Remembering a teammate Radebaugh: Boys' Latin football team keeps alive memory of teammate who died in a traffic accident in July.

November 01, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Noah Mumaw's extra-point kicks carry special meaning for him and his 25 Boys' Latin football teammates.

The letters P-A-T on the right side of the Lakers' helmets are not just the acronym for point-after-touchdown. They also represent the first name of a former teammate -- Pat Radebaugh -- who died in a car accident in July. The 89 on their helmets' left side commemorates Radebaugh's jersey number.

"After we make a PAT, we touch one finger to the name on our helmets, and the other finger shoots to the sky," said Mumaw, who is 15-for-21 on extra points. "At the beginning of the season, there was pressure. But now, I realize the importance of my role. It's an honor to help my team remember him this way."

A No. 89 jersey and football pants remain in an empty locker near those occupied by quarterback Aaron Vercollone, running back Greg Patchak and wide receiver Ryan Mollett.

"His death's had a major impact," said Mollett, one tear spilling over an eyelid as he spoke after a recent game. "Sometimes, you look over and expect to see him, and he's not there. It's a real experience, being without him."

Wide receiver Brian Berger said he will miss the timehe shared with Radebaugh in hobbies -- dove hunting and fishing.

"It's forced a lot of us to grow up a lot," said Patchak. "I know, personally, I've taken on more responsibility in having fun."

Radebaugh, 18, a wide receiver, running back and defensive back in football and a midfielder in lacrosse, lost control of the truck he was driving and struck a telephone pole on York Road near Freeland on July 23. Excessive speed and alcohol were factors, police said.

Riding with Radebaugh was fellow Lakers student Alfred Smithwick III, 17. Smithwick's injuries put him in critical condition for weeks after the accident, but he has been cleared to play soccer -- though he has elected not to -- and plans to play ice hockey, said Butch Maisel, coach of both sports at Boys' Latin.

With 13 starters returning from last year's MIAA B Conference runners-up, this year's Lakers football team is 6-2, 5-0 in the league. Radebaugh was part of an eighth-grade football team that went unbeaten and unscored upon, and several members of that team are now seniors.

Several of the same players, as a junior varsity lacrosse team, went 30-0 over two seasons under Drew Haugh, also the football coach.

"They're not only his teammates, but good, good friends," said Radebaugh's mother Nancy. "We've gotten tons of letters in support, and it's beyond words what the boys are doing in his memory."

Friday, when Boys' Latin plays host to Severn, Nancy and her husband Jack will be on the sidelines for only the second time this season. "It's been very difficult to get to the games, but I'm going because that's what Pat would want," she said.

Radebaugh's death rocked not only the school's 542 students (kindergarten through 12), but also the state's lacrosse community.

The Radebaughs are Maryland's first family of lacrosse.

Pat's older brother, J. D., a Boys' Latin graduate, is at Washington College. One of Patrick's cousins, Jesse, is a Calvert Hall senior. Jesse's father, Doug, a National Lacrosse Hall of Famer, graduated from Calvert Hall and the University of Maryland.

Derek, another cousin and Boys' Latin graduate, finished his career at Loyola College in 1994. Three more cousins, who are brothers, are Sean (Loyola, Salisbury), Dan (Loyola, Maryland) and Tucker (St. Paul's, Virginia).

The accident conjured still-raw memories of two other lacrosse players who died young -- St. Mary's graduate Kevin Reichardt and St. Paul's graduate David Thompson. Reichardt, 20, died from injuries suffered during a random shooting at the University of North Carolina on Jan. 26, 1995. A year and three days later, Thompson, 22, was killed after his car struck a fallen tree on campus at Washington & Lee.

The MIAA A Conference posthumously named its championship trophy after the two.

"I certainly had a lot of empathy for their school and their community," said St. Mary's principal and lacrosse coach Jim Moorhead.

"What first hit me was this intense sense of anger, then, just a sense of loss," said Rick Brocato, lacrosse coach and assistant football coach at St. Paul's, who took a group of St. Paul's players to Radebaugh's funeral, attended by 850.

"It was a rude awakening," said Haugh, whom Nancy likened to "a friend, older brother and mentor" to her son. "I just wanted to shake him and wake him up."

Said Vercollone: "We felt like this was going to be our year, and he was supposed to be part of it."

"You feel like he's with us all the time -- in every thought, every decision," Mollett said. "We play to win, do our best not to lose.

Either way, we know he's watching."

Pub Date: 10/31/96

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