To the surprise of few connected with the Carroll County Boys' Soccer League and to the consternation of even fewer, the Baltimore Football Club will not return next season.
Several weeks ago, the league's team representatives voted unanimously not to invite Baltimore back.
The action was unprecedented, said league president Steve Maloff.
"This is the first time there's ever been anything derogatory said (about a team) by one person, let alone the entire body," he said.
During its one campaign, Baltimore Club was a dominant force in the league's under-10 division and two under-12 divisions.
It went 28-1 in winning two of three regular-season titles, losing only to the Freedom Strikers, who went 11-0 to win the Intermediate (under-12) Division crown.
Baltimore then won two of three post-season divisional championship tournaments.
Maloff, though, said this on-field excellence was to be expected because "they recruit kids from all over the place (in the Baltimore area); most of the teams in the league are drawn from local recreation councils."
But he said the drastic action had nothing to do with Baltimore Club's dominance on the field.
"It's not the fact that they won, but how they won," Maloff said.
He said the Baltimore Club's rough play resulted in numerous scuffles with other players and that the visitors exhibited a "win at all costs" attitude that ultimately created a great deal of ill-feeling toward them around the league.
The Westminster Pit Bulls go big time next month when they play in the National Flag Football Championships in Princeton, N.J.
The Northwest Area Flag Football League team, which is comprised primarily of Carroll County players, qualified by winning the Maryland Flag Football League's Western Regional Tournament Saturday in Hagerstown.
The Bulls won for their first time ever in state championship competition when they received a forfeit in the opener and then beat Sheldon's, a Baltimore City team, 13-6.
The Bulls' bid for the state championship however, foundered in Columbia Sunday, when they were blanked, 23-0, by the Cowboys.
The Howard County-based Cowboys were second in the nation last year.
Against Sheldon's, the Bulls scored on a 60-yard John McGraw-to-Dave Garrett touchdown strike, and a carom reception of a McGraw pass by Britt Baker.
The Westminster defense sparkled in the game's final moments when Sheldon's drove inside the Bulls' 20.
Then, with the game on the line, Bulls defenders batted down two consecutive end-zone passes to preserve the win.
McGraw, a Reisterstown resident who is also Northwest League commissioner, said the Bulls players are thrilled at the opportunity to duke it out with 30 to 40 of the country's best teams.
But the prospect of playing squads that are much bigger and deeper than his leaves no doubt in his mind about the outcome.
"We'll probably just play one game (before being eliminated)," McGraw said matter-of-factly.
"But," he added, "we'll just let it all hang out.
"Maybe someone will take us lightly."
Staying with football, it would be great if we could crown true Carroll County rec football champions each year.
Presently, the county's seven youth football franchises are split between the Mountain Valley (Francis Scott Key in the northwest section of Carroll, Gamber-Smallwood and Mount Airy) and Carroll County (North Carroll, Sykesville, Westminster and Winfield) football leagues and never see each other in regular-season play.
Hence, nobody knows how Sykesville's tremendous B division Raider team, which has won 34 consecutive games, would fare against Mount Airy's outstanding junior varsity squad, which was 10-1 this season and had represented this county at the MVFL super bowl seven consecutive times until this year.
I'd like to see a Carroll County Super Bowl played Thanksgiving weekend at the home field of one of the participating teams or on some sort of rotating basis.
It would match the top local finisher in the MVFL's varsity division against its counterpart in the CCFL's A, MVFL jayvee vs. CCFL B, and MVFL pony vs. CCFL C.
Westminster A team coach Dick Mercer said the idea hasn't been discussed in CCFL circles.
But he added, "It's a good idea; we'd probably play in it."
He added that the players would also like the chance to play a local team that they would normally never see.
While weight differences in the two leagues and other issues would have to be resolved by some sort of body of local team representatives, it can be done.
At least it's worth talking about.
Several county soccer teams participated in holiday tournaments in northwestern Baltimore County over the weekend.
Teams from Westminster and South Carroll competed in the under-12 boys division of the Reisterstown Soccer Tournament at the old Hannah More Academy grounds in Reisterstown, but both were eliminated in early-round action.
A little farther down Reisterstown Road, two county girls teams competed in the Pikesville Soccer Tournament.
North Carroll and Freedom each had early-round victories in the under-12 division but did not advance to the semifinals.
Mike Nortrup's Carroll County recreation sports coverage appears every Wednesday. If you or your rec sports organization has an idea for a story that you would like to share, The Carroll County Sun, 15 East Main St., Westminster, Md.