It had been almost four years since former Northeast High All-Countyquarterback-punter Jason Herold played quarterback in a game, but, suddenly, he was thrust into action against an opponent his college team hadn't defeated in 11 years.
After a lackluster performance in a 19-3 loss to North Carolina's Livingstone College the week before, Bowie State University needed a spark to ignite a sputtering offense in Saturday's game against Hampton (Va.) University.
Enter Herold, the senior third-string quarterback, who made the all-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association team as a punter (41.5 yards per kick) during the Bulldogs' 7-3-1 league championship season.
Herold, 21, replaced injured Meade graduate Drew Barone early in the second quarter and promptly directed the Bulldogs to a 17-14 upset win over Hampton, the perennial conference and NCAA Division II power.
He capped a 13-for-24, 164-yard performance with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Brooklyn Park grad Tom Butz and nailed down the starting assignment.
The 6-2, 195-pound Herold had waited patiently three years for a shot at directing the multiple-wing attack, and he stepped in without a chance of catching stage fright.
"It was really hard to describe. I felt really comfortable going in (the game). When I got in the game, we ran two or three running plays, then I got kind of nervous when I had to throw my first pass. When I completed it, I started gaining more confidence," Herold said.
"After the game, I was in a state of shock."
Herold doesn't have much time to recover from his shock, because the Bulldogs face a five-game road trip.The 1-1 Bulldogs will take on CIAA rivals North Carolina Central, Virginia State, Virginia Union, Norfolk State and Elizabeth City (N.C.)State universities.
"I think we'll do OK. We really needed to winthe Hampton game to give us some momentum for the road trip," said the B-average sociology major.
"I just have to get in better shape.After just punting for three years, I wasn't used to staying out on the field for that long. Against Hampton, I was kind of tired by halftime."
The left-hander, who averaged 40.3 yards per punt in 1990 for a 3-6 team, gave much of the credit for his success against Hampton to his offensive line, which includes former Broadneck lineman Scott Messick.
"I wouldn't have been able to do what I did without theline. They did a great job," Herold said.
The newly appointed first-string quarterback, who aspires to work for either the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Customs Service, has the confidence of the entire Bowie coaching staff.
"I always knew that Jason could step in and do the job," said former 10-year NFL veteran and third-year Bulldog head coach Sanders Shivers. "He's been practicing with the quarterbacks since the 1989 season, so heknows what he's doing."
Northeast High baseball coach Harry Lentz, a four-year offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at DivisionII Bowie, was delighted by Herold's heroics.
"I was very pleased with Jason. He did well considering that was the first time he had taken snaps during a game," said Lentz, an assistant football coach at Northeast during Herold's playing days (1985-1987).
In addition toLentz, other Bowie staffers with county roots include former Broadneck offensive line coach Art Thomas and Larry Brogden, who was assistant football coach at Annapolis and still spends his springs there as head baseball coach.
Thomas is in his fourth season as offensive line coach, having missed last season because of duties in Operation Desert Storm, while Brogden is in his initial year as running backs coach.
The Bulldogs' roster includes many former county scholastic performers, including quarterback David Fajerski (Brooklyn Park), running back Keith Smith (Southern), wide receiver Lonnie Pierce (Meade),tight end Wayne Fajerski (Brooklyn Park), former Northeast offensivelinemen Jerry Phares
and Eric Nazarenus, linebackers Brian Perry (South River) and Greg Avent (Glen Burnie) and defensive back Mike Motta (Meade).
Anne Arundel County's strong impact on the Bulldogs' football program can be traced back to 1986, when Pasadena native Dave Dolch took over a fledgling program that was on its way to the distinction of holding the nation's second-longest losing streak (32 games from 1984 to 1987).
Following his 0-9 rookie season, Dolch's charges improved to 4-6-1 in 1987 and then catapulted themselves into the Division II national playoffs in 1988 with a 9-2-1 record. Their 34-17 first-round loss against Portland (Ore.) State would be the last game Dolch would coach at Bowie -- he took the head coaching positionat Morningside (Iowa) College.
Dolch was responsible for bringingin such county talents as Glen Burnie's Brian Forbes, a former all-conference offensive tackle and Division II academic All-American (1986); South River's Tony DiMauro, who finished his career as the school's record holder with 25.5 sacks; and Broadneck's Anthony Johnson, who finished his career last season as the Bulldogs' all-time career kickoff return leader, with 1,083 yards in 43 attempts (25.1 average) and one touchdown.