The Howard High football coaching staff has been honored as the Baltimore Ravens’ High School Coach of the Week for the third week of the NFL season.

With Lions’ coach Bruce Strunk out due to emergency gall bladder surgery Wednesday morning, his staff rallied the team together and posted a 32-28 come-from-behind victory over Atholton Friday evening. The Lions improved to 3-1 on the season.

“I always preach that if a player goes down, another steps up,” Strunk said. “The same goes with the coaches, and they got the job done.”

Defensive coordinator Doug Kaplan assumed the administrative role in Strunk’s absence and manned the defensive play-calling, while offensive coordinator Tony Reid managed the calls on offense. Kaplan admitted that even though Strunk couldn’t physically be with his team, his presence was still apparent.

“He has a very clear philosophy, and everything was built off of that when he had to step away,” Kaplan stated. “The players just pick each other up. They play for the right reasons – for the love of the game and for each other.”

And after Friday’s win, it was clear that the Howard players had also played for their head coach. The team sent Strunk the game ball Saturday with every student-athlete’s signature on it.

“He means a lot to the kids,” Kaplan affirmed.

Down by nine points in the fourth quarter, the Lions rallied back by scoring two unanswered touchdowns. The go-ahead score was a 1-yard touchdown run with under a minute to go by running back Brady Curley , who was brought up to the varsity squad from junior varsity after injuries plagued the three backs ahead of him.

“I was very proud of our kids,” said Strunk, who plans to be back on the sidelines for Saturday’s homecoming game against Reservoir. “Behind every successful coach is a great group of players and coaches.”

Each week during the season, the Ravens honor a high school coach who has made a significant impact on his athletes. Each recipient receives a $2,000 donation to the school’s football program, a certificate signed by Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh and a specially-designed Coach of the Week hat.

Each winner will be present at the Ravens vs. Saints home game on Dec. 19 for the naming of the Ravens’ High School Coach of the Year.