Sideline Spectator

2010 Spring High Schools Preview

March 18th, 2010

Winter is finally gone and spring is here. That means it’s time for another season of baseball/softball and lacrosse. It’s hard to believe, but the season kicks off this Monday, March 22. Here is a preview of each sport.

 Baseball

The past three years, a local team has made it to their state title game in baseball. In 09’ Eastern Tech made it to the 2A Title Game and Patapsco made it to the 3A Title Game in ’08. Both teams will be a contender for the state title games again and both will meet when the Mavericks visit the Patriots on April 6.

A dark house this year could be Sparrows Point. They play in the 1A region and this could be the year, they finally make it to that region’s title game at Ripken Stadium.

 Softball

Perry Hall (4A), Eastern Tech (2A) and Sparrows Point (1A) all have hopes of winning their region and going to their state title game. Tech and Point made it to their regional final before falling short. Perry Hall, who may be the best of the three, will have the toughest road in the 4A region.

 Boy’s Lacrosse

Unfortunately, the lacrosse programs haven’t had the success of baseball, but there is potential. The three Essex schools are always competitive. Chesapeake was undefeated, but got knocked out of the first round. A core of those Bayhawk players graduated, but Coach John Baker will find away to be competitive. Eastern Tech always plays a tough schedule, but it toughens them up for the playoffs. This year they move from 2A/1A to 2/A to 3/A, a much tougher region. Kenwood has a strong lacrosse team and gets to prove they are the best in Essex when they meet Eastern Tech on March 24 and Chesapeake on April 12.

 Girl’s Lacrosse

Last season Kenwood grabbed a number one seed in the 4A/3A region, but lost to Perry Hall in the regional semifinals. The Gators went on to lose to Dulaney in the region finals. Again, our local schools still have a way to go to catch up with the rest of the county in lacrosse.

 

History of Local High School Basketball

February 25th, 2010

According to the record book on the MPSSAA website, only the only local team to win a basketball state in either boys or girls basketball was the 1961 Sparrows Point boys team coached by Warren Orminston. With the expectation of Perry Hall, all the local schools have made it to the state semifinals one point in their history, but Chesapeake and Eastern Tech are the only teams to do it in this century (Chesapeake ’02 and Tech ’02 & ’05).The girl’s haven’t fared much better. Just the 1986 Patapsco and 1996 Perry Hall teams have made it to the state-semifinals.

Winter Sports Coverage

February 24th, 2010

I’ll admit, I have never covered a winter sports event in my three years as sports reporter. It’s tough with the weather, having two small children and we devote our sports page to the rec. council news since most of their registrations are in the winter for spring sports, but I decided to give the schedule and results to this year’s boy’s and girl’s basketball playoffs

A College Football Playoff?

January 7th, 2010

Since this is a slow time of the year, I decided to write about college football and why I believe there will finally be a playoff before this decade is over.Until a few years ago, most fans loved the bowl games because of their tradition and history. Also, the bowls appeared to change with the times. Before 1992, teams made arrangements to play in bowl games before the regular season was over. Then the Bowl Coalition was formed, but teams from the SEC were locked into the Sugar Bowl and the Big 8/12 champion were stuck in the Orange Bowl. Next, the Bowl Alliance were created that allowed any team to play in any bowl game, but the Rose Bowl wouldn’t end their exclusive contract with the Big 10 and Pac 10 until 1998. The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was formed and worked out fine the first few years matching the top two teams until it run into problems. In 2003, the top three teams (USC, Oklahoma & LSU) all had one loss and USC was left out. Back in 2004, the top three teams (USC, Oklahoma & Auburn) were undefeated and Auburn was the odd team out. Most fans still liked the bowl system, but wanted to see a playoff integrated into the system. Maybe a mini-four team playoff before the bowls or taking the four BCS bowl winners and creating a playoff would have satisfied fans to an extend, but the BCS has been content with this outdated system. Now this has upset fans, but the BCS’s biggest problem has been the emergence of the mid-major schools. A team like Utah, Boise State and TCU was suppose to qualify for a BCS game once every four/five years. Not only have five teams qualified for a BCS Game in the past four years, but they are winning. Boise State shocked Oklahoma in ‘06, Utah pounded Alabama in ‘08 and TCU was a Texas missed field goal against Nebraska away from playing in the BCS Title Game.
But would a four or eight team playoff work? If the BCS took the top four teams for a playoff this year (Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati and TCU) undefeated Boise State would be left out. In 2008, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and Alabama were the top four and Utah and Boise State would be out.
Then how about a eight-team playoff with the four BCS bowl winners? Well, we know the bowls won’t just take the top 8 teams. The Rose Bowl would want to keep their Big 10-Pac 10 match-up, even if the teams aren’t ranked in the top 8. Then the Big East, ACC, SEC and Big 12 teams would demand automatic berths too no matter what they are ranked. That leaves only two at-large berths and if a second place SEC or Big 12 team is in the top four, they would get those berths over TCU, Utah and Boise State.
Most fans now want the entire bowl system scrapped. The only fair thing to do is have a 16-team tournament where all 11 conference champions (even the Sunbelt and MAC champs) get berths and there are five wild card/at-large berths. Of course with a 16-team tournament, the first two/three rounds would be played at a higher seed’s home field. You can’t have each round at current bowl sites because it’s too much for fans to travel for four weeks in a row and besides the regular season will stay meaningful if Texas and Alabama get home-field advantage. The finals will be played at a bowl game and maybe the semis could be played at two other bowls, but the bowl system will die. And is that a bad thing? Where is the tradition? Bowl season used to be over Jan. 1, with the championship game played on Jan. 2 Now lower-level bowls are played well past Jan. 2. Talking about a 16-team playoff would be considered a fantasy only two or three years ago, but it should be a reality in 2015. For better or worse, President Obama and Congress have talked about intervening into the system. Some say the politicians need to worry about problems are nation faces, but the college football powers don’t want it to get that far. They could also by facing lawsuits by the mid-major conferences. It’s still hard to imagine, but there will be a playoff after the 2014 season.

