Marc Mesaros, Eastern Tech
After the Mavericks lost to Chesapeake-B in Week 4, Mesaros wasn't thinking about winning a state championship. He was thinking about taking a "back-to-basics approach" just to get his team back on track.
Still, that 15-13 loss to their Eastern Baltimore County neighbor - and Mesaros' reaction to it - spurred the Mavericks to win their final 10 games, finish 13-1 and cap the season with the program's first state title, a 16-8 win over Queen Anne's in the Class 2A final.
"I think we were taking some of the things about our team for granted and some fundamental things that you need to do to win football games were falling by the wayside," Mesaros said. "That [loss] may have been the thing that put us in this position where we could refocus and get back on track. If we win that game, maybe we're one-and-done in the playoffs. It's pretty evident that we were a better team after that."
Mesaros, 75-14 in seven years as Eastern Tech's coach, graduated 20 All-County players from the team that fell in the 2A final last fall for the second year in a row. This year's team had a lot of solid, talented players but no superstar. However, this team had a unique sense of unity:
"We've had teams that had more talent and we've had teams that had more firepower, but I don't know that I've had a team like this that has played together as well. They work so hard in the offseason and they have a quirky way of putting each other on their backs and making plays."
Mesaros, a Pittsburgh native who started coaching Pee Wee football when he was in college, gave credit to his assistant coaches, Terry Otto, Rob Jones, Jason Wells, Reese Winpenny, Ty Whittaker and Scott Bobek.