LANDOVER — Former University of Maryland quarterback Frank Reich made a triumphant return to Prince George’s County on Sunday, guiding the Indianapolis Colts to a 21-9 road victory over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
Reich, in his first season as the Colts’ head coach, picked up his first career win.
“You know, it means a lot,” he said. “We understand in this game that [the] great thing is the team aspect of it, so it’s ours together as a team. As a new era of Colts football, we’re sharing this one together.”
The game also marked the return of D.C. native Nate Hairston whose roots extend to Montgomery and Frederick County.
“It felt good, man,” said Hairston, a Colts cornerback. “Having so many family members be able to come out, people that wouldn’t normally be able to see me play.”
Hairston once attended Neelsville Middle School and played youth league football for the Germantown Panthers where he was coached by Genoa Mitchell, Wayne Clark and Robert Hill.
“They did a lot for me,” said Hairston. “They really introduced me to this game that I love so much now and just helped develop me from a young kid to where I am now, it’s great.”
During his youth league days with the Germantown Panthers, Hairston also played alongside Ace Clark and Hassan Dixon and reminisced about his former teammates.
“We played little league together,” recalled Hairston. “They’re great guys and it’s good that so many years later they’re still supporting me and it’s great.”
There was a contingent of friends and family members gathered to watch the former Thomas Johnson High School and Temple University standout compete against the Redskins.
“It was cool, man, having my family get to come out and watch me play,” said Hairston.
Meanwhile, Colts player Zach Pascal, a Prince George’s County native, returned home to compete against his former team.
Pascal, who played high school football at Wise, signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent following last year’s NFL Draft.
“It felt great being able to play in front of my hometown again with everybody in the stands and just people knowing that I’m from the area being able to make my dream come true,” said Pascal, a former Old Dominion wide receiver.
Since being waived by the Redskins last September, Pascal spent time on the Tennessee Titans practice squad before he was acquired by the Colts in June.
Pascal said there were about 60 of his supporters at the game including friends, family and church members.
Former Kennedy head coach Gunnard Twyner also returned to his old stomping ground.
Twyner, a former All-Sentinel Coach of the Year, now works on Reich’s staff as the team’s offensive quality control coach.
“He always works with me on my eyes and hand coordination [and] over the shoulder stuff,” said Pascal. “He’s low-key, one of the top guys that helps me elevate my game and my skill to be able to perform out there.”