No. 8 Johns Hopkins’ 42-37 loss to No. 11 Wesley in Saturday’s game might be remembered for the program’s third loss in four trips to the NCAA Division III second round. But there’s also a lot to look back on and enjoy.
The Blue Jays (11-1) captured their seventh straight Centennial Conference title and a league-leading 11th crown. They won at least 10 games in each of their past five years.
Junior wide receiver Bradley Munday earned Offensive Player of the Year honors in the conference, and senior inside linebacker Keith Corliss was named the Defensive Player of the Year.
The senior class will depart with a combined four-year record of 42-4, and the 42 victories are the most in school and Centennial Conference history over a four-year span. The group also compiled a regular-season mark of 39-1, which includes a 20-0 record at home.
“This is one of the best and most fun football teams I’ve played with in my entire life,” Corliss said during the team’s postgame news conference after Saturday’s loss. “The group of guys we had, going out to practice every day and competing, you don’t see that in a lot of programs. I know personally for me in high school, practices sometimes seemed like a chore. It never seemed like that this year. Every day, we went out focused and having fun and took care of business on Saturdays. It’s bittersweet for me being a senior, but it was anything I could have asked for in my last season.”
Added junior quarterback Jonathan Germano: “It’s just great to be around all these guys. They’re awesome guys. Obviously, we had a pretty good season. We came up short of what we would’ve liked, but they’re just awesome people. … Just to be together and be a team. We always held each other accountable. There’s times when somebody would make a mistake and we’re picking each other up and we’re telling each other what we’ve got to do. It’s a special group of guys.”
The sting of Saturday’s setback might resonate for a while as the program tries to find a way to break through to the quarterfinals, something it has not done since 2009. Still, coach Jim Margraff said he enjoyed the past season.
“In a way, I can’t wait for next year already, but that’s the neat thing about college football,” he said. “Each year is a different challenge. I’ve really enjoyed all of our teams the last several years, but this team was fantastic, a lot of fun. We’d come out to practice every day, and even before we started practice, it was upbeat, up-tempo. Our guys actually high-five each other. They have different handshakes. So it’s a great group of guys. It’s been a lot of fun.”