COLUMN: SPORTS, THIS WEEKEND, Sports events around Carroll County this Friday, Saturday and Sunday
The Central Maryland Conference football season kicks off Friday night with a pair of important inter-county rivalries.
Neither set of games has the long tradition of the county's two oldest rivalries -- the South Carroll-Westminster season-ending game and the Francis Scott Key-North Carroll match that now opens the season -- but this weekend's two games seem to be every bit as intense on the field.
And with good reason.
When Liberty and South Carroll play, its a battle of neighbors and family. The schools are near Liberty Road and just about 6 miles apart.
Perhaps more noteworthy, many of Liberty's first students in the early 1980s were transplanted South Carroll folks who were moved to the Eldersburg school when it opened in 1980. And both of Liberty's head football coaches -- Bruce Cowan and current coach John Magee -- were assistant coaches for Ken Parker at South Carroll.
"I think the kids really look forward to it," said Parker, whose Cavaliers have won six of the 10 matches in the series. "I think John (Magee) really looks forward to it, too."
Magee agreed, but added his team still lives by the old "one-game-at-a-time" theory.
"After Friday's game (a 23-0 victory over Howard) was the first time I heard any of the players talk about South Carroll or the CMC," Magee said.
And though he said beating Parker is nothing special, Magee noted, "I learned a lot of football from Kenny. Anybody who coaches over there does."
On the field, Liberty will be a decidedly different team than in recent years. Usually a pass-oriented squad with an inconsistent defense, Liberty has a solid running game this year led by Eric Snyder (30 carries, 215 yards) and Buddy Hardesty (39 carries, 137 yards) and has allowed just nine points in three games, including two shutouts.
"We have to be able to run the ball to be successful," said Magee.
Parker, meanwhile, is going to the pass a little more often than usual this year.
"I feel Joey (Goodwin, the quarterback) can throw it, but if I can beat somebody by running, I'd rather do that," Parker said. "But we've got a lot of confidence in our passing game."
As a team, the Cavaliers have 454 yards rushing and 323 from passing.
The two teams meet in Winfield at 7:30 Friday night.
The Westminster-North Carroll rivalry isn't nearly as long -- this will be just the fourth meeting -- but may be every bit as intense. Like the two south county schools, the teams are neighbors (about 11 miles apart) and Westminster Coach Jeff Oeming was head coach for a season at North Carroll in 1987.
That year -- the inaugural season of the CMC -- Westminster eked out a hard-fought, 12-7 victory. The following year, Oeming moved to Westminster and was rewarded by his old squad with a 21-0 thumping. Last year, the Owls managed a 24-13 win.
"North Carroll really gets up for Westminster no matter who the coach is," said Oeming.
He said the Owls' major concern will be containing Panthers quarterback Jay Snell, who can wreck havoc with both his arm and his legs.
Snell is the county's top passer with 23 completions in 43 attempts for 359 yards and six touchdowns.
Oeming said the key for Westminster is "containing Jay Snell and not letting him make things happen on offense. And, can we move the ball against their defense?"
Westminster has a wide variety of rushing weapons available this season. Mike Rodgers (37 carries, 243 yards), Calvin Warfield (18-204) and Boomer Warfield (21-175) are among the county's top four ball carriers.
And while Oeming figures North Carroll to be sky high for Westminster, the Owls might have a bit of an emotional letdown after Saturday's 22-14 loss to Randallstown.
"The kids put a tremendous amount of effort into that game," said Oeming, adding that starting quarterback Marty Brennan was injured late in the game. His condition was not known as of mid-afternoon Monday.
The Panthers come to Westminster for a 7:30 p.m. start Friday.
In other football action, Francis Scott Key will try to snap its four-game losing streak (stretching back to the final game in 1989) Friday night in Thurmont, Frederick County, against Catoctin.
Western Maryland College finds itself in the same position this Saturday as it was a year ago -- a 2-1 record and a game against a winless Muhlenberg team. The Green Terrors responded last year with a 28-13 loss on the way to a 2-8 season. Muhlenberg, by the way, finished with a 5-4-1 record and was third in the Centennial Football Conference.
The other major upcoming event is the District V golf tournament at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Eisenhower Golf Course in Anne Arundel County.
Westminster should be competing with several Anne Arundel teams for the team title and a spot in the state tournament, while members of the county team will compete for individual honors.
Liberty defeated Howard,23-0.
Copyright The Baltimore Sun 1990