Pro Sports— For professional sports teams in the District, the offseason is usually more exciting than in-season. Like they’ve done in years past, the Wizards and Redskins both made offseason splashes over the summer but crashed miserably once the games started to matter.

Redskins End on Sour Note

Redskin Nation went gaga over the team’s April acquisition of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, but by the time November rolled around it was the usual sad story for one of the league’s most storied franchises. McNabb never found his groove with Washington, battling offensive line and wide receiver woes before battling his new head coach Mike Shanahan. Mired in the middle of another disappointing season, as of this posting, the Redskins find themselves last in the NFC East division while McNabb finds himself last in the quarterback rotation, now the third-string signal caller behind two less proven passers, Rex Grossman and Jonathan Beck.

Washington Wizards Can’t Shake Funk

The late June drafting of Kentucky University star point guard John Wall infused the city with new life. With new ownership and a new lead guard in town, Wizards fans had a reason to forget the previous campaign’s 26-56 record. A summer league filled with misleading highlights continued to pump blood in the veins of Wizards watchers, as Wall quickly impressed and became the central figure in the team’s turnaround attempt. Once the official tipoff began, however, hope quickly dissipated. A 1-4 start to the season was just a sign of things to come. Injuries to Wall kept the rookie in and out the lineup and a December trade finally ended the Gilbert Arenas era. Washington currently finds itself last in the NBA Southeast Division and may struggle to match last season’s futile record.

Baltimore Ravens Remained Winners in 2010
Meanwhile, further north on Interstate 295, the Baltimore Ravens remained the most successful team in the Maryland region, earning yet another winning season. The Ravens will head to the playoffs for a third straight year, a first in team history. With a roster that includes familiar stars like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Ray Rice and new talent like Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Baltimore is projected as a legitimate Super Bowl contender and could do a lot of damage in January’s postseason play.

College Sports—It was yet another typical losing affair for Howard University’s football team as they finished the 2010 season with a 1-10 record, their sixth straight losing season. Despite losing, Howard linebacker Keith Pough was voted to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first team on defense, while teammates Sackie Kerkulah and Willie Carter were selected to the all-conference second team.

Meanwhile, Howard’s basketball squad hired new head coach Kevin Nickelberry to pull the struggling Bison team out of its multi-year losing funk. Unfortunately, the Bison saw team captain Calvin Thompson and star recruit Theodore Boyomo suffer season-ending injuries before the season could even begin. Howard is currently facing a 10-game losing streak to start the New Year.

But while the Bison struggles, Morgan State University’s basketball team currently holds a 4-5 overall record so far this season. Junior star Kevin Thompson and the Bears are trying to repeat as Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champs after claiming the conference title with a 26-9 record last season. Morgan State also earned its first ever trip to the NCAA Championship tournament, where they fell to top ranked West Virginia in the first round.

Unfortunately for Morgan State’s football team, the wins came few and far between, as the Bears finished this season with a 4-7 record, their first losing season in three years.

Bowie State’s basketball team represented Prince George’s County well with a 16-9 overall record, 14-6 in the Central Interscholastic Athletic Association. The Bulldogs football squad finished 6-4 in their season.

High School Athletics—It was basketball business as usual for the DeMatha Stags. The Hyattsville, Md. Catholic school won its second consecutive City Title Game, upending Southeast Washington, D.C.’s Ballou High School 80-70 at the Verizon Center last March. Led by sweet-shooting junior point guard and All-Met Player of the Year Quinn Cook, DeMatha, and its collection of athletic and accurate shooters, stormed its way to a 32-4 record, matching its mark from the previous season.

The 2010 Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl Washington, D.C. high school football championship didn’t arrive without drama. An academic ruling disqualified Ballou High School and opened the door for Dunbar, who Ballou beat in the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs a week earlier. In what attending fans called poetic justice, H.D. Woodson High School claimed its third consecutive title, blowing away Dunbar 44-12 and raising second thoughts on how Ballou would have fared had they not been disqualified.

When it comes to Prince George’s County football, Henry Wise High School was the name to know this past season. Behind head coach DaLawn Parrish, Wise marched its way to a 12-1 record before bowing out in its second straight state final game to Urbana 6-0. Despite the loss, Parrish has his team on the rise. The Upper Marlboro, Md. program has compiled a 24-4 record over the last two years, dominating teams along the way and will return star running back Uriah Bethea for his final season next year.

But while Wise couldn’t bring a title to their home town, Baltimore’s Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School did, beating Havre de Grace, 22-12, in the 1A state championship. Dunbar Poets stars DeonTay McMannus and Trevonne Garrett helped lead Dunbar to a 13-1 record and their fifth state title in six years.