Marine Corps Base Quantico --
Quantico Middle/High School Warriors football team is heading to the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III state championship game against Roanoke Catholic this week. Last week, the team beat Richmond Christian in the semi-final game, adding a post-season win to their undefeated regular season.
It’s no small feat putting together a winning football team … especially for a school that draws players from an ever-changing student body.
“We start from scratch every year. We don’t build from the previous year,” said head coach retired Marine Lt. Col. Paul Roy, who was named Washington Redskins High School Football Coach of the Week in October.
Since many families move to new assignments during the summer, Roy said he never knows who’s going to show up for tryouts.
“We call it Christmas in August,” he said. “When the cars roll into our school, we see who gets out of the car and we go on the hunt after them. This year really was a Christmas in August, and we unwrapped some good packages this year.”
Roy said his football season officially begins Aug. 1. He lines up the prospects and starts drilling football basics.
“Most of them have never played before,” he said. “But this year was a little different: We had a few seniors and a few juniors with football experience.”
With that nucleus, he said, he began to build the team.
“We were very fortunate this year to get some veteran players -- usually that’s not the case,” he said. “We had about 18 kids who had played before, either for us or someone else, but the rest never played. We start from scratch every year.”
It’s been 11 years since Quantico went to the state playoffs. Last year, the school finished with a record of 6-4.
“In Quantico history, we have never been 10-0,” noted Roy. “In 1974, we were 7-0 and in 1969 we were 7-0-1. But we were never 10-0.”
Roy retired from Quantico and is now the ROTC senior Marine instructor at Quantico Middle/High School. He’s been coaching for 17 years. This year, he was named the seventh Redskins High School Coach of the Week, a program that recognizes area high school football coaches who continuously demonstrate hard work and dedication to their football programs, the health and safety of their players, and who make a difference in their communities.
“I was called into the principal’s office, and I asked if I needed my lawyer,” he laughed. “But it was not about me. I’ve been coaching way too long, nothing has changed in my coaching style. Only thing that changes is that I have great coaches and great players. When you have great coaches and great players, you’ll have great results.”
Each coach chosen as coach of the week received a $2,000 donation from the Redskins Charitable Foundation to their football program and a framed certificate signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden, Redskins President Bruce Allen and General Manager Scot McCloughan.
The money, he said, was spent on his players.
“This year we happened to have some outstanding athletes,” he said. “It’s easy coaching great athletes. They need the recognition, not me.”
As the season nears a close, Roy has begun shifting his focus to the players’ futures.
“Most of our kids play hard and had a good season, but they just want to go to college,” he said. If they do want to play at the college level, he said he talks to parents and college coaches.
For today, though, Coach Roy is focused on one thing: beating Roanoke Catholic and clinching the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III title Friday night at Butler Stadium, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $30 for families (two adults and two or more kids).