Hereford High football coach Steve Turnbaugh has been named the Baltimore Ravens’ High School Coach of the Week for the first week of the 2010 NFL season.
Turnbaugh led the Bulls (1-1) to a thrilling 17-14 overtime victory over defending Class 2A state champions Eastern Tech Friday night at CCBC-Essex.
Trailing by 14 points at the end of the first half, Turnbaugh took a chance and replaced quarterback Ryan Jones with fellow sophomore Jay Patti for the start of the third quarter.
Surprisingly, this was not the first quarterback move the Bulls had to make.
Friday morning, just hours before the game, Turnbaugh was informed that his No. 1 quarterback was out with mononucleosis, leaving sophomores Jones and Patti – two players with no varsity experience – as the Bulls’ only last-minute options. Rather than panicking, Turnbaugh kept an open mind and a positive attitude.
“It was one of those things where I almost had to laugh,” he said. “The other two quarterbacks are both sophomores. Without them having any prep time whatsoever, you kind of have to just take it in stride and laugh. I told them, ‘No pressure, just do what you do in practice.’”
So when Jones had difficulty getting anything going for the Bulls early on, Turnbaugh turned to the next man up.
“I said if we were struggling in the first half, I’d make a quarterback change,” admitted Turnbaugh. “We needed a spark. Jay [Patti] had shoulder surgery in the spring, but he just has this air about him; just this confidence that translated into the other kids. That was the spark.”
And finally, on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bulls were able to cut their 14-point deficit in half with a 24-yard tourchdown run by running back Tim Bristol. Eastern Tech quarterback Brad Hager threw an interception to Hereford’s Will Bittner, and the Bulls capped it off with an Isaiah Taylor 42-yard touchdown reception with less than six minutes remaining.
Knotted at 14, the Bulls’ defense provided the spark in overtime. After Hereford’s Austin Brown recovered an Eastern Tech fumble, the Bulls ran three running plays before kicker Tyler Ruark split the uprights for a 20-yard, game-winning field goal.
“It was as much a team effort as I’ve ever seen,” said Turnbaugh. “It was everyone on offense, defense and special teams. Everyone had to do their job.”
Returning only one starter from last season, the win over Eastern Tech should be a confidence booster for Turnbaugh’s young team – a squad in which he sees a lot of heart and dedication.
“They’re a special group,” he said. “What they may lack in talent, they make up for in pure desire.”
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, an 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.