Earlier this season, Watkins Mill High School football coach Kevin Watson wanted his senior starting quarterback Patrick Schlosser to protect himself at all costs.
Watson always has known about Schlosser’s abundant athleticism, speed and toughness. Watson, however, did not want to know what it would be like to play without the 5-foot-10, 170-pound signal-caller.
With a chance to stay in contention for a Class 3A West Region playoff berth, Schlosser, along with a host of skill players and a corps of linemen, were going to have to improve their execution in the final half of the season.
On Friday, the Wolverines did just that, cruising past host Albert Einstein, 48-22, as Schlosser accounted for five of his team’s seven touchdowns.
“Coach just gives me the opportunities to do a lot of things,” said Schlosser, who also made all six of his extra point kick attempts against the Titans. “When I was a sophomore, all I did was kick and punt. ... Then I was able to get moved up to quarterback last year.”
In Watson’s inaugural year as coach, the decision to start Schlosser was an easy one.
“My philosophy is to take the best athlete I have and put him at quarterback,” said Watson. “And Patrick was it. It was an easy choice.”
So far in 2012, Schlosser has completed 55-of-91 passes for 763 yards and eight touchdowns with just four interceptions. Receiver Dontay Hears, a Stony Brook recruit, has caught 19 passes for 417 yards (21.9 yards per reception) and five touchdowns.
The Wolverines’ (4-2) victory on Friday was their third in a row. They started the season with a 42-14 victory against Poolesville, Watkins Mill then played Damascus close for a half before succumbing to a 35-0 defeat. Its comeback against James H. Blake fell short in a 28-19 loss the following week.
“I think our improvement started after the Blake game,” Watson said. “Even though we lost that game, we were down 21-0 and then you could see us [becoming] a different team in the second half. And ever since then, the Clarksburg game, we were down, but we wound up kicking a field goal to win [10-8]. I think ever since then, we’ve been hitting [our stride]. And each week there is somebody different who comes up big, which is great.”
The Wolverines dominated Rockville on Sept. 28 in Week 5, claiming a 40-0 victory.
The skill players such as Schlosser, who lists Ivy League member school Cornell as his favorite choice to continue his athletic career next fall, Hears and running back Quinton Littlejohn, who has verbally committed to Stony Brook, garner most of the headlines, but the offensive line also gets complimented from its teammates and coaching staff. Tackles Rahiem Dorsey and Lizo Odharo, right guard Karsten Bratt, left guard Adrian Adams and center Anthony Briganty, who moved from his fullback position after Week 5, have been clearing the way for the offense to score 40 or more points on three occasions this season.
“We have to give the line credit, they are starting to come together. And that is a huge piece for us,” said Watson.
After six games, the Wolverines reside in the sixth spot in the Class 3A West Region playoff race. Seneca Valley, Damascus and South Hagerstown are the top three teams with 6-0 records while Frederick and North Hagerstown are fourth and fifth, respectively at 5-1. A 17-7 Urbana loss to Walkersville dropped the perennial Frederick County power to seventh at 3-3.
“We’ve got to win out, we’ve got to win the rest of our games,” said Schlosser, the county’s 100-meter outdoor sprint champion and a varsity basketball team member. “We’ve got to take it week by week, that is the most important thing. If we want to have a chance to get into the playoffs, we’ve got to win.”