The Gatorade shower felt good and the framed jersey was a nice touch, but Boys' Latin football coach Ritchie Schell already was half-worried Sunday about what his 100th career win at the school would mean for the Lakers' chances at No. 101.
"Every time I've gotten a little accolade," he said the day after a 28-6 win over Severn, "we haven't always played well."
Never mind Friday's game against St. Vincent Pallotti (6-2, 4-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference), a likely preview of this year's B Conference championship game. Schell was happy to talk about all that has gone right since he arrived at Boys' Latin (5-2, 4-0) in 2001.
The program was in "pretty bad" shape when he took over, he acknowledged, but he'd taken the job because he trusted in the school's ability to produce a winner and in his own ability to translate his lessons learned under Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff's wing.
The measuring stick in those early years was St. Paul's. By 2004, Schell's fourth season with the Lakers, the Crusaders' winning streak against their conference rivals was in double digits, but "each year, I could see us getting better and better," he said. And then? "We just played an unbelievable game at our place and I think we beat them, 27-14."
"Having confidence in yourself and believing you can win is half the battle, and I think the kids know they're well coached and they play hard, and that's all we expect from them. But they have a winning confidence."
Schell is the third Baltimore-area coach to reach 100 wins this season, after Dunbar's Lawrence Smith and Milford Mill's Reggie White. He would take credit only for hiring his coaching staff, and even then, he expected them to keep his ego in check after Saturday's momentous win.