Mavericks SHOULD Win First Football Title

November 20th, 2009

Eastern Tech is just one win away from their first football state title and they SHOULD get it this Saturday. Sure Maverick coach Marc Mesaros and his team wouldn’t take it for grant, but they will probably win on Saturday. The last two title games, they lost to a better River Hill team but they appears to be a better team than their opponent Queen Anne’s of the Eastern Shore. Tech beat the same team 28-6 in the 2008 State Semifinals game on the Eastern Shore. While both teams had key players graduate, teams usually don’t have a gradually drop off or increase from year to year. Yes, Queen Anne’s is undefeated, but they were undefeated in 2008 before losing at home to Tech. Queen Anne’s couldn’t move the ball on Tech in 2008 and I don’t think much will change in 2009.
If Tech was going to lose a game in the playoffs, it would have been against last week’s opponent Frederick Douglass. The Prince George’s County school had many offense skill players and a vertical passing game that gave the Mavericks trouble. Douglass couldn’t execute enough big plays in the end, but that team was good enough to beat Tech. I’m not so sure about Queen Anne’s.
This should be Tech’s best effort of the season. They should be pumped up and hungry for this game and won’t take Queen Anne’s lightly. The only way Tech loses on Saturday is if they are beaten by a superior team. Queen Anne’s may not be an inferior team, but they are not a superior team to Tech.

Eastern Tech Gets Rematch With Chesapeake in Playoffs

November 20th, 2009

Chesapeake pulled off the biggest upset of the year back in September with a 15-13 win over Eastern Tech. The Bayhawks look to do it again tonight, but it will be a challenge.
This time Tech will be ready and on top of their game. Not to make excuses, but Eastern Tech was coming off two emotional wins. They went up to Hereford and beat their long time nemesis 14-10 and beat their Essex neighbors Kenwood 35-13 a week later. The Mavericks probably took the game lightly and the Bayhawks came to play. After facing a 3rd and 25, Chesapeake quarterback Delvonta Cole connected with Robert Morgan for a 24 yard pass and running back Corey Polston scored on the next play. Polston also broke free on a 4th and 1 and scored a 45-yard run. Will the Bayhawks get these same types of huge plays again? It will be tough.
Does this mean that Tech will put 50 on Chesapeake? Not necessarily. The one thing that wasn’t a fluke was how the Bayhawk defense shut down the Tech offense. Maverick running backs Emmanuel Gbor, Marquise Bannister and Criszon Brown can break off 15-20 yard runs and then quarterback Zach Burkhardt can sneak between the tackles and add another 40-yard run against most teams, but the Bayhawk front seven with Aaron Beason, James Bedgood, TeAndre Gamble and Nester Navalo are probably one of the best in the county. So don’t expect Tech to march down 70 - 80 yards on their first three possessions and jump out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. If Chesapeake’s offense can score, the Bayhawks have another excellent chance with their defense. However, if the Bayhawk offense can’t move the ball and has a few early three and outs, the Maverick offense will start to wear out the Bayhawk defense. Of course, if Chesapeake has a couple early turnovers, than the game could get out of hand.

Eastern Tech Football Still Looking for First State Title

November 18th, 2009

After all these years, this might be Eastern Tech’s best shot at winning a state title in football. This might not necessarily be the Maverick’s best team, but this is probably their best opportunity. Over the years, the Mavericks had trouble getting out of their region because Hereford stood in the way. Hereford moved to the 3A classification in 2007. Then Tech got out of their region and made it to the state finals only to lose to powerhouse River Hill. Now River Hill is in 3A with Hereford. That means it should be smooth sailing to the 2A State Title. But they got some competition from their own backyard in Chesapeake. Who thought that a two-win Bayhawk team  from 2006 would become one of the top teams in the county and stand in the way of Tech’s dream of going back to the state semifinals. The Mavericks still remember that 15-13 loss in late September, but they have a chance to redeem themselves. And they still have a chance for their first state title.

