County rules create controversy at Randallstown


September 27, 1990|By Mike Farabaugh

Who said it's a simple game?

The Perry Hall at Franklin football game, scheduled today, has been rescheduled until tomorrow at 2 p.m. Both teams had games postponed last weekend because of the weather and had to play Monday. Baltimore County and school officials then decided to change today's game, to allow an extra day of rest.

Tomorrow's 2 p.m. start is in deference to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It's the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The solemn day of reflection begins at sundown tomorrow, so the players will have time to participate and still attend their synagogue service.

Baltimore County purposely scheduled its games on Thursday during the week of Yom Kippur, attempting to avoid any conflict between sports and religious services.

The county does not allow teams to practice or play on certain religious holy days. Last Thursday and Friday's feast of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, were such days.

Ultimately, this policy resulted in a controversy at Randallstown, where coach John Buchheister won his 100th career game last Saturday over Westminster.

After the game, Buchheister was asked about his team's sluggish first-half play. Buchheister told reporters: "The first half was our Thursday practice. We only have about five Jewish kids, and if they want to miss practice, that's fine. But it's unfair to the kids who aren't Jewish. The other 25 or so guys who aren't [Jewish] can't practice, either, and that's not fair to them."

Buchheister expressed his opinion on the no-practice policy. He said his players were at a disadvantage in Saturday's contest with Westminster since Carroll County has no such restrictions.

"I never intended to offend anyone," said Buchheister. "I think it is wonderful that they [the six Jewish athletes on his team] think enough of their religion to miss school. I just feel the other players should be allowed to practice."

If Randallstown had played another Baltimore County opponent, both teams would have met at the same disadvantage.

According to Jim Higgins, the director of athletics at Randallstown, a few parents were offended by Buchheister's comments and telephoned the principal.

"I got a call from my principal on Sunday and he was upset," said Higgins, who has been at Randallstown for 39 years. "I've been outspoken over the years, too. John's not a bad guy. His problem is with the no-practice rule, not religion. I agree with him, but sometimes you just have to keep quiet. It's a no-win situation."

Nor is it a simple game.

* Patterson's Michael Branch was a defensive end last year, but coach Roger Wrenn shifted him to fullback this season. Don't argue with the results.

Branch, a senior, rushed for four touchdowns against Edmondson, gaining 237 yards on 25 carries.

"The kids call him 'Smiley'," said Wrenn. "He's the type everybody likes to have around, but he's strictly a football player. He lives in the weight room when he's not playing football.

"Branch easily was the team's strongest in the bench press [315 pounds] when we had a competition last spring," Wrenn said. "And he's the basketball team manager during the winter."

* In Loch Raven's 12-6 overtime loss to Dulaney last weekend, linebacker Scott Hofferberth intercepted three passes. He also was in on 10 tackles.

* In field hockey, Westminster's Staci Thomson scored two goals and had one assist from her left wing position as the Owls rolled over Francis Scott Key, 4-0, and C. Milton Wright, 3-1.

Meanwhile, Wilde Lake's Ellen Leonnig scored five goals from her link position as the Wildecats topped Perryville, 8-0, and played Liberty to a 2-2 double-overtime tie.

* In football, Centennial's Brian Reid had a big foot in the Eagles' victory over South Carroll. His 32-yard field goal with five seconds remaining provided the 17-14 margin. On the year, he has converted all seven of his point-after attempts.

* In boys soccer, some previously unreported scores are worth consideration. Atholton is rolling along at 4-0, having topped Curley, Meade, Laurel and Watkins Mill. Coach Reg Hahne cited juniors Tony Dedmond (six goals, two assists), David Kelly (three and two) as well as defenders Phil Lazzari and Greg O'Shea. "We're playing well and another midfielder who has really played well for us is Brian Yankle, a sophomore."

Yankle's brother, Joe, is the senior running back-placekicker for the Raiders' football team.

Liberty coach Lee Kestler says goalkeeper Bill Riegel, who started last year as a sophomore, has been making the kind of saves that keep his team in the game. He had 13 in two victories last week.

* In cross country, Dulaney sophomore Amanda White ran her first varsity race ever last Saturday, winning her large-school section in 18:46.

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