The start of the decade of the 2010’s was not that memorable for Patapsco football.
The Patriots entered the decade on a nine-game losing streak, then proceeded to go 0-10 in the 2010 and 2011 seasons before finally ending the streak by beating Baltimore Maritime Academy in the opening game of the 2012 season.
Two years later Patapsco had a 9-1 record. It was the Patriots’ best record of the decade. And it may have been more painful than that 29-game losing streak, in a way.
What did Patapsco get with that 9-1 record? A spot in the grandstands when the playoffs started.
Yes, a 9-1 team did not make the playoffs.
Five teams finished 9-1 in the Class 3A North Region that season, and only four could advance to the postseason.
Franklin lost only to Calvert Hall. Milford Mill lost only to Franklin. Bel Air lost only to Aberdeen. And Aberdeen lost to Havre de Grace.
By the MPSSAA playoff points season, they all played “stronger” schedules than Patapsco. Basically, they all played larger schools.
In the point system, teams get eight points for beating a Class 4A school, seven points for beating a Class 3A school, six for Class 2A
and five for Class
Teams also get one point for each win by a school they’ve beaten. So, beating a Class 3A school that finishes 7-3 earns 14 points. Beating a Class 1A school that finishes 9-1 also earns 14 points.
Patapsco’s schedule was heavy with Class 1A and 2A teams. The other four schools played mainly Class 3A schools. The Patriots were edged out on points.
It gets worse.
A 10-0 record would have boosted Patapsco into the playoffs. What school handed Patapsco its one loss (by a 13-10 score)?
Which was having its worse season of the decade.
The Owls finished 4-6 in 2014, their only losing season of the decade. But they beat a 9-1 Patapsco team to keep the Patriots from making only its second playoff appearance in school history and first since 2003.
Totally worth the losing season, the Owls would say.
Patapsco beat New Town to open the season, 13-12. It crushed Sparrows Point 36-6. The Patriots defeated Randallstown 19-12, Dulaney 10-6, Chesapeake 21-6 and blew out Lansdowne and Loch Raven by 48-0 and 48-0.
(The other win was over Harford Tech 31-15).
The Dundalk game came down to the last play. Patapsco was in long range (about 45 yards) for a possible game-tying field goal, but opted to go for the touchdown.
The pass to the end zone was tipped away.
It was the third game of the season. The Patriots didn’t know what awaited them: a seven-game winning streak, one of the best records in school history, and frustration and disappointment.
The 2010’s were a tough decade for Sparrows Point. It got off to a good start, with a 6-4 record and a playoff berth in 2010, but there were only two winning seasons the rest of the decade.
One was in 2013, when the Pointers made a surprise run to the Class 1A North region championship game.
Sparrows Point was 1-3 after four games, but the third loss was in a close game to a powerful Hereford squad.
That seemed to serve as a spark, with the Pointers finishing the regular season on a six-game winning streak.
One of those wins was over nemesis Eastern Tech, 27-12, and the Pointers also beat Overlea 33-24.
Sparrows Point usually struggles against the Falcons, but that win in the regular-season finale vaulted the Pointers into the playoffs.
Both playoff games required long road trips into Prince George’s County.
In the semifinals, the Pointers upset second-seeded Forestville 20-16.
Sparrows Point lost at top-seeded Surrattsville in the region finals 36-28. The game turned with the Pointers inside the red zone, only for Surrattsville to return an interception 100 yards for a touchdown.
The two-touchdown swing was too much for the Pointers to overcome.
Sparrows Point’s only other winning record in the decade was a 6-3 mark in 2017 that earned the Pointers the Baltimore County Division III title.