’re going to go all the way, and that’s what we’ve really been lacking in the past.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 1
– The must-read story of Patuxent running back Rafiq Douglas
– A little bit about Surrattsville’s Saturday opponent Forestville and its defense’s focus on donuts. Literally.
– Amaru Major is ninth in the region in rushing, but the Potomac School’s Jalen Broome is number one.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: