Waibel's farewell comes after his kind of game Poets' Mitchell dedicates state final to Poly coach

November 23, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

There were tears in Augie Waibel's eyes as the legendary Poly coach walked toward the locker room having lost the last game of his 35-year career, 20-13, to visiting Dunbar in yesterday's Class 2A state semifinal game.

And though the Dunbar players danced on the field in celebration, there were mixed emotions all about the Poly football field.

Obie Barnes, 49, had just watched his son, Dunbar receiver Chris Barnes, "just about end the career of the man whose career I helped to start" as a lineman at Edmondson. Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell, who is 4-2 against Waibel, dedicated next weekend's state championship against Fort Hill at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium to the coach he'd just worked tirelessly to beat.

And Waibel, who loves to teach players to become men through smash-mouth football, seemed to welcome the end of a long and successful career of 280 victories against only 75 losses.

"I'm flattered that such a man like Stanley Mitchell would make a statement like, dedicating that game to me after a heated game like this," said Waibel, 64, who has had only two losing seasons and two others where he went 5-5.

Waibel, whose replacement will be present assistant John Hammonds, has said he might want to be an assistant coach on the collegiate level. Surrounded by players from both teams in the post-game prayer, Waibel prayed for "many more games between Dunbar and Poly."

"What I like about our games is that both teams come out and try to knock each other's heads off," said Waibel, with Betty, his wife of 41 years, standing beside him. "But when the game's over, it's over, and both teams can shake hands. This is the way I like to play the game."

After trailing, 6-0, and 12-6, it appeared the Engineers had pulled out a victory by going up, 13-12, on a 1-yard run by Timmy Frazier, followed by an extra-point kick by Marcus Smith. But Chris Barnes caught a 46-yard touchdown pass to give Dunbar the win.

This was a season during which every opponent dignified Waibel with their best game -- usually after honoring him before the contest.

First it was Gilman, with new coach Biff Poggi, handing Waibel a plaque during a pre-game ceremony before beating him, 17-13. Dunbar did it again during an earlier, 27-26 loss, as did Patterson of coach Roger Wrenn, in losing, 15-14. "I'm gonna have to stop taking these gifts," Waibel joked after the Patterson game.

For Waibel, winning has perhaps been toughest against Dunbar, whose coach, Stanley Mitchell, is 50-11 over five seasons, with two state titles and five state semifinal appearances.

"He's a mild-mannered coach who demands a lot of respect, particularly the way he always prepares his kids for their opponent," Mitchell said of Waibel. "You can just about throw out what you do against common opponents. He's a conservative coach, and his players are always ready."

Pub Date: 11/23/97

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