Pinkney has not felt that way since. Douglass has won its past five games by shutout, outscoring its opponents 204-0. In fact, the Eagles (7-1, 6-1 PG 3A/2A/1A) have allowed just one touchdown to a team other than Gwynn Park this season, heading into Saturday’s game at Surrattsville (5-3, 3-3).
Douglass, which fell to Middletown in last season’s Maryland 2A final, can clinch a playoff spot for the 10th straight year with wins over the Hornets and Friendly (5-3) to close the season but could get left out of the field if they trip up in either game.
“We did the math [after the loss], and we knew if we lost another game, our playoff dreams could be shattered,” said Pinkney, whose team currently ranks third in the Maryland 2A South standings. “We’ve been treating it one week at a time – if we win, we stay alive.”
The team hasn’t discussed the shutout streak much in recent weeks, according to Pinkney. The coach said he has instead placed more importance on eliminating big plays and penalties.
During their current winning streak, the Eagles have not allowed a play of longer than 30 yards, and they committed just five penalties in last week’s 60-0 win over winless Central, two of which came on kickoffs out of bounds.
Senior Matthew Paul, an honorable mention All-Met linebacker in 2011, leads the squad with 60 tackles, and senior defensive end D’Sean Cummings — who holds six Division I scholarship offers — has a team-best six sacks on the year.
“It’s not about shutting people down, but you don’t want to let up,” Pinkney said. “If you give up a touchdown here and there, all the sudden you don’t mind giving up points and yards as much. It’s not as critical.”
Game to watch: No. 17 Patuxent (7-1) at Calvert (6-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
It’s not an understatement to say Calvert is about to play its biggest game in a decade.
Last week, the Cavaliers earned their sixth win in a season without the help of a forfeit for the first time since 2002, and with wins in the next two games against Southern Maryland Athletic Conference and Maryland 2A South rivals Patuxent and McDonough (7-1), Calvert will be back in the postseason for the first time since that year.
Lose either one, and Calvert will almost certainly be on the outside of the playoff picture again.
“For us to be able to win out and have a chance to be in the playoffs, that’s crazy,” second-year Calvert Coach Rick Sneade said. “To see Calvert be able to experience this atmosphere and come together like they have is awesome.”
Sneade was an assistant at Calvert when the Prince Frederick school won its only state championship in 2000, and at Huntingtown for its first two state tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010, but his first building project as a head coach has seen results quicker than expected.