It was a cold and rainy night. And getting out of the inclement weather did little to help the spirits of Potomac's football players after their 33-25 loss to Aberdeen in the Maryland 2A championship game.
In an interview room in the bowels of M&T Bank Stadium, quarterback Harold Dorman, a few teammates and Coach Eric Knight gathered to meet the media. Two Wolverines quickly ducked out of the room. Dorman, though, answered every question in a calm, unwavering voice.
Potomac had been so close to winning its first state title. The Wolverines led 25-7 at halftime, at which point, Knight said, "I thought 50 points was going to be easy."
Instead, Dorman missed part of the third quarter after dehydrating, Potomac lost in overtime, 33-25, and Prince George's County teams were left without a state title for the first time in three years.
It was a disappointing end for a football season in a county littered with talented players.
Eleanor Roosevelt dominated Prince George's 4A league competition, posting six consecutive shutouts. With a defense led by ends Derrick Harvey and Trey Covington -- who signed with Florida and Maryland, respectively -- and an offense led by running back Theirrien Davis (Virginia) and standout junior quarterback Derrick Williams, the Raiders seemed invincible. But a 14-7 loss to Damascus in the 4A state semifinals ended their season.
In the Prince George's 3A/2A league, Syracuse-bound quarterback Quinton Brown and Douglass went undefeated but lost to Gwynn Park in the playoffs. The Yellow Jackets then went to Linganore and dropped a 7-0 decision in the 3A state semifinals after an inadvertent whistle wiped out a sure touchdown for Gwynn Park.
That left Potomac, with the strong-armed Dorman, to represent the county in the state finals in Baltimore. After being rescheduled by a snowstorm, the game was played in less-than-ideal conditions. Potomac seemed on its way to victory, then was derailed in the second half, leaving Knight and Dorman to explain what happened.
"Harold is truly as gifted off the field as he is on the field," Knight said. "He showed signs of a true champion right there. He played his heart out, and then he showed a lot of maturity, to come in there. I felt the way he answered questions, it was a way for me to see he was ready for the next level. He's the guy that took us to the state title game. I think he showed signs of being a winner even in a losing situation."
Dorman later accepted a football scholarship to Alabama A&M.
The county's lone football title went to DeMatha, which allowed only 54 points in 12 games and went undefeated in winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.
"We didn't have a problem on that team the entire year," Stags Coach Bill McGregor said. "That was as unselfish a group as I've ever coached. Their whole thing was for the team."
The county's lone public school champion came from the Eleanor Roosevelt girls' soccer team. Despite having several key players sidelined by injuries, the Raiders won their first Maryland 4A title. Roosevelt finished second in the Maryland 4A girls' cross-country championship, led by Andrea Wright, Jennifer Redman and Caitlin Salins.
But the lingering disappointment came in the fall's most prominent sport. Instead of celebrating a title, the county's teams must look ahead to next year. Williams will be one of the nation's top recruits. Potomac will be led by standout linemen Gus Parrish and Brandon Jackson and wide receiver Korey Coles. Gwynn Park also is expected to contend again.
"For all of us to come up empty-handed . . . there was just too much talent in this county," Knight said. "I think all of us who were there, in our hearts, we can't wait to get back there."