On Saturday, November 27, the stands at Cooper Field on the Georgetown University campus were packed with fans cheering on DCSAA Class A championship teams, Maret and Bell.
Both teams came ready to play, but it was Bell’s extraordinarily fast runners who pushed the ball up the field in the first quarter to take an early 8-0 lead.
That advantage held until the fourth quarter, but according to Coach Mike Engelberg, “there was never an ounce of panic.” The Maret team just kept at it one play at a time, stopping Bell from scoring four different times inside the Red Zone. “Our defense was outstanding. They kept us in the game until we got something going offensively.” Quarterback Andrew Catron ’22 adds,
"There was no person on the team that gave up during the game, and there were times that other teams would’ve just thrown in the towel, but we didn’t."
After several long Maret offensive drives fizzled out, the Frogs found the end zone in the fourth quarter. Robbie Engelberg ’22 caught a TD pass from Andrew Catron on fourth down to make the score 8-6, and then Aaron Poawui ’22 tied it up with a two-point conversion rush with four minutes left in the game.
After a great defensive stand, Maret got the ball back on its own 25-yard line with two minutes left, but Bell intercepted a pass and returned it all the way to the Maret eight-yard line. Then, Maret's tenacious defense forced a Bell fumble on first down, and it was recovered by Andrew Williams ’22.
Given one last opportunity, the Frogs put together the drive of all drives. Maret went 84 yards to set up Jonathan Rubin ’25 for a game winning 24-yard field goal as time expired. The drive capped off what Head of School Marjo Talbott called “an unbelievable game” and secured the Frogs’ second consecutive DCSAA Class A State Championship.
When preseason began, no one saw a championship win down the road. The team had a mix of experience levels. Nine team members had never played football before, a few had been playing since Middle School, and a core group of seniors had been playing together for four years. Coach Engelberg is quick to praise the seniors for their incredible leadership. They were a motivating force, making practice fun and showing incredible patience as teammates learned the game.
“There was never a focus on winning all these games,” says Coach Engelberg. After last year’s truncated season due to COVID, the team was just so happy to be practicing and playing games together—even if they had to wear masks and undergo weekly testing.
"The kids really learned the lesson the hard way, not to take it for granted. Everything that is normal can be taken away in a day."
About the culmination of this nearly normal season, Andrew Catron has this to say: “What I will remember most about that game was just going out one last time with the rest of my senior teammates. We got really close over these last four years, and for that to be our last game together, I couldn't have drawn it up better.”
Photos by Cory F. Royster ©