“Getting so close and then having that end up that way, it's not exactly something we want to remember,” said Howard High School senior linebacker Donny Place.
The feeling of a State Final loss is still fresh in the mind of the Howard High School football team. Coming up short in last year's Maryland 4A State Championship game is fueling them in 2016.
“This year it's really just about getting back there and getting what we think we deserve to get,” said Place.
“We’ve established ourselves the last couple years in the county,” said Howard head coach Bruce Strunk. “Every year our team goal is to win the county championship. So, we're going to compete.”
They'll do so with a new quarterback leading the Lions, junior Robby Porter.
Over in Dundalk their QB returns for the 2015 3A state runners up. Senior Darrius Sample and the Owls are coming off their best season in school history. They’re hungry for another chance to finish the job.
“Everybody here wants to go there (the State Championship game) again since they saw us playing last year,” said Sample. “Some teams lose and some teams win.”
“The guys that come back from last year's team that went with us on that run, that's motivating to them,” said Dundalk head coach Sean Sandora.
A winning record on the field isn't the only thing motivating the Owls. They realized last fall what their championship quest did for the Dundalk area.
“The main thing last year helped was it instilled a sense of pride from the community and a sense of pride from the staff and students here,” said Sandora. “They're proud to be Dundalk Owls.”
Dundalk kicks off its season on September 2, at home, against Kenwood. Game number one for Howard is on that very same evening, on the road, at Reservoir.