0-9 Northeast finds strength in adversity

Sidelines

November 02, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

There's more to high school football than wins and losses, as the 0-9 Northeast Eagles have learned this season.

Suffering through what could become the school's first winless season, the Eagles also lost their captain, Chris Strevig, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound senior guard-linebacker, to major surgery last week.

Strevig underwent a successful open-heart operation Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

First-year coach Steve Sweet, his staff and the entire team visited Strevig after the surgery, necessitated by a blocked artery. Strevig was to have returned home yesterday.

"Chris told us he can't wait to get back and insisted he will be on the sidelines for our last game [Chesapeake at home Friday]," said Sweet. "Everything went well, and Chris is going to be fine."

Despite the hard times and worst record since the 1-9 season of 1985, the Eagles have stuck together. You've got to believe that the togetherness helped pull Strevig through his ordeal.

Sweet said that Strevig, who was injured in the first game of the season along with another senior leader, running back-cornerback Mike Little, had just returned to action at home against Patuxent on Oct. 9.

"Chris told me he was feeling dizzy and had hyperventilated when we sent him to North Arundel Hospital that night," Sweet said. "The doctors there told him he had an adrenaline rush, and he was sent home to take it easy.

"The following Monday at practice, he complained that he was having trouble breathing. We sent him home, and his parents took him to Johns Hopkins, where they discovered problems with an artery and recommended the surgery."

Certainly, Strevig's off-field success is more important than on-field success. His determination to get back and cheer his teammates on should give the winless Eagles all the hope they need to turn things around.

"Despite the season we are having, the morale is still very good, and the kids are playing hard till the final whistle," said Sweet. "Chris is an important part of the way this team has persevered.

A small, 22-man varsity roster has been reduced to 19 players, but there is hope. Sweet remains optimistic because the JV, which had only 13 players in 1996, has 30 players this fall.

Of those 30, 23 are freshmen, and Sweet is starting freshmen at quarterback and running back as the season winds down.

"The kids will be upset when the season ends, and we hope to end it with a victory," said Sweet. "If not, I believe we have lot to look forward to next year."

Sideliners

Severna Park's Steve Wojciechowski, an All-Metro guard at Cardinal Gibbons and The Sun's Male Athlete of the year in 1994, is expected to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated's upcoming college basketball issue. "Wojo" is highly regarded Duke's point guard and represents what hustle can accomplish.

Joe Barnes, an All-Metro outfielder in baseball and All-County guard in basketball his senior year (1996) at Old Mill, is on a baseball scholarship at Essex Community College, where he has decided to also play basketball.

Scott Cofiell, former coach at Brooklyn Park, is coaching baseball and basketball at Frederiksted High on St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

Monday's volleyball county championship match at Glen Burnie won by No. 2 Severna Park over Chesapeake, 3-1, was the first indoor county championship in any sport to start without the national anthem. Glen Burnie's veteran, volunteer PA announcer, Max Powers, asked everyone to rise, then apologized because there was no one to render the Star-Spangled Banner.

Old Mill boys soccer coach Jim Griffiths was asked if the 10-day layoff before the regional tournament had any effect on his Patriots losing 4-0 at Arundel on Tuesday. The reason for the layoff was to give the two teams (Arundel and Chesapeake) playing in the county championship some space before starting the playoffs.

"Is playing and losing 5-0 [as Arundel did] in the county championship better than not playing?" asked Griffiths.

Good point.

Have a note for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-Hour Sportsline, 410-647-2499.

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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