This, that and the other:
The sadness that settled over Howard High's boys lacrosse program after senior goalie Milton Lee suffered serious injuries in a car accident last weekend has mushroomed into a dark cloud.
Monday night, two nights after Lee's brush with death, Rick Lewis-- the 33-year-old brother of Howard junior varsity coach Dean Lewis-- was killed in an auto accident in Annapolis.
Lewis was buried Friday morning, while Lee lay in the Maryland Shock Trauma Center at University Hospital in Baltimore in serious but stable condition. What's more, besides those two accidents, the uncle of starting Howard midfielder Lamont Anderson was involved in a traffic mishap Tuesday. Thankfully, his injuries weren't serious.
Howard initially responded to Lee's misfortune with an inspirational, 15-6 victory at Glenelg Monday afternoon. But emotional fatigue, not to mention the absence of Lee in goal, eventually caught up to the Lions on the field. Their undefeated season and quite possibly their county title and state playoff hopes all went up in smoke with successive losses to Liberty (11-8) and Hammond (9-8) on Wednesday and Thursday.
"This week has just been a nightmare," said Howard coach Dan Ross, who also was upset at five slashing calls that led to three extra-man Hammond goals Thursday. "It's a shame, we've come this far. After Monday, who the hell would have thought we'd lose to Liberty and Hammond?
"We were called for stuff that's been allowed all year. Some of the slashing callswere ridiculous," Ross added. "The fact is these guys (officials) goback to their regular jobs tomorrow. I have to go back to Howard High and face my kids. But we're not playing well right now. It was a bad day, just like the week. We lost the county and regional championship (probably to South Carroll) in one day. I really wanted to take the county title trophy to Milton."
The off-the-field disasters thatengulfed the Lions last week also obscured what would have been the week's highlight in a normal spring.
Senior attackman Scott Frye, looking like a cinch for Player of the Year, set a school career scoring record against Liberty when he scored in the first quarter of Howard's 11-8 loss. Frye went on to record two goals and four assists that night, and wound up the week with 188 career points.
Amazingly,the Lions, who were 11-0 four days ago and headed for a county titleand a possible state championship, now find their backs to the wall.Howard must beat a much-improved Centennial team on Tuesday just to make the 3A playoffs.
Which brings us to the county's crowdedboys lacrosse picture. Like this year's jumbled softball race, in which five teams still have a legitimate shot at a league title, the boys lacrosse standings could yield five teams with the same 5-2 countyrecord after Tuesday's regular-season finales.
If that happens, the county titlist or co-champs would be determined by the head-to-head records of the five clubs. Yes, our old friend, the tie-breaker, would have the final say.
Hammond, which stumbled off to an 11-6 defeat against Mount Hebron, has now won five straight and finds itself in the best position heading into Tuesday's games. The Bears could wrap up the county championship and a 2A playoff berth with a win at Glenelg.
Glenelg and Centennial each have 4-2 league records, but only Glenelg can make the playoffs. And the Gladiators -- who have losttwo straight after upsetting Mount Hebron -- will only qualify for the 2A dance by beating Hammond Tuesday.
Then there's Mount Hebron,the team people better not ignore. The Vikings, stung by a 7-4 defeat at Howard and reeling after a surprising loss to Glenelg, have rebounded with 33 goals in victories over Atholton and Oakland Mills. Hebron should beat Wilde Lake Tuesday to sew up a 2A playoff berth, andcould be seeded as high as fourth when the playoffs begin Friday.
Also, senior midfielder Bob Sites, who was off to an excellent startbefore pulling a groin muscle in practice 17 days ago, will return for the playoffs. Sites, who played sparingly in the Howard game and has rested since, will make the Vikings even more dangerous in the postseason.
Meanwhile, Mount Hebron's girls lacrosse allowed no such suspense in this year's county title chase, which they turned into a one-team issue pretty early.
The Vikings clinched their thirdcounty title in four seasons Thursday with a 23-9 victory over Oakland Mills. In six league games, Hebron (6-0 county, 9-2 overall) has outscored its opponents, 122-42.
While we're on the subject ofinjuries, here's a silver lining to contemplate:
Centennial High School pitcher Jodi Meitl, who suffered serious injuries in a March 1car accident, is progressing nicely in her comeback.
Meitl plans to begin throwing again on June 1. She is undergoing three hours of physical therapy a week and is coaching first base for the Eagles.