Hopkins, W. Md. heat up rivalry Title, perfect record for Terror are on line

November 14, 1997|By BILL FREE | BILL FREE,SUN STAFF

The two coaches have said life will go on long after tomorrow's annual football showdown between Western Maryland and Johns Hopkins.

Western Maryland coach Tim Keating said he and Hopkins coach Jim Margraff would go out sometime after the game and "have a beer together" even if Hopkins would win 35-0.

But tomorrow's 76th meeting between the Blue Jays and the Green Terror at Scott S. Bair Stadium in Westminster at 1 p.m. has to rate as one of the most significant season-ending games the two schools have played.

Western Maryland (9-0) will be playing for the first Division III tournament bid in school history, the first outright Centennial Conference championship in the 15-year history of the league and the third unbeaten and untied season in the 103-year existence of football at the school.

Hopkins (7-2) will be out to gain a share of its first Centennial Conference title, break a school record for most wins in a football season with eight and possibly gain a berth in the ECAC South playoffs.

Margraff said, "There is not a lot of pressure. Pressure for my pre-med students is brain surgery."

Keating said his 9-year-old daughter, Hillary, will come up after the game and kiss him no matter what happens on the field.

And both coaches agreed weeks before the game to have an honest and open exchange of films.

Sounds like just another friendly afternoon of NCAA Division III football between two teams whichprobably spend more time in the library than on the practice field.

Wrong.

Don't forget this is Hopkins against Western Maryland, a football battle steeped in tradition that leaves a lifetime of memories for the fans and players.

"This is a great football game," said Keating. "It reminds me of the Army-Navy game. Jim [Margraff] and I talked last summer and said wouldn't it be great if we played this game with a lot riding on the outcome."

Western Maryland running back Jay Tharpe said, "The key to winning is to keep from getting too psyched up. Both schools respect each other, but there will be some talking out there on the field."

When Tharpe was asked what kind of things would be said, he replied, "A little trash."

Hopkins linebacker Carl Cangelosi called the Green Terror, "The most talented Western Maryland team I've ever seen or heard about. That's why it would mean so much to beat them."

Western Maryland takes a 6-0 league record into the Hopkins clash, with the Blue Jays and Dickinson second at 5-1.

Hopkins and Dickinson can gain a three-way share of the Centennial title with wins tomorrow. Dickinson plays at home against Ursinus at 1 p.m.

The Green Terror will stand alone at the top if it can find a way to complete a perfect season.

With sophomore Ron Sermarini at quarterback, Western Maryland has made winning look easy most of the time this season.

Sermarini even threw strikes to receivers in a steady downpour two weeks ago in a 11-0 victory over Salisbury State.

"The scary thing is how well he threw in the rain," said Margraff. "But as great as Ron is, their defense is super. We're playing a 9-0 football team that is nationally ranked and might be just one of 16 teams in the country going to the Division III tournament."

Junior defensive back Tom Lopato is one of the major reasons the Green Terror defense has excelled. He has 42 tackles this season, has recovered two fumbles and broke up three passes.

"This is by far the most important game of my life," said Lopato. "I haven't played in a championship football game since the seventh grade. I was playing for the Mount Airy Bulldogs then and we won."

Western Maryland is ranked fifth in the South Region, with the top four teams getting bids. Catholic University (9-0) is third and Albright (8-0) is fourth, with one of them certain to lose tomorrow because they play each other.

That means the Green Terror, if it beats Hopkins, would most likely slide into the 16-team field Sunday at noon when the pairings are announced.

Pub Date: 11/14/97

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