It was one of those tense, taut football battles befitting a high-school championship game, and it looked for all the world like it would not end with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback for the Bullis School.
“In the second quarter he was carried off the field,’’ Dan Paro, head coach on the rival sideline for Georgetown Prep, told The Post. “I don’t know what exact injury he had, but he was carried off and he had a very noticeable limp. We didn’t think he was coming back in the second half.’’
No one thought Haskins would be able to take another snap that Nov. 13, 2015.
“He twisted his ankle pretty good,’’ said Patrick Cilento, the Bullis head coach. “He couldn’t run, he was hobbling on it but he wanted to finish out his high school career and, by God, did he, in an unbelievable way.’’
This was before Haskins spent two years waiting his turn at Ohio State, before he unleashed his skills in 2018 with a record-breaking season for the Buckeyes, before he vaulted to the top of the 2019 NFL draft quarterback class, before he hit the Giants’ radar as a player to consider with the No. 6-overall pick. This was Haskins’ final high-school game, for a share of Maryland’s Interstate Athletic Conference title.
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All season, Cilento tried to protect Haskins by keeping him in the pocket, but this was the final game and Haskins was itching to do everything he could to lead the Bulldogs to victory. Haskins kept the ball on a run, got his right ankle crunched and took a seat for the remainder of the first half. Bullis’ lead disappeared as Georgetown Prep went ahead by four points in the second half, kicking a field goal with time winding down.
Bullis got the ball back with 91 seconds remaining, on its own 75-yard line. Haskins hobbled onto the field. He was unable to plant on his right ankle, a deadly liability for a right-handed quarterback. Still, he completed four passes, including the game-winner in the closing seconds, and Bullis won, 16-12.
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“It was incredible, absolutely incredible,’’ Cilento said. “He’s hopping around and the smart coach I am, I call a sprint-out pass on one play. He doesn’t sprint out, he throws a 15-yard out on a laser to a guy.’’
In the crush of defeat for Georgetown Prep, Paro looked his players in their tearful eyes and told them never to forget what happened and who beat them.
“He was noticeably hurt,’’ Paro said. “He had no movement. I remember telling the kids ‘Hey, you just played against a legend.’ He showed something that I hadn’t seen, all the chips were down and what the great ones do, he stepped up and led his team back. I was on the opposite side of it but I’ll never forget it, in a very positive way.
“It was painful for our seniors, we shared the title that year. We played extremely hard. They had a third-and-18, we had it perfectly covered and Haskins hits the window of about three feet, in the chest to one of his receivers. I’m like, ‘Well, that was pretty special.’ There’s nothing you can do. We did everything right but guess, what? He did something better.’’