In 1989, Northern was perfect through its first 11 games, advancing to the second of the consecutive Maryland 3A semifinals. Senior quarterback Sam Tayman was nearly the same.

Tayman, who threw about 10 passes per game, threw only one interception through those 11 games.

No records are kept for the smallest number of interceptions thrown. But, for the sake of comparison, Northern All-Met Sean Schaefer threw four interceptions last season, and no other SMAC team threw fewer than seven.

In addition to Tayman's slick passing, Northern's starting running back, Felbert Jones, a second-team All-Met, did not fumble all season.

"Coach [Jerry] Franks stressed not turning the ball over," Tayman said. "It's pretty easy to be successful when your quarterback and starting running back have one turnover all season."

On the last play of Northern's 12th game, a 13-0 loss to Magruder in the state semifinal, Tayman lofted a "Hail Mary" toward the end zone. It was intercepted.

Eight months later, Tayman was talking to a group of fellow freshmen at West Virginia University. One of the guys talked about how he made an interception to clinch a spot for his team in the state championship. Unaware of Tayman's background, he said he went to Magruder.

"You jerk," Tayman recalled telling him, "I was the guy who threw that."

-- Alan Goldenbach