The process of rebuilding the football program at Hayfield High School has been neither quick and easy nor without its share of frustration, but the strongest indication of how far Coach Jerry Lowe has taken the Hawks in four years may have come in a nonleague game which opened the season.
In its 1985 opener, Hayfield, playing with a hobbling offensive line, made a 54-yard, first-quarter touchdown run by Carl Borden stand up for a 7-3 victory over Robinson. The Rams, always one of the notable teams in the Northern Region, were 9-1 last year.
The Hawks followed that with a 10-0 victory over Langley last weekend.
Hayfield has been working toward this year under Lowe, who previously had been an assistant for eight years at W.T. Woodson. The Hawks had lost 17 straight games when he took over, and went 0-10 in 1982, Lowe's first season.
But Hayfield opened the 1983 season with a 13-6 victory and finished 4-6. Last year, the Hawks were 6-4 and had a brush with contention for the Gunston District title.
This year, with more than 20 seniors who have been nurtured through Lowe's system--which is based around a power-I and multiple-I offense--the Hawks could win the district.
"I don't think the whole situation here before I came was as much chaotic as it was a total lack of confidence," said Lowe, who will rely on senior quarterback Joel Neufang to direct the offense and senior nose guard Jerry Claytor to lead the defense. "Everything has been optimistic since about the third or fourth game into that first season. I don't know if beating Robinson was especially significant, but it was a confidence builder for us. And this week, I've had more people come up to me and say, 'Good game,' than any other week since I've been here."
It apparently has not taken long for Robinson to feel the effects of losing two-time all-Met back Chris Warren.
Warren, who is playing in the secondary and on special teams this year at the University of Virginia while awaiting his chance to play in the Cavaliers' offensive backfield, rushed more than 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons for the Rams.
In Robinson's opener against Hayfield, the Rams gained only 58 yards in 25 rushing attempts. For the second game of the season against Herndon, Coach Nick Hilgert decided to promote 5-foot-10, 150-pound sophomore Frank Williams from the junior varsity, but the result was a 3-0 loss to Herndon.
"How much do we miss Chris? Well, I hadn't really noticed he was gone -- until that opening game," joked Hilgert. "He is 6-2, 215 pounds and he always got a few yards no matter what developed on the play. This year, it seemed we are always stopped behind the line of scrimmage."
MCI, the telecommunications company, will award trophies this year to high school and college varsity football players in six mid-Atlantic regions who execute the longest scoring runs during the 1985 season. In addition, scholarships totaling $35,000, to be used for recognition of either athletic or academic achievements, will be given to the schools represented by the winning players.
The coleaders in the Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia region are Darwin Bridges of H.D. Woodson in the District, who scored on an 80-yard run, and Hayfield's Mike Tyler, who had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.