Let's get something straight. John Buchheister doesn't like mistakes.
So if you want to play for the Randallstown coach, you'll have to listen in practice and play smartly in the game.
"I don't want it done wrong," said Buchheister, the first-year Rams coach. "Anybody can do it wrong. I've got to have guys who'll do it right."
For having his team "do it right" all season and for guiding his Rams to a 12-0 record and a spot in this year's state Class 4A title game, Buchheister is The Sun's Coach of the Year.
With a 109-32 career record, Buchheister -- the area's winningest coach in the 1980s while he was at Milford Mill High -- is primed for a repeat performance in the '90s. Buchheister, however, attributes much of his success to lessons that he learned in the '50's.
As a child in Perry Hall, Buchheister played recreational league -- football, where he was coached by his father, John Sr.
The elder Buchheister taught his son not to throw inside his own 20 and to mix up the play calls. More importantly, he taught him how to react after another player made a mistake.
"He told me, 'You can't hold a grudge against a kid,' and 'Don't yell at him on the field if you haven't in practice,' " said Buchheister. "I don't try to embarrass a kid, although it may happen sometimes.
"When I yell it's because I know he can do the job, but he's not putting forth the effort."
This season, Buchheister's team has, without question, put forth the effort. It has outscored opponents, 374-100, while dominating nearly every game. Knowing that he'd be taking over a talented team on the verge of greatness made leaving Milford Mill that much easier for the 43-year-old coach.
"I was ready for a change," he said. "I felt I'd stayed as long as I was supposed to. The realization of having Larry Washington meant that I could spend more time working with the offensive line than I might have spent in other years."
One of the new coach's first moves was to implement a new, somewhat simpler offense, designed to get the star running back many more carries each game.
These days, as Buchheister will be the first to attest, as Larry Washington goes, so go the Rams. With top performances from the offensive line, Washington has run for big yardage, and the Rams have posted big wins.
"This group, for the most part, has done it correctly," said Buchheister, who also had high praise for his assistant coaches. "And if you do it once, you can probably do it again."