A year ago, Brooks coached Havre de Grace to the state Class 1A final. Then, looking for a change, he packed up his coaching staff and moved down U.S. 40 to take over a floundering Aberdeen program coming off a 1-9 season.
"We knew what we were walking into," he said. "We didn't know the talent, but we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. We got on them in the summertime about getting better and not having to be 1-9. … That kind of fueled some of them, and the senior captains really bought into it. They were out there in triple digits [temperatures] working on their own."
Brooks orchestrated an unlikely turnaround. The No. 12 Eagles finished 10-3 and reached the state Class 3A semifinals. Brooks, a Havre de Grace graduate, might be the only coach to take two different football teams to the state final four in back-to-back seasons.
Brooks credited his senior captains — Kenny Faulcon, Christian Carpenter, Chavez Cheatham, Brenton Barnes and Quintel Kelly — with keeping the team focused when it lost consecutive games to North Harford and McDonough. The Eagles rebounded to win six straight before falling to eventual state champion River Hill in the state semifinal.
"It could have gone either way," Brooks said. "The senior captains brought us through that. We saw mistakes we made and we talked about them and made some adjustments."
Brooks also gave credit to his assistant coaches: Joe Kitts, Eric Henson, Tommy Polley, Ian Hudson, Duvowell Peaker and Chip Dyson.