"We just took the bad news, and ran with it, and made this our priority for this year," Gross said.

Lesson learned.

"Instead of tucking in their tails and looking for excuses, the guys all united," Holland said. "We had our biggest turnout ever for offseason weightlifting. That [forfeiture] scarred us all, but it also brought us together. Even the guys who graduated last spring have been supportive this year, coming back to work with these guys."

Five or six of those star-crossed alumni drove to Perryville last week to cheer on their old teammates. Then, on Monday, Magginson (1,064 yards passing and 13 TDs) received a phone call from Shawheem Dowdy, last year's quarterback who now attends Grambling State.


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"Good luck and bring it home," Dowdy said.

Hearing that, the coach nodded in affirmation.

"Our slogan is, 'Once a Titan, always a Titan,' " Holland said. "They take it to heart."

mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

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