Panicked pupil to star starter Patterson's McGirt now a playoff force Football

November 20, 1992|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Willie McGirt thought he had everything figured out.

For his first season on the Patterson varsity football team, he would play understudy to quarterback Buddy Edmond, get a better Football understanding of Patterson's offense, a blend of option and run-and-shoot, and hopefully, take a couple of snaps during a blowout.

But a funny thing happened to McGirt on the way to becoming the backup -- he became the starter.

"When I first told him that he was going to be the starter, he had this lost look on his face and I said to myself, 'We're in big trouble,' " said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn. "I told him that he would have a year to watch and learn, but now, 'You're the guy.'

" Now, the 6-foot-1 sophomore will be leading the No. 13 Clippers (9-1) in tomorrow's Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference championship game against No. 8 Dunbar at Poly at noon.

"It has been all right to this point," said McGirt, who became the starter when Edmond transferred to Mount St. Joseph after being declared ineligible for his senior season at Patterson by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

"I was prepared to play defense, but when the opportunity came up, I was shocked. I didn't believe I was going to be the starting quarterback, but I knew I had to step up."

Tomorrow's appearance in the title game will be the third in four years for Patterson. In 1989, the Clippers beat Lake Clifton, 13-7, and in 1990, Lake Clifton won, 28-25.

Dunbar handed Patterson its only loss of the season, 30-0, Oct. 9, as the Clippers had six turnovers.

It was McGirt's first rough game on the varsity level, throwing an interception that was returned for a score and fumbling on a keeper that also was returned for a touchdown.

"Everything that could go wrong went wrong in that game," said McGirt, who has passed for 1,085 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. "Once they got up by two touchdowns, it took a lot out of us."

Except for that game, Patterson's offense has been practically unstoppable, scoring an average of 30.2 points. The Clippers broke a national high school record with 12 offensive touchdowns in a 79-6 rout of Milford Mill on Sept. 18.

They have been led by John Sauer, a bruising 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior fullback who has rushed for 1,351 yards and 20 touchdowns. McGirt's primary targets are junior tight end Stacey Plater (32 receptions, 615 yards, five touchdowns) and senior split end Ronnie Green (15 receptions, 254 yards, three touchdowns).

"Maybe the worst thing that happened was when we beat Milford Mill," said Wrenn. "We got a little big-headed and thought we were better than everybody, and of course, we weren't."

For Patterson to be successful tomorrow, it will need a strong performance from its offensive linemen against a Dunbar defensive front that averages 230 pounds.

"From the beginning of the season, we knew he had a good

chance of being in the championship," said Sauer, who had 51 yards in the first meeting. "We're not surprised that Dunbar is also here."

B Conference final

Co-No. 8 Dunbar (9-0) vs. No. 13 Patterson (9-1), at Poly, tomorrow, noon

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