Gaithersburg Athletic Director Steve Yachmetz, 52, underwent a kidney transplant on Oct. 20. He still has some pain when he walks, and doctors won't let him drive. But he was at Byrd Stadium on Friday to watch his Trojans play Eleanor Roosevelt for the Maryland 4A football title.
The Trojans lost, 41-13, but just being there to see it was a small victory for Yachmetz. It marked only the second time since the surgery that he had been away from his home for an extended period.
"Before I left, I told [football coach John] Harvill that I would be at Byrd Stadium if he got [the team] there," said Yachmetz, who watched the game from the press box. "The deal with my wife was I could go to the game, but I couldn't sit outside."
Yachmetz was not allowed to watch the game from the stands because the medication he is taking makes him susceptible to viruses. He takes 42 pills daily, five of which render his immune system defenseless (which is necessary for the body to accept the new kidney); the other 37 help his body ward off infection.
"My body seems to have accepted the kidney," Yachmetz said yesterday. "I haven't had any problems yet, knock on wood."
Yachmetz's kidney was damaged by strep throat when he was 2. He had known for some time that he might eventually develop trouble with his kidney. A year ago, during a routine checkup, doctors told him he had about nine months before the kidney would shut down.
So last December, Yachmetz asked to be added to the University of Maryland Transplant Center's list for a new kidney. He was told it could take 2 1/2 years to find a suitable donor. Meantime, Yachmetz and his family immediately began seeking a donor on their own. The search began with his wife and daughter, but they have different blood types.
His daughter, Holly McBride, turned to the Internet. McBride constructed a site on the World Wide Web explaining her father's situation and asking for potential donors.
Last fall, she got a response from Ken Horrocks, a friend who had attended Roger Williams College in Bristol, R.I., with her more than a decade earlier.
Horrocks, now a counselor at a drug rehabilitation center in New England, had kept in contact with McBride through the years and agreed to undergo the necessary tests. He was a match. Yachmetz and Horrocks met for the first time on July 9. The next time they saw each other was when Yachmetz picked up Horrocks at the airport, two days before the transplant surgery.
"He's just a very, very special person to want to do that for someone else," Yachmetz said of Horrocks. "I was really pretty lucky. I talk with Ken about once a week and he plans to come down here for a visit in a little while."
Yachmetz plans to return to work at Gaithersburg on Jan. 3.
An Upsetting Result
Culpeper's 20-17 overtime victory over nationally ranked Hampton Saturday in the Virginia AAA Division 5 semifinals was one of the biggest upsets in the state's history. The thrilling game was decided by two key plays in the extra period.
The first was made by Culpeper's Mike Greenaway, who kicked a 27-yard field goal to put the Blue Devils ahead, 20-17. The second, and perhaps more crucial, was made by Hampton quarterback Marcus Hagans, who drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for tossing the ball in the direction of a Culpeper player after he was sacked for a two-yard loss. The penalty moved the Crabbers from inside the 5-yard line to the 20.
On the next play, Hagans's third-down pass fell incomplete. On fourth down, the Crabbers' 37-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
"People do funny things when they are under pressure," Culpeper Coach Lou Sorrentino said, referring to the penalty on Hagans. "It was a timely mistake."
A few numbers to help illustrate the magnitude of Culpeper's upset: Hampton, which had won four straight state titles and 18 straight playoff games dating from 1996, lost for the first time in 25 games and for the second time in 67. This season Hampton outscored its opponents 548-26, scored 40 points in 10 of 12 games and shut out eight of 11 opponents.
Culpeper (13-0) plays for its first state championship at 1 p.m. Saturday against Henrico (12-1) at University of Richmond Stadium.
After bouncing punt snaps in the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region Division 6 championship victory over North Stafford, Hylton was concerned about its special teams entering the state semifinals Saturday against Princess Anne. A five-yard punt to close the first series did nothing to alleviate those concerns.
But Hylton did not have to punt again, and stellar special teams play helped lift the Bulldogs to a 38-13 home victory and a state championship rematch against Varina at 4 p.m. Saturday at University of Richmond Stadium.
Junior D.J. Walton had a 63-yard kickoff return, a 28-yard punt return, a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 42-yard kickoff return. Walton, the second-team all-Cardinal District punt returner, had been impatiently awaiting returnable kicks for much of the season.
"Everybody usually kicks it away from me or kicks it out of bounds or kicks it to somebody else," said Walton, who also rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown.
"I think he's been starved to death wanting kicks he can return," Hylton Coach Bill Brown said. . . .
After Seneca Valley's 41-0 romp over Thomas Stone in the Maryland 3A final on Saturday, Coach Terry Changuris's eyes moistened when he was asked about senior quarterback Chris Kelley, who tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another in his final game.
"I sure am going to miss that boy," he said. "Not only is he probably the finest football player I've ever coached, but I loved him like a son. We're extremely close. Our relationship goes past coach and player."
Staff writers Josh Barr, Preston Williams and Alan Goldenbach contributed to this report.
CAPTION: Despite being pulled down by Princess Anne's John Brower Saturday, Derrick Gatlin and Hylton are on way to Virginia AAA Division 6 state final vs. Varina.