For Baltimore County coach Joe Stoy, tomorrow's Greater Baltimore Football Classic will be more than just an exhibition.
The coach from Perry Hall considers the ninth annual senior all-star game, which pits the Maryland Scholastic Association against the County at Poly tomorrow at 12:30, an opportunity for his players to show off the level of competition in Baltimore County.
"Certainly we want to go out and showcase individuals' talents," said Stoy. "But these are competitive kids, and they're going to try to go out and win."
In recent years, however, wins have been rare for the County.
Baltimore County trails in the series, 6-3, and has lost the past six of seven while being outscored, 137-64. Though the most recent County win came in 1986, Stoy plays down the importance of evening the score.
"I can't say it doesn't matter, but I don't want to make this thing into a County-MSA debate," he said. "Sure, our goal is to win, but I'm just coaching these kids to do the best they can."
If roster strength means anything, then Stoy and the County may be in for a long day. The MSA's roster includes seven Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selections, including Offensive Player of the Year, RB Hari Lymon from City.
Other MSA All-Metro selections include OT Dave Bright and RB-DB Brad Hoag of Loyola, TE-DE Charles Ransom and LB Kenyunia Williams of City, C-LB Mickey Lippy of Calvert Hall and RB-S Eugene Marshall of Cardinal Gibbons.
The County, by contrast, suits up just three first-team players, in LB-G Devalin Anderson of Woodlawn, TE-LB Bernard Hopkins of Overlea and RB-CB Daryl Ray of Eastern Vo-Tech.
Since teams have only a matter of days to practice together, rules have been implemented to prevent defensive stunting and blitzing. Both defenses must use a standard 5-2 formation.
Consequently, there should be few surprise tactics in the game plan.
The game was created in 1982 to help develop an MSA-County rivalry, as well as to give college scouts a look at the area's top seniors. Historically, players have used the game as a springboard to bigger and better things. Approximately 50 percent of the game's participants have gone on to play in college.
Five former participants -- Woodlawn's Carlton Bailey (Buffalo Bills), Milford Mill's Brian Jordan (Atlanta Falcons), Dunbar's Calvin Williams (Philadelphia Eagles), St. Joseph's Mike Brennan (Buffalo) and Edmondson's Warren Powers (Denver Broncos) -- have gone on to careers in the NFL.
Proceeds from the game will be donated to the scholarship fund of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Collegiate Hall of Fame.