Throwback Thursday: Readying for Friday night lights

This time seven years ago, area high school football teams were preparing for high-profile season openers, readying themselves for seasons loaded with expectation, the hosts crafting their Friday night atmosphere with as much dedication as they did their game plans.

Not much has changed since Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007. Most Virginia schools this year already have a game to their names and exhausted the fanfare of their home openers, but with most Maryland teams opening Friday or Saturday, plenty of athletic directors and coaches are scrambling through the post-Labor Day haze to ready themselves and their teams for the biggest event on their school’s athletic calendar.

So the piece found on the front page of the sports section on the first Thursday in September seven years ago is still entirely relevant, a week spent with then-Robinson athletic director Mike McGurk as he readied the Rams’ field for their opener against Lake Braddock.


The story’s author, Eli Saslow, is now “Pulitzer-Prize Winning” Eli Saslow, after he won the award this year for a series he wrote for The Post about the challenges facing people who live on food stamps. As for the Rams, they won that game 21-0, and finished the season 6-6. Westfield and Stone Bridge went on to win state titles that season.


Other notable tidbits found in the sports section seven years ago today:

  • It was opening night for the NFL — as is tonight — so a Colts vs. Saints, Manning vs. Brees preview was mentioned on the sports section’s front page.
  • Then-Redskins defensive back Fred Smoot had a broken jaw, rehabbed it by chewing gum, then trash-talked anyway.
  • There was a story about how Ben Olsen’s scoring output was sparking D.C. United. For those who don’t know, Olsen is currently United’s head coach and leading the club through an outstanding MLS season.
  • Todd Collins was named the Redskins’ backup quarterback, behind Jason Campbell.
  • Here was Nats headline befitting the times: “Safely in Fourth with Fifth-straight win.”
  • A high school sports preview page picked Centennial atop the Post’s preseason volleyball rankings and Severna Park at No. 1 in the field hockey poll. Centennial is not ranked in this season’s preseason Top 10. Severna Park, though, is No. 1 yet again.

Related: Prince George’s County athletes play on despite poor field conditions

Chelsea Janes covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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