BLADENSBURG – For his first year as head coach at Bladensburg High School, Byron Westbrook and his Mustangs finished with a record of 2-8. Despite suffering a losing season, the former Washington Redskin was recognized by for his efforts in developing young talent for the long haul.
Westbrook had two of his players earn Prince George's County All-Star honors last season. Along with his player’s accomplishments, he had a significant one of his own. Westbrook was selected to coach the defensive backs for the U.S. Under-19 National Team (Football) in Dallas, Texas later this month.
“As a coach, he (Westbrook) will not accept anything less than what he thinks you are capable of, senior Trevon Coleman said of his coach. "So, I believe choosing him for this position is a great choice. He will definitely push those guys to their max potential."
Westbrook credited this opportunity to DeMatha Catholic High School Head Coach Elijah Brooks who selected Westbrook to coach the defensive backs. Brooks will be the head coach for this year’s U.S. Under-19 National Team.
Westbrook is the only head coach in Maryland to join the U.S. Under-19 National Team coaching staff besides Brooks who is the lead man in charge.
He will join other Maryland coaches like DeMatha’s running back and offensive line coaches, Martin Gibson and Deonte Holden.
The U.S. Under-19 National team will compete in Arlington, Texas on Jan. 14. On Jan. 19, the team will face Canada’s Under-19 National team at 8 pm at AT&T Stadium. It will mark the fourth year that the Dallas Cowboys stadium will host the International Bowl (IX).
After his first season, Westbrook started a thread on his Twitter account called “Blade Football 2K17 recap”. The account reviewed his first season coaching at Bladensburg as well as thanking Bladensburg players, staff members, parents, coaches, and managers.
“Coming into this season, expectations were very high especially with the quality of scheduled opponents we were facing,” Westbrook said. “The grind doesn’t stop for the Blade football program.”
With all the love and support given to him by the Bladensburg community, it indeed came with the gift of him coaching with the U.S. Under-19 National Team to start his second coaching year for the Mustangs.
At the beginning of the year, sophomore running back and cornerback Elijah Sorprea said it was hard to adjust as a team with a new head coach.
However, Sorprea is looking forward to a breakout season under Westbrook's tutelage next year for his junior campaign. Sorprea accounted for 233 total yards and four touchdowns last season behind DaSean Ryan.
“Our head coach (Westbrook) being nominated to the USA team to coach the defensive backs is a great step for him, but it is even a better step for the Bladensburg football program to get a chance to have the best defensive back coach teach them. Congrats to him on making the USA coaching staff,” Sorprea said.