“If somebody had said four years ago that Clear Spring would go into Week 10 of a season holding its (playoff) destiny in its hands, I would have laughed,” said Clear Spring coach Craig Bathgate.
And four years ago, laughter would have been the common — albeit impolite — response.
But they’re not laughing at the Blazers now ... not after Bathgate led the team to the precipice of the Maryland Class 1A West playoffs and their first ever winning season.
For those reasons, Bathgate is The Herald-Mail’s Washington County Football Coach of the Year.
Four years ago, a lot of people were laughing at the Clear Spring football program. Since becoming a varsity team in 2004, the Blazers had won just two games and routinely allowed 50, 60, even 81 points in a game.
Bathgate took over as head coach in 2007 after serving as an assistant coach at North Hagerstown, but his first two years were as painful as the previous three for Clear Spring.