As he prepares his team for Saturday's Maryland Class AA state championship football game against Churchill at 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium, Springbrook Coach Bob Milloy says he's not interested in phrases like "team of destiny" or "out for revenge."
He doesn't even care that Churchill has been his school's biggest rival the past 15 years and defeated the Blue Devils, 10-9, in the final game of the regular season.
But Milloy, who led Springbrook to three straight state titles from 1979 to 1981, can't deny there is a certain irony about Saturday's game. When the Blue Devils finished the regular season with back-to-back losses to Seneca Valley and Churchill, their only hope to qualify for the playoffs was as an at-large team.
Had this been any other season, the Blue Devils (10-2) would not have been given a second chance. The state opted to go to an eight-team format this season and Springbrook qualified as the eighth team.
That meant the Blue Devils first had to play top-seeded Bowie, which they crushed, 32-12. Next came High Point in the semifinals, where Springbrook's 17-14 victory set up an all-Montgomery County final for the first time and gave it another shot at Churchill.
"I know that every year (Churchill is) the biggest game on our schedule and all of a sudden we're playing them in the biggest game of the year, but we can't dwell on things like that," Milloy said. "I'm not even interested in revenge -- that doesn't matter. This is for the state championship, and I don't care if we're playing Largo, Friendly or Kennedy. All we're concentrating on is winning that game."
Churchill (11-1) is noted for its defense, whereas Springbrook's big-play offense offers impressive performers at all the skill positions: quarterback Todd Wolfram, fullback Mike McCall, halfback Ron Pharr and receivers David Mathes and Kevin Williamson. Place-kicker Dave Behrmann was named an All-Met for the second straight year.
"If we win this game, there'll be a great sense of satisfaction for me, even more than the two teams I had that went 12-0," Milloy said. "If you get knocked down the way we did at the end of the season and bounce back to win it all, it'll be a credit to these players. They'll carve themselves a piece of Springbrook history."