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November 3, 2008

Nice of you to drop in, Fridge

Nice to know there can still be a surprise delivered at a high school football game.

Friday night at Poly, where No. 3 Dunbar was hosting No. 15 Edmondson the crowd was surprised to see a helicopter circling the playing field during an injury time out midway through the second quarter.

The timing added to the suspense, because Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith had just minutes before called for an ambulance for Edmondson's No. 54 Willie Little, who had been on the ground for some time after the previous play before moving. How serious was the injury? When the helicopter came into view, some fans wondered if it was the Medevac Unit flying in to hasten Little's delivery to the hospital.

But Little's injury turned out to be a foot injury, not life-threatening in nature.

The helicopter, it turned out was delivering University of Maryland head football coach Ralph Friedgen to the game.

"You made quite an entrance," he was told. "There was already a timeout for an injured player."

"I heard about that," he said. "But I'm hard to miss anyway."

Friedgen said it was a perfect night for football. Cold and crisp. Under the lights.

"It's fun to get out and see the kids play, having a good time and competing against each other," he said.

He had come to see several players he was interested in recruiting. Dunbar's Tavon Austin obviously among them.

"We're looking at several guys on both teams," he said.

Could he say who?

"I can't," he said. "It's illegal. But we have a kid on Edmondson who has committed to us."

Do we know who that is?

"You may know, but I can't tell you," he said, declining to name Edmondson's senior defensive end and linebacker David MacKall. "It's against the rules. That's the way they are."

We keep reading Austin has visited Michigan, is going to visit North Carolina and West Virginia. Is he coming to see you guys?

"I don't know that yet," said Friedgen.

Will you get to talk to him here after the game?

"It''s against the rules to talk to him until his coach releases him after the game," Friedgen said. "By that time, he'll probably be on the bus."

So Friedgen's mission was to make an appearance, just to let those players on the field who knew of Maryland's interest in them see just how interested the Maryland coach is.

On a chilly October night, rather than drive less than 50 miles from the Maryland campus, he took the trouble to helicopter in. It was a surprising and very impressive sight.

Sandra McKee

Posted by Ron Fritz at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)

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