It was sometime around 5 a.m. Saturday when the phone rang, waking up Potomac running back Antoinial Coles. On the other end was teammate Stephan Stanback, who was calling several teammates at various hours of the night to make sure they were prepared for that afternoon's Maryland 2A championship game.
"I told him I was going to be ready when it was time to play," Coles said. "He didn't have to keep calling me."
Indeed, after a little stumble at the outset, Potomac's players were plenty ready -- whether they stayed up all night or got some shut-eye. Coles rushed for three touchdowns and Stanback forced two fumbles that teammates recovered in the end zone for touchdowns, leading the 20th-ranked Wolverines to a 38-3 victory over South Carroll before 2,000 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Potomac (12-2) trailed 3-0 after the first quarter -- the first time it was behind since mid-October -- but the Wolverines quickly turned things around to become the first football team from Prince George's County to win consecutive state titles.
"Let me just say this, back to back is sweet," Potomac Coach Eric Knight said. "That's been our goal all year long."
Throughout the postseason it has been an especially tiresome task for several of the Wolverines, as they pulled all-nighters on the eve of the games. Standout linebacker Adrian McLeod, who caught a 36-yard touchdown pass Saturday, said he played video games, watched a movie and some video of South Carroll before Stanback called him at 4:30 a.m.
"When he asked if I'm ready, I said, 'I've been ready since we left practice,' " McLeod said.
Coles intercepted a pass to halt one South Carroll drive in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, after a 20-yard pass from quarterback James Nickens to wide receiver Bobby Shannon converted a fourth down, Coles scored on a three-yard run to give Potomac a 6-3 lead.
South Carroll (10-4) had some success throwing the ball to running backs in the flat, but that did not last long, as Stanback was able to rush almost untouched from his defensive end position. Potomac punted on the possession after it took the lead, but Stanback sacked the quarterback for a 12-yard loss and stripped the ball, which Rodney Jackson fell on in the end zone for a touchdown.
Potomac's next possession ended with Coles scoring on a 20-yard run, and it was 20-3 at halftime.
Coles added a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and three plays later, Stanback made his fourth sack, again stripping the ball. This time, Chris Mason recovered in the end zone to make it 32-3.
"Every time [the South Carroll quarterback] held the ball, he held it down on his waist," Stanback said. "The coaches said that every time we hit him to make sure the ball came out."
Stanback had plenty of time to think about the scouting report. He said he was prepared to go to sleep Friday night before deciding to remain awake.
"I was sitting in bed at 10 and figured, 'I may as well not go to sleep,' " Stanback said. "I knew I was ready, so I might as well stay up."