Brown departs, for now
Former Hylton football coach Bill Brown may be putting his clipboard away for a desk job soon but pigskin fever is still lingering in his blood.
After Friday’s Virginia High School Coaches Association East-West All-Star game, the Virginia High School Hall of Fame coach acted like he always does after a game, reflecting on the kids’ performances with a steady, even-keeled voice. It was as if the new Forest Park assistant principal just coached against Cardinal District foe Gar-Field and was ready to take on Potomac the following week.
Brown said he will be back in the coaching ranks it’s just going to take a while.
“I told them I was like Ted Williams in one sense, I was going to do my tour of duty and I am coming back,” Brown said. “I am going to see in a couple of years if I can get back in this. That’s my intentions.”
Whether he comes back as an assistant for his son John, who wants to be a head high school coach, or as a college assistant [he’s gotten looks from a few undisclosed schools], Brown has left an indelible stamp on Prince William County football. That mark was evident in the East-West All-Star game, a contest he’s coached in eight times.
Former Hylton standout linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who’s headed to Fork Union Military Academy, and former Potomac quarterback Gary Price shone brightest for the West squad that featured six players from Prince William County. On just one play, Brooks and Virginia Military Institute signee Price showed just how good football has become in the Northwest Region.
Late in the second quarter, Brooks took a pitch from Price, sprinted to his right, almost fell down, circled back to his left and found Price in the front left corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown pass. It may have been a designed play by the West coaching staff but it was the athleticism of the kids that pulled it off. Price was the second option on the play and had to skirt the sidelines to make the catch inbounds.
The pass from Brooks, who set up the TD with a jaw-dropping 76-yard punt return, tied the score at 7. While the East went on to win 21-7, players like Price, Brooks, Loren White [Gar-Field], Jamar Atkinson [Gar-Field], Stephen Ball [Hylton] and Keenan Carter [Potomac] represented their county well both on and off the field.
“During the week they were class acts,” Brown said. “Everybody commented to me about these kids and what a pleasure they were to be around. And I am really proud of the kids that have come down here from Prince William County and represented the way they did.”
Brown, who has been involved in the selection committee in the past, hopes coaches will continue to get behind local standout players so they get the opportunity to play in the VHSCA All-Star game.
“I think now that I’m going out of this and I am getting into administration, I think some of our coaches in Prince William County are going to have to really get involved in this Virginia High School Coaches Association so that are kids still get the opportunity to come down here,” said Brown. “Because if you are not involved with it, they get overlooked. When you are in on the selection committee, you can say this kid is a heckuva player and this kid is a heckuva player and every time I’ve done that, these kids have been heckuva players.”
After the loss, Brown talked about how nice it was for players to be showcased in the VHSCA All-Star game. He appeared to be in a good mood despite being on the wrong end of the score.
But that’s Brown at his best. A poker face with the media, he answers queries with grace and dignity and little emotion regardless of the outcome.
The desire to win is still burning inside, though. A desire that’s not quite been put out yet.
“You always play to win,” Brown said. “If we were out here playing pickup basketball, we’d try to win.”
Kipp Hanley is a sports writer for the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8053 or e-mail him at [email protected]