Despite another week of frustration and losses to local jurisdictions by the Interhigh League schools, D.C. Public Schools Athletic Director Otto Jordan and H.D. Woodson Coach Bob Headen said they felt the Interhigh football program had improved over the past few years.
If last weekend was an indication of improvement, then someone needs to take another hard look on the field.
For the first time ever, Interhigh League schools played against Metro, Montgomery, Prince George's, IAC and northern Virginia opponents. And to no one's great surprise, Interhigh schools lost them all. The hardest loss to swallow was H.D. Woodson, then the area's top-ranked team, being routed at W.T. Woodson, 30-2, in a game that could have easily been much more lopsided.
Headen, who had very high hopes for this year's team, attributed the embarrassing loss to a number of things -- atmosphere, inexperience and injuries.
"I was definitely stunned at the result. And I still don't think they are 30 points better than we are," Headen said. "We just didn't play well and made mistakes that hurt us. We know everyone (in the city) was looking at how we would perform against the Virginia school and we disappointed some people. Maybe we were riding high and the atmosphere got to us."
Perhaps. A crowd of about 4,000 watched the two teams. H.D. Woodson was clearly outplayed and appeared confused at times. On several occasions, the Warrriors were caught with not enough or too many players on the field. They had six turnovers and a bundle of penalties that completely destroyed their game plan and confidence.
"If Woodson is No. 1 ranked and looks this outclassed, then our league is in serious trouble," said one Interhigh coach, scouting H.D. Woodson. "This is a serious indictment of our league and how far we still have to go."
Headen said his team will recover. "We'll adjust to the loss and I'm very glad we played," he said. "It was a good chance for us to gain exposure and we hope to play them again next year."
Jordan, on hand to watch Coolidge's 17-0 loss to Bethesda-Chevy Chase, said the cross-jurisdiction games provide a different perspective on the Interhigh programs.
"We play the other areas in other activities and it works well. I'm glad to see it extended to football," Jordan said. "It adds to the excitement. As far as them (other jurisdictions), you can't tell anything by one game."
In addition to the Woodson and Coolidge games, Cardozo lost to O'Connell, 29-6; Ballou to Potomac (Md.), 8-6; Eastern to Carroll, 26-0, and Wilson to Georgetown Prep, 37-14. The Interhigh League is 3-11 against outside competition this season.
Headen said several factors account for the Interhigh's bad record -- lack of a junior varsity program, adequate facilities and equipment; lack of enough paid coaches and a lack of commitment from each school's administration.
"I have a handful of volunteer coaches and W.T. Woodson had coaches everywhere," Headen said. "They have people upstairs (on the phones) and we don't. We could have sent someone upstairs but we don't use them in our league (there are no press boxes in the Interhigh) and we don't have a set of phones.
"We try hard and put in time but our program isn't on par with any of those schools. We do it for the kids and hope they appreciate what we do. Taking all things into consideration, I don't think they are that much better than we are."
H.D. Woodson has an excellent opportunity to redeem itself. The Warriors take on McNamara Saturday.