Long Reach's Brandan Barrington and Pete Hughes

Long Reach junior Brandan Barrington, left, 16, and football coach Pete Hughes remember the game on Oct. 5 when Hughes' former neighbor — Ravens star cornerback Lardarius Webb — came to be a Long Reach coach for a day. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda, Patuxent Publishing / January 28, 2013)

As the president of a homeowner's association just a few miles from the Baltimore Ravens practice facility in Owings Mills, Long Reach's Pete Hughes isn't a stranger to NFL players.

He was there when Hall of Famer Deion Sanders took a casual walk through the neighborhood, and he got up the nerve to ask 350-pound defensive lineman Terrence Cody to put out his trash only on the designated day.

"I had to knock on his door, and then I'm standing there asking Terrence Cody to put his trash out on the correct day," Hughes said. "I had to warm up to him first, so I said, 'It looks like you can play fullback, you've lost so much weight!' He laughed, and he was very agreeable."

But Hughes also developed a friendship with one of his famous neighbors -- Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb, who would be playing in Sunday's Super Bowl in New Orleans against the San Francisco 49ers if not for a season-ending knee injury. And that friendship led to Webb's help with the Long Reach football team for a game in October.

Sign up to receive our free daily email newsletter: Columbia Today

Living two doors apart, Hughes couldn't help but notice what a good neighbor Webb was, decorating his house for all the holidays and taking time to talk and play with the kids in the neighborhood. But it wasn't until a power outage last summer that the two had a conversation.

"He's the nicest man you'd ever want to meet," Hughes said.

Hughes and his girlfriend were waiting out the outage at the local Buffalo Wild Wings when Webb walked in with several Ravens teammates after a charity basketball game. Noticing his neighbor, Webb asked Hughes if the power was back on.

Hughes formally introduced himself as the head football coach of Long Reach High School (he recently stepped down after 17 seasons), and Webb was intrigued.

"He said, 'Oh man, that's what I want to do! What do I have to do to be an intern?' " Hughes recalled. "I told him, 'I think you're going to be playing for awhile.' "

A few months later, when Webb was doing his weekly Wednesday night radio show at the Greene Turtle in Owings Mills, Hughes approached him with a Long Reach football T-shirt and the opportunity to give a pregame speech before Long Reach played archrival Howard on Friday, Oct. 5.

"We talked every day about football, and I knew (Hughes) as a friend," Webb said in a statement from New Orleans Thursday. "He told me to come and check a game out one day."

On game day, Webb texted Hughes and told him that he'd miss the pregame, but he'd be there for the game.

"Sure enough, there he was, walking through the gates with the long dreads and the Long Reach T-shirt on," Hughes said.

At first, Hughes said, only the coaches knew they were in the presence of an NFL star.

But with Howard and its talented duo of quarterback Austin Blair and running back Michael Anderson lighting up the scoreboard (the Lions would score a season-high 62 points), Long Reach needed a spark.

So Hughes pulled aside junior defensive back Brandan Barrington, who was tasked with defending Howard speedster Josh Peoples, the recent 300-dash champion at the Howard County indoor track championships.

"Coach Hughes just said a player might be showing up," Barrington said. "I didn't know he was there until one of my coaches pulled me aside and told me to talk to this guy. He had a Long Reach shirt and Long Reach sweatpants. I just thought he was another coach. But he had the dreads and a real country accent."

Webb, who grew up in eastern Alabama and has 11 interceptions in four seasons with the Ravens, gave Barrington the lowdown.

"He was telling me to watch the quarterback's eyes and he's going to tell you exactly where he's going to throw it," said Barrington, who also plays receiver for the Lightning. "He told me if it's a fast guy, give him a little bit of room. But if it's not, then step up toward the line."

Defending Peoples out wide, Barrington gave his opponent a couple steps, and then found Blair's eyes.