Football 2019: Healthy West Potomac looking to bounce back

Kobiah running through tackle against Mount Vernon during night game last year
Running back Richard Kobiah will see a lot of carries in the Wolverines offense. (Richard Maple image)

A more “balanced” schedule and a healthy JT Mayo are reasons why the West Potomac football program could find itself back in the playoffs after a two-year hiatus.

In 2017, the Wolverines’ non-district schedule included powerhouses Lake Braddock, Centreville and Westfield. Despite beating Lake Braddock and losing by just seven to eventual three-peat state champion Westfield, the Wolverines finished 5-5 and on the outside of the playoff picture.

In 2018, the same non-district opponents wore down the Wolverines, who finished the campaign as an injury-riddled 2-8 squad. Mayo, then a junior in his first season as the starting varsity quarterback, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in game No. 5 against Centreville. West Potomac ended the year with a 47-7 loss to rival Mount Vernon, the Wolverines’ first loss to the Majors since 2006.

While there are still some tough opponents ahead, starting with tonight’s season opener at 7 p.m. at Lake Braddock, the 2019 schedule features fewer juggernauts and a healthy Mayo leads an athletic group of Wolverines primed for a return to the postseason.

“I love the big games,” Ross said, “but it’s nice [that our schedule is] balanced.”

When the Wolverines find themselves in a big game, Mayo is the player Ross wants running the show. The senior signal caller is committed to William & Mary and can make plays through the air and on the ground.

In a loss to Lake Braddock early in the 2018 season, Mayo passed for 255 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 129 yards and reached the end zone three times.

“He had a great offseason,” Ross said. “… He’s a team leader and he works his tail off. … Guys like that make you look like a good coach.”

Mayo will have a talented group of weapons around him.

Running backs Micah McDonald and Richard Kobiah will provide a 1-2 punch in the backfield. Quaronde Bennett, Deandre Doherty, Justin Bassett and Jackson Mayo are expected to be some of the top receiving threats.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons in a lot of different ways,” Ross said. “They can stretch you vertically or get underneath.”

Seniors Jake Radoski (linebacker), Keyshawn Suber (linebacker) and Kelvin Reyes (defensive back) are leaders on a defense that is transitioning from a 3-4 alignment to a 3-3 stack.

2019 Schedule (all games at 7 p.m.)

8/29: at Lake Braddock
9/6: vs. C. D. Hylton
9/13: at Oakton
9/20: vs. George Marshall
10/4: at Robert E. Lee
10/11: vs. Mount Vernon
10/18: vs. Annandale
10/25: vs. T.C. Williams
11/1: vs. Westfield
11/8: at Hayfield