Ford, Wildey team up to lead Towson's attack

MAJOR GENERALS

October 03, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

Off the field, Ian Wildey and Spencer Ford are the best of friends.

But it's on the field where the Towson High soccer standouts say they really know each other.

Wildey, a first-team All-County striker, and Ford, a second-team All-County midfielder, are the heart and soul of a Towson team that's vying for its second state title in the past three years.

And if this dynamic duo has anything to say about it, you can put it in the books right now.

Both exude confidence when it comes to this year's team, which is 3-0 and has outscored opponents 21-6. Despite losing eight of 11 starters from last year's regional semifinalists, Wildey rates this year's version "as good as, if not better" than Towson's state co-champions of 1991.

When it comes right down to it, though, as go Wildey and Ford, so go the Generals.

The two have established themselves as the best midfield-forward tandem in Baltimore County, and they attribute much of that to their close relationship.

"We think alike," said Ford. "He's the one person on the field I always look for. He's my best friend."

The two started playing together on a local club team in 1987 and have been a team ever since.

Since Ford transferred from Boys' Latin his sophomore year and began teaming with Wildey for the first time at the high-school level, Towson has gone an impressive 28-3-1. Both say the closeness of their friendship translates into effective teamwork in game situations.

"I think it definitely helps," said Wildey. "You get to know how he's going to play. You understand where he's going to pass the ball. We just communicate a lot better [than other players].

"It's just something that happens when you know somebody so well."

Named captains for the second straight year, the pair also knows that it's up to them to set a good example for the rest of the team, especially this season with 14 underclassmen, and three freshmen, on the roster.

But they choose to lead not with flowery words or hyped-up speeches, but with action. So far, Wildey has scored four goals and assisted on six others, while Ford has scored four and dished out two assists.

Ford is the set-up man, fighting to win loose balls, blowing past defenders and, if all goes as planned, making perfect passes to Wildey or fellow striker Ryan Cuomo, whose job it is to put the ball in the net.

When on the sideline or in practice, they also have the job of helping coach Randy Dase get reacquainted with the program.

Dase, the school's boys lacrosse and boys basketball coach who had last coached soccer in 1985, took over this year for outgoing coach Paul Becker, who stepped down to the JV due to increased responsibilities at school.

"They've both been really helpful to me," said Dase, who coaches both in lacrosse, where Ford is an All-County midfielder and Wildey is considered one of the finest goalies in the area.

"They've shown good senior leadership and helped me out a lot."

Dase said he feels it's an honor for the program that both are being pursued by Division I colleges.

Both say they want to stay local, and preferably together. Right now, their short list includes UMBC and Loyola, where Ford's brother Michael -- a former Towson soccer and lacrosse standout -- is attending on a lacrosse scholarship.

Spencer Ford said he'd like to play with his brother again, but that he prefers soccer over lacrosse.

As for the near future, the Generals are looking forward to important county contests with Loch Raven and Catonsville later this week. To be considered title contenders, Towson must win both, and convincingly.

The Generals got a scare recently against Sparrows Point, trailing 3-1 before rallying to win, 4-3, in double overtime. Though Ford and Wildey combined to score the winning goal, they say the game was important for another reason.

"It was a reality check," said Wildey. "It's something I think that will help our team. It shows our guys that having the name Towson on our jerseys isn't going to win us games."

In a short time, Dase has become one of their biggest fans.

"They seem to work hand in hand very well," said Dase. "I know you're not really supposed to rely on individual players that much, but they're the franchise."

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