Coaches at Dundalk and Kenwood are teaching more than trap blocks and post patterns.
The two Baltimore County schools met on the football field yesterday at Kenwood before an estimated 150 fans.
The previous two nights, each school held a seminar on the abuse of steroids and nearly 500 showed up both evenings.
"I had been involved with the state drug abuse program," said Jim Wilmot, assistant coach and director of athletics at Kenwood. "Ron Schultz [athletic director at Dundalk] got together with Dr. John Gordon of the Sports Medicine Clinic and set everything up. He asked me to join them and I was very happy to help get the message across to the kids that steroids aren't worth the risks involved."
The message came through loud and clear. Dundalk's Joe Speed was only too happy to reinforce it after leading the Owls (4-0) to yesterday's 42-6 victory. Speed is instant proof that natural ability and hard work spell success.
"Joe never quarterbacked before this season," said Dundalk coach Richard Zentz. "He worked hard all summer on his passing, and he just keeps improving with every game."
Speed actually began developing his quarterback skills last winter during the indoor track season, where he excelled at the intermediate distances for the Class 3A state champion Owls and anchored the title-winning mile relay team.
"This summer I got up, went to the gym, ate and slept, and not much else," he said.
His deep passes, some of which traveled 60 yards in the air, helped key yesterday's victory. The longest, a 63-yard pass and run play to Mike Sowers, made it 14-0 in the first quarter.
Kendall Johnson chipped in with three touchdown runs and John Tyler accounted for another while rushing for 94 yards against the under-sized and ailing Bluebirds.
"I thanked Richard [Zentz] for not passing much in the second half and keeping the score down," said Wilmot. "We have 32 on our junior varsity, so things will get better. Our varsity is down numbers-wise, but the kids we have are working hard."
Quarterback Jesse DeBord, who connected with Mark Humphreys on a 10-yard touchdown pass for Kenwood's only score, went out with an injury in the fourth quarter. Fullback/linebacker Dale Summers already was on the sidelines with an injury and tailback Cliff Klinger had to fill in for DeBord.
By the final whistle, Kenwood had only 15 healthy players.
Across the field, Speed and his first-string mates were on the sidelines as the second unit ran out the clock.
"It's sort of a joke, but around the locker room my nickname is 'Natural,' " said Speed, who also played leftfield for the baseball team when he wasn't running outdoor track.
"I liked the seminar on steroids. It shows that the coaches are trying to teach us the right way to go, to use our talents naturally."
Zentz said he did not fully realize how much natural talent his squad had until it scrimmaged Fort Hill last month.
"That's when I saw we were tougher than I had thought," he said. "I expected then that we would be 4-0 in September."
The Owls now must face back-to-back Class 4A opponents, Woodlawn and Dulaney.
9- They'll be well-prepared . . . naturally.
In other games yesterday, Pikesville notched one of its biggest victories ever, beating Milford Mill, 8-0, to run its record to 4-0. Pikesville's victory avenged a 51-7 loss to the Millers last season, when the Panthers finished 1-9. It was their first win over Milford Mill since 1979.
In another Baltimore County Class 2A-1A game, Chesapeake improved to 4-0 with a 28-0 victory over Loch Raven (0-4) . . . No. 3 Randallstown (4-0) rolled past Lansdowne, 40-6, as Larry Washington rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown. Ken Wesley scored three times for the Rams.
Overlea (3-1) notched a 21-14 win over Dulaney (1-3) as John Swigart completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Steve Lockett with just over two minutes left . . . Towson (2-2) beat Hereford (1-3), 13-8 . . . Joe Watkins ran for 202 yards on 12 carries as Parkville (2-2) rolled to a 41-0 victory over Catonsville (0-4) . . . Woodlawn (2-2) scored a 16-6 win over Eastern Vo-Tech (2-2) . . . Owings Mills (3-1) got 127 yards rushing from Marlin Matthews in an 18-14 victory over Patapsco (1-3) . . . Sparrows Point (0-4) lost to St. James, 42-20.