Chesapeake Coach Marlon Bailey has a nickname for the school where he coaches. He doesn’t call it Chesapeake. He simple refers to it as “The Peak.”
“We pretty much had to revamp what we thought about the program. I stopped calling it Chesapeake and I started calling it ‘the peak.’ What the peak means is the top. We’re going to get to the top,” Bailey said. “We want the top. I always want the kids thinking positive stuff, that we can get to the top.
“I tell them that we started out in the basement, eating scraps, and I don’t want to eat scraps anymore. I want to eat at the table with everyone else.”
Bailey’s Cougars (7-2, 5-0 Anne Arundel), who went 8-14 a year ago and 1-21 the year before that, are at the top so far this season, one of three teams in Anne Arundel County with unblemished county records. Chesapeake has lost just two games this season, against Severn and Cantonsville, but the Cougars are just now arriving at the meat of their schedule this week. Bailey has a nickname for that too. He’s calling this week “the buzzsaw.”
The gauntlet begins Monday against traditional Anne Arundel power Meade (4-4, 2-2) and concludes with matchups with the other two undefeated-in-county teams, Old Mill (5-5, 4-0) and Arundel (8-1, 4-0), on Wednesday and Friday. The Cougars’ last win over Arundel came in a 52-42 victory in 2006; they haven’t Old Mill in more than a decade. But Chesapeake senior Aaron Terry said he thinks this year’s team has the firepower to surprise some of the county’s powerhouse programs.
“I would say that back then, somebody would make a run and then same old Chesapeake, here we go, getting blown out,” Terry, a team captain, said. “Now it’s just like, we get a run, and people are just like ‘oh, what do we do now? Now we got to play.’ People think that we’re weak, but we’re not. It’s not the same Chesapeake. I feel like talent-wise, this is the best team we’ve ever had.”
Bailey, in his second year as coach at Chesapeake, said he’s looking forward to finally fielding a team that he feels can compete with the top-notch teams in Anne Arundel County. It’s a chance to earn respect around the county and prove, as Bailey said, “that we’re not the same old Chesapeake.”
“This week could really make a big statement, not only in Anne Arundel County, but in our kids’ lives, period,” he said. “I come from a culture of hard work beats talent any day, and we’ve done that. For our kids to see that, what hard work gets you, it could be huge for us. To go in and win two out of three, I’ll be crazy. If we win all three, you might have to write my obituary. I might die.”