Playoff format short-changes best teams


November 02, 1994|By RICK BELZ

The new format for the soccer and volleyball playoffs creates universal eligibility but costs more for transportation.

That's one reason that Don Disney, Howard County's supervisor of athletics, has reservations about the format.

"It's going to cost Howard County $4,000 more and that money will have to come out of the spring sports budget," Disney said. "I think the old system worked. You just needed to add two more teams to the soccer playoffs."

Motivation is another problem created by the new system. Why play hard during the regular season? Records are meaningless.

Seedings are drawn by a lottery, which resulted in the top-ranked and unbeaten Centennial boys soccer team being seeded No. 7 in its region. The No. 7 seed never plays at home. And that may cost additional money in lost gate receipts.

"The Maryland system relies on gate receipts and with the new format you don't get the two best teams in the finals, so you're going to lose money," Disney said. "You want to build to a crescendo -- not have the two best teams play each other in the first round."

Disney said he would not vote to expand the new playoff format to other sports.

Sending the wrong message

With 36 seconds left in the Wilde Lake-Centennial football game last Saturday a fight broke out between at least two players who exchanged several punches.

After consulting with the coaches, the officials decided not to eject any players. An ejected player is ineligible for the next game.

After the game, Centennial coach Ed Holshue said he wished he had not gone along with that decision.

Considering that this fight was flagrant, and considering all of the problems the county had with fights during the last basketball season, what kind of message does this decision send to other football players and athletes around the county?

The officials did not earn their paychecks for that decision and should be reprimanded. And why was the decision left up to the coaches? Shouldn't ejections be automatic?

Glenelg record breakers

Did Brian Frederick tie a county record last Saturday when he made 11 pass receptions for Glenelg?

Howard's Richard McAuliffe, who later played for the University of Kansas, caught 11 in one game for the Lions in 1972.

Frederick's catches were worth 196 yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Sean Lookingbill.

Every week Lookingbill adds to his school-record totals for career passing yardage and touchdown passes. He now has 2,682 career yards and 21 touchdowns passes.

Jeff Starnes, a former Wilde Lake running back who scored 47 career touchdowns for the Wildecats, is now a Glenelg assistant coach.

And he thinks Lookingbill ranks with the best two passers he's ever seen -- Tony Tsonis and Jim Traber.

Traber played quarterback for Oklahoma State before becoming a professional baseball player.

New Hebron baseball coach

Pat Crouse, who has coached the junior varsity baseball team at Mount Hebron for six seasons, is the new varsity coach.

Crouse, 31, teaches math at Mount Hebron and also is an assistant football coach.

He played football and baseball for Loyola High School. He has been an assistant coach for Harbor Federal's summer baseball team.

Kent returns to Glenelg as wrestling coach

Jeff Kent, 29, has returned as Glenelg's varsity wrestling coach after an absence of one season.

Kent coached the team in 1992 and 1993. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Fairmont State, and a master's degree in education from Frostburg State.

He wrestled for his high school team in West Virginia and was a state AAA 185-pound runner-up. He also played football in high school and at Fairmont State.

Kent had joined the Army, but received a medical discharge a month ago after just 3 1/2 weeks of basic training.

Ngongba an All-American

Mount Hebron basketball player Patrick Ngongba is listed in the current Street and Smith's as a high school All-American.

The 6-foot-6 junior, a transfer from the French-speaking Central African Republic, wowed a lot of college coaches at summer camps and played on a summer-league team with some of Baltimore City's best players.

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