OXON HILL – Dominique Anthony and Corey Dyches have been building a connection ever since their respective freshman years at Potomac High School.
Both are four-year varsity players and are now stars for the Wolverines. Anthony will be back for his third year as the starting quarterback with Dyches returning as his favorite target at wide receiver. Heading into their senior seasons, that connection has almost become second nature to the two on the field.
“Not only does he know where Corey likes the ball, (but) he also knows where he likes it on the route (he) is running,” Potomac Head Coach Ronnie Crump said. “Their connection is uncanny.”
For Anthony, building this connection has been easy. Dyches, who committed to the University of Maryland in April, uses his impressive vertical to give himself a chance at any ball that comes near him.
“He’s the type of receiver (that) wherever you throw the ball, he can go get the ball,” Anthony said. “High, low, far and short, doesn’t matter; He can go get the ball. He’s a pretty good receiver…he can do everything.”
Despite missing three games with injury last season, Dyches still managed to catch 33 passes for 624 yards and eight touchdowns, slightly down from his 47 catches for 787 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018.
Still, he carried the same work ethic and leadership throughout, elevating the standard for his fellow receivers, Crump said.
“I’ve seen tremendous improvements in our wide receiver position,” Crump said. “There will be some other guys that are going to help at the receiver position and will help open up our run game. They’re not just going to be able to concentrate on Corey, but other guys who have improved in the offseason.”
Potomac’s opponents will not just have to worry about Dyches this season, as the Wolverines added some key transfers in the offseason. Crossland High School transfer Anthony James adds versatility to the roster after completing 16 receptions for 215 yards and three touchdowns last season. He can play both tight end and wide receiver and will be on in different ways as well.
At running back, Potomac added sophomore Dadrian Carter-Williams from St. John’s College High School, whose dad, Dadrian Williams, was the quarterback on Potomac’s 1995 state runner-up.
“He has a special ability,” Crump said. “Punt returner, kick returner and cornerback. He brings speed, knowledge of the game, hands; He has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and line up anywhere.”
With some quality talent at skill positions, Anthony is the glue that holds it all together. He spent the summer working with the offensive coordinator every day and trained at the QB Lab DC program to take the next step. In both workouts, Anthony learned to make better reads at the line of the scrimmage.
He hopes that the workouts will help him be one of, if not the top, quarterbacks in the DMV this year and achieve his dream of being a Division I football player.
Crump hopes the defense takes another step forward as well. The unit struggled with consistency giving up 20 or more points in five games while posting just two shutouts. Luckily for Potomac, they return four of their five leading tacklers from a year ago.
The team’s lead tacker, senior Caree Keith (61 tackles, 6.5 sacks), can play both middle linebacker and defensive end and form an imposing trio at linebacker alongside fellow seniors Gregory Washington (60 tackles, one sack) and Kwamai Phifer (28 tackles).
On the defensive line, senior Maurice Hicks should set the tone following a year where he finished with 44 tackles, while Crump sees a big year for junior Zion Pitman. In the secondary, senior Xavier Dozier was a workhorse last year with 46 tackles, four sacks, four passes deflected and two fumble recoveries. His ability to play all over the field makes him a key figure on the Wolverine defense.
“He’s a three-year varsity kid who will be playing safety and corner for us,” Crump said. “Very physical and can play the run and pass as well. I expect him to be one of our captains as well.”
If play on both sides of the ball improves as Crump expects it to, Anthony and Dyches may be able to achieve the goals they set in freshman year: winning a state title. The Wolverines have made the playoffs five straight seasons, and both Dyches and Anthony were freshmen in 2016 when Potomac fell to Damascus in the state semifinals.
With the Wolverines moving down from 3A classification to 2A this year, a state championship feels like a possibility. Anthony says he has been preaching to his teammates to do the little things before they start to think about that goal.
Crump emphasizes the small things as well, and Potomac will have three key opportunities to show they are ready to move on to bigger goals. The Wolverines open the season against 4A Anne Arundel County power Broadneck on Sept. 6, travel to Frederick Douglass at the season’s halfway point on Oct. 5 and end the regular season with a showdown against Gwynn Park on Nov. 1.
“This team has to do the little things right,” Crump said. “That’s basically what I’ve seen in terms of continuing in the playoffs and making a run. We‘ve got to play with a certain amount of discipline to make a run, not make mistakes and be ready to play.”