Say this for Osbourn junior quarterback Brandon Hogan: He knows how to jump-start a season.
Last year in the opener against Gar-Field, he raced 74 yards for a touchdown on his team's first play. This year, in the Eagles' initial series, he scampered for a 98-yard score.
But beginning with a bang has not been an Osbourn trademark. The team's 2-0 start this fall -- thanks in part to a new spread offense with Hogan at the helm -- is the Eagles' first since 1984, and the wins over Brooke Point and Forest Park are the program's first consecutive victories in the same season since 1997.
Tonight's nondistrict game against speedy Potomac (Va.), also 2-0, will be the stiffest challenge yet for the Eagles and Hogan, who has racked up 371 passing yards and four touchdowns and 250 rushing yards and two more scores. He completed his first 10 pass attempts last week against Forest Park.
Considering Osbourn was 21-69 as a Virginia AAA program entering the season, some have wondered aloud about how talented Hogan and Osbourn really are. The quarterback has heard as much through the ear hole of his helmet.
"They'll be tackling me [saying]: 'Y'all think you're all good, y'all switched your offense. You ain't going nowhere 21 [his uniform number],' " Hogan said. "Next play, house."
"He's definitely a difference maker," fourth-year Osbourn coach Steve Schultze said.
The past two seasons, Osbourn ran the single-wing offense, pounding the ball out of snug formations. But with bulky linemen graduating and an impressive stable of backs and receivers still in the program, Schultze wanted to force opponents to defend the entire field.
To prepare, Osbourn spent the offseason participating in passing camps and leagues; the school fielded three teams in a league at Dominion, with the first-string group winning the title. Hogan learned his reads and developed a rhythm with such wide receivers as senior Junior Sesay (five catches, 139 yards). Hogan's 15 completions this season have gone to six targets.
Osbourn has not reached the playoffs since 1992, when it played in AA, but this season might be different. Potomac is the first of only three teams on the schedule that posted winning varsity records a year ago, and the Cedar Run District has no glaring favorite.
"It's good to know you're part of something special, part of a change," senior center Matt Lahna said. "I think this is going to be the big breakthrough year."