Towson's Ford, Heddings have healthy competition Attackmen learn to share glory, goals

April 19, 1993|By Marc Bouchard | Marc Bouchard,Contributing Writer

Towson High senior attackmen Michael Ford and Barry Heddings don't always get along on the lacrosse field.

But instead of taking their frustrations out on each other, they usually take them out on opposing defenses.

Last year, Ford and Heddings led Towson to the Class 2A-1A state title and an undefeated (15-0) season. This season, after one game (a 21-2 rout of Pikesville), Towson is ranked No. 7 in the area.

"Sometimes we have a tendency to get upset when we're not getting the ball," said Ford. "We usually beat the teams in our league pretty easily, so everybody wants to score a lot of goals."

Heddings had six goals and an assist in the win over Pikesville, and Ford had two goals and two assists.

"Sometimes we get selfish because we both have the ability to score," said Heddings. "But as long as we keep our heads and play together, we have one of the best attacks around."

Heddings, a three-year member of Towson's varsity, finished last season with 37 goals and 28 assists, including two goals in Towson's 8-7 win over Mount Hebron in the state championship game.

Ford transferred to Towson last year after two seasons at Boys' Latin. He scored 102 points (47 goals, 56 assists) in his first year with the Generals to break a 23-year Baltimore County scoring record.

He scored two goals and had three assists in the Generals' state title win.

Towson coach Randy Dase knew that adding a player of Ford's caliber would be tough for some of his players to take.

"When he came in last year, a lot of guys were jealous because Michael got a lot of attention right away," said Dase. "But I told the kids that I don't care who does the scoring or who does the feeding -- let's just have more goals than the other team when the game's over."

Dase also realized that Heddings would probably be affected most by Ford's arrival.

"If Michael wasn't here right now, Barry would be getting all the publicity," said Dase. "But Barry is a great kid and he does whatever we ask him to do."

Heddings said: "A lot of people saw Michael coming in as a threat, but I saw it as a real positive for the team. He's really contributed a lot."

The financial burden of attending Boys' Latin, one of the most expensive private schools in the area, was the main reason for Ford's transfer.

"I was getting a lot of [playing] time at Boys' Latin, but it's a lot of money to go there," said Ford. "My brother was going there too, so it was [the equivalent of] paying college tuition."

When Ford came to Towson, the Generals got a smooth stick-handler with a hard shot. Ford can also run the Generals' offense and find the open man when he's double-teamed.

Heddings is a quick player with a good inside roll and the ability to go one-on-one.

The two grew up playing against each other in Towson-area recreational leagues. Ford played for Loch Raven and Heddings played for Lutherville-Timonium.

They will return to opposing roles next year when Ford attends Loyola College and Heddings goes to Towson State, but the two plan on remaining friends off the field.

"We'll definitely still hang out together," said Ford.

Heddings said: "That's just the way it is. All the local players hang out together."

When they reach the college level, Heddings and Ford will be faced with the stigma that playing in the county doesn't prepare players for college as well as playing in the Maryland Scholastic Association or New York-area programs.

"I think that's something they're going to try to change," said Dase. "They'll have something to prove, and I think they'll use that to their advantage."

Dase sees similarities between Heddings and Ford and former Towson standouts Brendan and Brian Kelly, both of whom went to Division I power Johns Hopkins.

Brendan Kelly earned All-America honors as a midfielder for Hopkins from 1986 to 1989, and Brian Kelly is a senior midfielder for the Blue Jays this year.

"If they had been playing in the MSA, they may not have been noticed," said Dase. "So Towson gives players the opportunity to gain some publicity.

"I'm real pleased that Heddings and Ford chose local schools, especially on that [Division I] level. It'll be a lot of fun watching them play."

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