“Once that happened, it’s like we came to life,” said Maret coach Mike Engelberg. “It’s like, ‘Wait a minute. We are a football team.” ”
As coach of Maret’s most inexperienced team in almost two decades, Engelberg had been waiting for his players to find their feet. After Hill’s game against Severn, the Frogs did just that.
Maret scored two touchdowns in the first 80 seconds of the fourth quarter. What was a close game for three periods turned to defeat in Maret’s 40-7 win at Severna Park.
“The fourth quarter was something like our awakening,” Engelberg said. “You saw how we became a team. Going into this fourth quarter, all of us just have a sense of, like, “What are we doing?” And then suddenly in the fourth quarter … the kids say, ‘Wait a minute – we can do this.’ ”
In an end zone after the win, Engelberg asked how many seniors had played football for more than three years. Two players raised their arms.
While Maret’s 46 players are the most in the school’s history, Engelberg recruited many of them from the hallways of the 320-student high school. Some wanted to join in after watching the Frogs (3-1) defeat Bell on a game-winning field goal in last year’s DC State Athletic Association Class A championship game.
Wide receiver Brice June, who had three touchdowns against Severn (3-1), played basketball and flag football growing up. Recent Yale involvement developed a passion for football last fall when Engelberg thought he could become a star.
“The whole program is based on patience,” June said, “and coaches saying, ‘Hey, you don’t need any experience to play for this team. We only want people who want to win and people who want to play.’ ”
Severn also knows how to build a small team of 420 students in his high school. The Admirals finished last season without a win before many of the school’s Division I lacrosse players joined the football team this fall.
But Maret proved that it’s further. Jensen threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to June in the first game of the fourth quarter to give the Frogs a 21-7 lead. About a minute later, Maret defender Donovan Calhoun intercepted a pass. In the following game, Calhoun caught a screen pass and sprinted down the left touchline for a 50-yard touchdown.
In the last few minutes, Maret’s starters on the sidelines cheered on the team’s reserves.
“We were just a lot more physical,” Calhoun said. “We realized that we are the better team. I mean we knew it all along. But we showed it.”