|Donovan Louis is giving up football at Potomac High|
to concentrate on track. The Panthers next offensive
weapon might be ... track teammate Rawle Brebnor Jr.
Louis and Brebnor Jr. Spell Trouble for Potomac at 5A Boys State
For the past two years, juniors Donovan Louis and Rawle Brebnor Jr. have been football teammates and track workout partners. For the first two years, Louis was easily the standout, as a star running back with the Panthers, and premier jumper and sprinter for Jeffrey Foy’s team.
Life on the gridiron was less than satisfying for the pair, as Potomac stumbled to a 3-7 mark during their freshman year, changed coaches, and finished 2016 with a 4-6 mark. There were no playoff games in two seasons. Louis saw plenty of time as a 6-3, 200-pound featured running back, while the slighter Brebnor (5-9, 150) played wide receiver and cornerback.
Track was more successful for the Panthers. Potomac held a spot in the middle of the team standings last year, finishing 19th indoors and 14th outdoors. However, during the last indoor state meet, the Panthers flirted with the team lead throughout much of the weekend, only to see Bethel win the team crown on the last leg of the last event - the boys 4x400 relay.
Last year, Louis showed the most promise, hedging his 100 and 200 times to the brink of breaking 11 and 23, while Brebnor lumbered behind at 11.68 and 23.67 – good, but not worthy of points at the state level.
This year has seen the emergence of Louis to state champion level. Yet, the deciding factor in Potomac’s state winning effort may have been Brebnor’s scoring contribution, as he too has become a top-flight sprinter, and one who had the fastest 200-meter time in Virginia for several weeks this season.
The Panthers won the 5A championship with 65 points, and captured the title when the 4x400 meter relay team of Kevin Mayers, Xennis Mensah, Johnathan Panda and Kofi Boateng placed fourth in 3:21.12, giving Potomac the five points needed to seal the championship.
However, up through Saturday morning, it was Louis carrying the torch, winning the long jump (24-8) and 100 (10.66) to give the Dumfries school 20 crucial points.
The 100 may have been the turning point. Along with Louis’ win, Brebnor placed fourth in 10.86, while Bryan Ahouman earned three points for his sixth place finish (11.10).
Soon after, the trio combined with Anthony Cole to place second in the 4x100, running the same time as Prince George (41.90), but losing by a piece of lint on the chest of a Royals uniform jersey.
Matthew Mitchell added a fourth place finish in the 110-meter hurdles (14.59), while Mayers placed fifth in the 400 (49.53). Jesus Gibbs also added a wrinkle to the Panthers’ arsenal with his fourth place effort in the shot put (51-9.5).
In spite of neither winning the race, it was the 200 that showed the difference between last year and this one. Louis, tired from four previous races, faltered slightly in the last 30 meters, and Keith Brown of Prince George charged to a 21.67 victory. Louis was fifth (21.94), but it was Brebnor who held his ground, hitting the tape in third (21.85). The pair gave Potomac ten points, and pushed the Panthers to within a half-point of Lee-Davis, setting the climactic tone for the 4x400.
After the meet, Louis said, “It’s a blessing to be in this position and rep my school.” Louis suffered with dehydration issues, especially in the long jump where there is nary a tree near the pit. To get over the hump, Louis, who has dropped 12 pounds from his football weight of 200, relied on verbal encouragement, mainly from his father.
Brebnor was excited about the win, and thankful for all of the outside support.
He may have another reason to be excited. Louis has decided to solely concentrate on track and will not be playing football for his senior year for the Panthers. With his loss, the starting tailback spot has opened up for Keith King’s team with one player having an inside track for the job, mainly because of his newfound game breaking speed.
He’d have to move from his receiver position, and may stay there to save his 150-pound frame from the punishment that a running back has to endure. Regardless, the newest weapon in the Panther offense this fall could be – Rawle Brebnor Jr.