By Edric Brillantes
The Mt. Hebron varsity football team has gotten off to a fast start in the 2021-22 season. The Vikings currently have a 3-3 record, including a 2-0 in the first two games of the season, a feat that hasn’t occurred since 2012.
“So far I feel like we are off to a fast start and are just starting to get going. The team gets better every week and every practice and we are only going to get better,” said Vikings center Rayan Overcast.
The Vikings’ first two wins came in a tight 7-6 victory against Reservoir in week one and then a dominant victory against Marriotts Ridge, the score 42-21. Many players, including senior linebacker Everett Armstead, have felt the fast start of the season means a lot for the future of the football program.
“I think going 2-0 is very inspirational for the program – it really shows that we are turning the program around,” said Armstead.
Many fans have wondered what the Vikings have done this year compared to last year’s disappointing season. But Head Coach, Shawn Frederick, doesn’t think of it that way.
“I don’t think we’ve done anything differently – the majority of these guys have been in this program for over 3 years and this is what they know. For the freshman, sophomores, and juniors, this is what they know and they’ve all bought in with it. The seniors are building blocks of it all and they understand the expectations and standards are. All the guys that are in it are in it all in,” said Frederick.
The Vikings are playing some of their best games in years and many players have felt a greater bond among the team because of it.
“The team is close knit and wants to do their best not for themselves but for the person playing next to him. That selflessness is what has allowed us to excel this year like no other year,” said Overcast.
Armstead also added, “The team bond is different this year – we believe we can win and we can do it.”
The Vikings’ football team also were privileged to play in the Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown against Long Reach High School. However, the Vikings would lose 18-6 in a hard-fought game.
The next week, the Vikings would lose again in a close, one score game against River Hill. The game ended 14-6, coming down to the last play. Despite the loss, this game was still a showcase of an improvement for the football program. For the first time since 2007, MT. Hebron kept the margin of victory under 20 points. This is an achievement considering the Hawks have beaten Vikings an average of 40.5 points since 2007.
“We take it one game at a time. We take adversity head on and we power through it. We learn from our mistakes, we fix those mistakes, so that we don’t do it again in the following Fridays – they don’t point fingers at each other, they don’t tear each other down. They handle adversity very very well,” said Frederick.
Overcast would later add, “We look at losses as lessons and we move on fast – there’s no time to dwell on losses when you have a game less than a week after, you can only take what you learn and get ready and better for the next game. We can’t flinch.”
As for the rest of the season, the Vikings are very hopeful and have strong goals going forward, including a potential playoff spot.
“There’s no doubt in our minds that we will end up in the playoffs and all of us want to make a deep run. To achieve that, our goal is to play our best football every game and if we do that we know the sky’s the limit,” responded Overcast.
The Vikings football team still has a handful of tough games to play for the rest of the season. But, the incredible players and coaching staff are ready for the next challenges that are ahead of them. Despite recent losses, the Vikings still have great momentum for the next games, and the team chemistry and bond between the players is off the charts.
There’s no doubt the Vikings football program has improved from previous seasons. The future of MT. Hebron football is bright.
Photo from Madeleine Phillips