Friday, September 28, 2007

Two Single-Wing Teams Battle; Coach Hughes wins 100th

Milestone 100th victory a nail-biter for Long Reach coach Hughes
by andrew conrad


It took Long Reach coach Pete Hughes 25 years to get his first 99 wins as a head coach and it took him every bit of 48 minutes to get his 100th win Sept. 21 in a 7-6 victory over Centennial at home.

Centennial sophomore quarterback Greg Edmonds scored on the opening kickoff return, but a penalty for celebrating (it was the Eagles' first score of the season) left them with a difficult extra-point attempt, which was missed.

That one point made all the difference as Long Reach sophomore Kwasi Sarpong capped a long drive with a touchdown run in the second quarter, and Dele Ukim connected on the extra point to give Long Reach a 7-6 lead that would hold up for the entire second half.

"Centennial's very tough defensively, it was an exciting game," Hughes said. "We both run similar offenses, the single wing, so they see it in practice."

With only about 10 games per season, 100 wins has been quite a journey for Hughes. He played high school football for Woodlawn and was recruited by Valley City State in North Dakota.

There, he was named a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American defensive back in 1980, when the Vikings won the conference championship and their opening game of the NAIA playoffs.

Hughes is second on the school's career interception return yard list, with 144 on 13 interceptions (fourth all-time), and made 267 total tackles (seventh all-time).

After graduating, he became head coach at Finley-Sharon in 1983, where he went 22-6 and led the Spartans to a regional championship, a performance that earned him North Dakota Coach of the Year honors in 1985. Hughes came home to Maryland in 1986 and was defensive coordinator at Hammond for 10 years before taking the head coaching job at Long Reach when it opened in 1997.

He is 78-38 with the Lightning.

"I was just happy to get (100) and have it behind me," Hughes said. "The kids didn't realize until I told them after the game. They were excited, and so was I."

E-mail Andrew Conrad at Andrew


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