Football Playoffs Matchups Set

November 11th, 2009

Dundalk looked to be a long shot to make the playoffs with a 2-3 record, but the Owls won five straight and got help from Poly as they defeated City 26-20. That put the Owls in 2A playoffs as a fourth seed and they will play Chesapeake in the first round of the playoffs at CCBC-Dundalk on Friday night. Both teams met back in Week Three in a turnover filled game. Chesapeake won that game 20-7. The Bayhawks secured the number one seed in the region over Eastern Tech by beating Overlea 33-12.
Speaking of Tech, the Mavericks open up the playoffs with Lake Clifton at home on Friday night.
In the 1A Region, Sparrows Point lost to New Town 35-28, but gets another shot against that same team in the playoffs on Friday night in New Town.

High School Football Playoff Scenarios

November 4th, 2009

This is the final week of the regular season for the area football schools. Five of the eight high school teams could make the playoffs. Three teams (Chesapeake, Eastern Tech and Sparrows Point) are in and two others (Perry Hall and Dundalk) could still qualify. Here is a breakdown:
4A
Perry Hall 5-4
The Gators are tied with Thomas Johnson for the fourth and final playoff spot. Johnson has more quality points this week, but if the Gators can beat Hereford, they should jump over Johnson for that final spot. Hereford has seven wins and Johnson’s Frederick opponent has only four wins, so if both teams win, Perry Hall would have the tiebreaker. If Perry Hall loses, their season will be over no matter what Johnson does.

2A
Chesapeake 8-1
The Bayhawks lost their first game of the season to Carvel Academy of Delaware last week but can still finish first in the 2A North Region with a win over Overlea. If they lose and Eastern Tech wins, Chesapeake will make the playoffs as the number two seed.
Eastern Tech 8-1
No matter if the Mavericks win or lose, they will finish at least second in the 2A North Region. They can still finish first with a win on Patuxent, but need Chesapeake to lose.
Dundalk 6-3
Eastern Baltimore County could take three of the four-playoff spots in the 2A North Region, if Dundalk can grab the final spot. The Owls need some help. They must beat Owings Mills and need City College to lose to Poly.

1A
Sparrows Point 6-3
The Pointers play at Pikesville in their final regular season game and play Pikesville again in the first round of the playoffs no matter what happens. The only thing on the line Friday is that the winner gets home-field advantage and the loser gets a chance to redeem themselves a week later.

High School Football Playoffs Are Coming

October 22nd, 2009

This year’s football season is already seven games in the books with only three games left. Three teams in eastern Baltimore County (Chesapeake, Eastern Tech & Sparrows Point) are on the verge of making the playoffs. Dundalk, Kenwood & Perry Hall are still alive, but need help. Unfortunately, Patapsco and Overlea are looking ahead to 2010.

Here is a breakdown:

Sparrows Point 5-2 The Pointers are in second place in the 1A South Region.  They play Dundalk this weekend, Loch Raven next week and they play at third place Pikesville in the last game of the season.  They should win at least two of three to get into the playoffs.

 

Chesapeake 7-0 After the Bayhawks upset Eastern Tech, they have been on a roll. With games against 1-6 Patapsco and 0-6 Randallstown, this team should clinch the number one seed in the 2A North Region.

 

Eastern Tech 6-1 After the loss to Chesapeake, the Mavericks have won three in a row and look to grab the number two seed in the 2A North Region. They will probably have to face the Bayhawks at Chesapeake again if both teams reach the 2A North Regional Final.

 

Dundalk 4-3 The Owls need to run the table and finish 7-3 to make the playoffs and will probably need help. They play at Sparrows Point and play Western Tech and Owings Mills at home. All three teams are classified as 1A opponents so the Owls could still win out and not get enough quality points to overtake Edmondson and City for that fourth and final playoff spot. 

 

Overlea 2-5 The Falcons got their second win of the year against Patapsco last Saturday.

 

Patapsco 1-6 After defeating Lansdowne in Week One, the Patriots have lost six straight. Losses seven & eight are coming with games against Chesapeake and Eastern Tech, but Patapsco has a chance at beating 0-6 Randallstown in the last game of the season.

 

Perry Hall 3-4 The Gators have underachieved this year with losses to Parkville & Woodlawn (two teams they beat in 2008) The Gators should bounce back and defeat 1-6 Dulaney. Defeating both Hereford and Milford Mill at home the last two games will be tough, but a necessity if this team wants to continue its playoff streak.

 

Kenwood 3-4 The Bluebirds started off 2-0, but have lost three of four. They are 3-4, but are behind Perry Hall in sixth place because of the 28-17 loss to the Gators. To make the playoffs, Kenwood needs other teams to lose and they better win their final three games. The only problem is the Bluebirds play Milford Mill, Woodlawn & Franklin, who have a combined record of 15-6.