Coach Of The Year

Football/offense

High School Sports

December 15, 2003

Joe Harbert

Aberdeen

When Harbert was hired as the Eagles' head coach four years ago, the then-26-year old told people he'd probably make his share of mistakes, but that he would learn from them.

Apparently, Harbert is a quick study.

In his first three seasons, Harbert's Eagles, beset by injuries and a number of close losses, won a total of 13 games. This season, Aberdeen won 12, including the biggest victory in school history.

The Eagles scored 26 unanswered points to capture a thrilling, 33-25 overtime victory over Potomac in the Class 2A championship, the program's first state football title.

The game, which the Eagles trailed 25-7 with 5:00 left in the third quarter, was emblematic of the way Aberdeen played all year.

With the urging of their passionate and intense coach and buoyed by the needed adjustments in the game plan, the Eagles stuck together no matter how large the deficit - the Eagles also trailed Edgewood 20-0 late in the second quarter in the first round of the playoffs.

Harbert and defensive coordinator Kevin Reilly - who the Aberdeen head coach said "knows more about football than anybody I'll ever know" - deserve a lot of the credit.

Harbert, whose team's 12-1 season included a share of the Harford County championship and the 2A East crown, instilled focus, pride and confidence within his team.

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