SANDY SPRING – During the fourth quarter of their state playoff loss to Paint Branch High School last season, many of the Sherwood High School football players watched as they were unable to score a point in the 42-point rout.
Following the game, some of the underclassmen players endured embarrassed while others felt inspired like then-junior linebacker Adam Pfeiffer. The Warriors’ lead tackler (96) said that before the night ended, he and the returning players made a promise to themselves.
“That feeling sucked. And we all felt it,” Pfeiffer said, “ We promised each other that this year was going to be different. That we were never going to lose a game again and that we were going to give 110 percent every play, every practice, every drill. (Be) Focused, mentally, physically sharp, ready to just go all out and let the chips fall.”
With many of the same pieces coming back from the 2018 squad, the Warriors believe that their lofty goals of winning a title are achievable as the veteran Sherwood team looks to win their first state championship since 2008.
Head Coach Tom Crowell reported that 38 players are returning from the roster that reached the playoffs last season, bringing back a wealth of experience to the new players on the roster. As he enters his second season, Crowell said this season plans to be different as he is more confident in with his coaching acumen.
After coaching under the legendary Bob Milloy at Sherwood, Good Counsel and St. John’s, Crowell brings a wealth of knowledge to Sherwood. He said he knows the area well after his other stops at Springbrook and Blair.
While newer players get more acclimated into his system, all of the returning stars have bought into what Crowell’s plans for the Warrior football program. Since the first day of the offseason and preseason practices, the approach is business-like, with the competition even more intense.
“This year is totally different,” Crowell said, “It’s 100 percent (effort) everybody has bought in and it’s obvious.”
Several of those returning are the team’s core two-way players, like wide receiver and defensive back Eddie Dumas III . He finished the 2018 season with six pass breakups and three interceptions while catching two touchdowns on offense.
Senior running back Toy Trice returns after a year where he completed 91 rushing attempts for 573 yards and scored five touchdowns. While he averaged 6.3 yards per carry, Trice was not the team’s starting running back as he mostly played fullback, blocking for the graduating Andrew Comeau.
The battle in training camp this year is who will be Sherwood’s starting quarterback as junior Sean Yamada and Our Lady of Good Counsel senior transfer Till Pirtle contest for the job. Yamada played a few games last season for Sherwood as he threw for 313 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
“(We) just got to keep working hard,” Yamada said on his outlook for the season, “(We have to) be more of a family. Got to work together, if you’re not you’re never going to win.”
Wide receiver Jaron Wilson stated that with a year of experience in the playoffs and bonding during the offseason, the Warriors are stronger and a more cohesive unit.
“Last year, most of the guys were from (the junior varsity),” Wilson said, “ Now, since we’ve been with each other for a year. (There’s) No problems with anybody on the team; everybody is just friends. The chemistry here is amazing.”
The first practice of the season became the tone-setter that Pfeiffer likes to see, with this upcoming season being his last at Sherwood. He said that he hopes that this 2019 team sees the 2008 Sherwood championship team as proof that winning the state title is a real possibility.
“Sherwood football is a tradition; it’s an honor,” Pfeiffer said, “I want to continue that tradition the best way I can and just set that mark for the next generation to live up to.”