Just 18 years after he took over as head coach for Wilde Lake's second season of varsity football, Doug DuVall picked up his 150th win (against 34 defeats, .815 winning percentage). And the way this one came, a 42-0 shutout of Centennial, is becoming commonplace for the Wildecats.
In its 1990 state championship season, six of Wilde Lake's 13 wins were by shutouts. But longtime defensive coordinator Ed Ashwell left for the head coaching job at Glenelg and a lot of defensive talent graduated, some with Division I scholarships.
But DuVall not only has a program, he has a system. Three-year assistant coach Mike Harrison, who played at Wilde Lake, stepped into the defensive coordinator slot and the Wildecats haven't missed a beat. In extending their winning streak to 19 games, the area's longest, they already have four shutouts in six games.
"We're running the same stuff we've been running here for a long time," DuVall said.
This year's defense has been led by linebacker Brent Guyton, nose guard Tony Farace and safety George Bradford, all seniors. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with quickness and pursuit.
* HEY COACH, LET'S JUST HAND IT TO THIS GUY: Trailing 3-0 and unable to generate any offense against Old Mill, Broadneck lined up overloaded on one side as the Patriots got set to punt from their 20 in the fourth quarter. Mike Gruentzell got through untouched, dove and blocked the kick. The ball rolled into the end zone, where Broadneck defensive end Steve Bruso pounced on it for the game's only touchdown, giving the Bruins a 6-3 upset over the previously unbeaten Patriots.
Bruso also blocked a punt himself, sacked the Old Mill punter once as he tried to run with a bounced center snap, and contributed six solo tackles.
* NO YOU DON'T, THIS ONE'S MINE: Apparently deciding that the all-for-one stuff coaches talk about sometimes goes too far, Wilde Lake outside linebacker Nate Casella wanted to finish what he'd started. After he blocked a Centennial punt at the goal line in the second quarter, Casella saw fellow linebacker Shane Allen running for the ball in the end zone. Casella gave chase, grabbed Allen's jersey and pulled him away, then fell on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown. In hockey, Allen might get an assist for being close.
In the third quarter, Allen got a real assist after popping the ball loose from the Eagles quarterback. Defensive tackle Blaize Duggan scooped it up and ran 22 yards for a touchdown.
* IT AIN'T SO, IT WAS JOE: The box score in Saturday's Sun showed that the last of South River's eight touchdowns in a 54-0 win over Lansdowne was scored by starter Chris Messineo in the fourth quarter. That might lead one to believe that Seahawks coach Dave Summey was running up the score. Neither is true.
It was reserve Joe Messinese who scored on a 16-yard run.
"I told our kids at halftime that I've seldom been on this side of a score like that [34-0]," said Summey, who coached at Brooklyn Park before coming to South River. "But I've been on the other side a few times."
Summey said he began substituting late in the second quarter against a depleted Lansdowne squad. "We let kids play over half
the game who don't usually play as much," he said. "They had about 17 kids dressed, but they weren't quitting. They tried an onside kick. They tried a fake punt in the fourth quarter."
* SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUIB, SQUIB: In a game played in Friday's rainstorm, St. Paul's paid tribute to Southwestern's kick return prowess by squibbing all its kickoffs in a 20-15 win.
"They had been very effective returning kicks," said Crusaders coach Mitch Tullai. "I was willing to concede them 10 extra yards but not 60."
"Their defensive line beat our offensive line off the ball all day," said Sabres coach Fred Kaiss. For example, in the third quarter, with Southwestern at its 1-yard line, Southwestern botched a handoff in the end zone. Jeremy Eaton hit Hosea Tomlin, who never had complete control of the ball, and it popped out to be snagged by defensive tackle Troy Thingelstad for a touchdown and his very own lineman's dream.
* MAYBE THEIR PUNTER MISSED THE BUS: On its opening drive at Chesapeake-BC, Milford Mill converted three fourth-down attempts: from its own 35-yard line, midfield and Chesapeake's 20. Using up most of the first quarter, the Millers then scored on Alvin Booze's 8-yard run.
"I'm a gambler," Milford Mill coach Bob Greene understated. But in handing the Bayhawks their first loss of the season, 34-17, Greene did more than gamble. His offensive game plan produced 414 yards of total offense, 280 of it on Jerome Dennis' passing. The Chesapeake coaches and players knew they had been outplayed.
"It wasn't luck," said Bayhawks coach Ken Johnson. "It was very well-executed pass plays. We played our best defensive game of the season, by far. They had a good game plan defensively. After the game one of our kids said, 'Mr. Johnson, is this considered an upset? Because it sure doesn't feel like one.' "