Recreation league needed to aid high school football

SIDELINES

November 23, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Another season, another disaster in the Maryland state football playoffs for Anne Arundel County teams.

With Annapolis losing in the Class 4A playoffs by 33-14 to High Point and Broadneck in Class 3A by 34-20 to Friendly, county teams made another fast exit.

Anne Arundel County has won only three state titles -- Arundel (1975), Annapolis (1978) and North County (1994) -- since the state tournament began in 1974 with four teams in each class. This year's 0-2 leaves county teams with a cumulative 15-41 record.

Since the state went to the eight-team format in 1986, the county has gone 9-25, with North County winning four of those nine postseason games (and losing four others) in the five years it qualified.

Annapolis has made postseason a county-record nine years but 4-8. Arundel is 2-7 in its eight years of postseason play, but hasn't won since 1975, when it won twice and took a state title.

Why don't county teams win outside their league?

Why do Montgomery and Prince George's County teams annually hammer county teams?

I've contended for years that the answer is at the youth level. The Anne Arundel Youth Football Association likes to brag about being the only county athletic group that governs itself.

Well, maybe it's time for the county rec and parks to get involved and implement a program that would better serve the high school football teams.

The AAYFA restricts its leagues by weights and ages, which, of course, leaves the bigger kids (and kids are bigger than ever) out to either not play or turn to soccer.

As a result, too many of the bigger athletes have to learn football from scratch in high school, unlike other sports, such as soccer, basketball, baseball and lacrosse. High school teams in those sports are better served by feeder programs, where kids get a foundation of the fundamentals.

Granted, a lot of skilled players come out of AAYFA, but when they get to high school, they have to go against much bigger players. That outstanding youth quarterback or runner suddenly is not going against defenders his size and is not as outstanding.

All rec and parks has to do is to organize a seventh-eighth grade league with no weight restrictions, as is done in other parts of the state, and keep keep the current weight-limit leagues. Then, a young player can decide which is better for him.

There is no question that a prep grade-school league would lift the caliber of our high school teams. This is the 1990s, and it's time.

College-bound

Catching up on county lacrosse players who signed early, between Nov. 12 and last Wednesday, college letters-of-intent:

From Annapolis High: Midfielder Peter Ludlam (Towson University) and defenseman Mike Donlin (Loyola). Donlin was an All-County center in football, and Ludlam was second-team All-County quarterback. Also, Kelly Dirks (Duke), Brooke Wagner James Madison), and Jen Jefferson (Temple), for women's lacrosse.

From St. Mary's: Midfielders Katie Robinson (Loyola), Tiffany Schummer (Virginia), Kellie Thompson (North Carolina), and Marianne Gioffre (Loyola) and defender Megan Lewis (Vanderbilt).

From North County: Defenseman Andrew Walenga (Towson).

Super assistant

Nick Jauschnegg is being honored by the National High School Baseball Coaches Association for his 19 years as an assistant to Arundel baseball coach Bernie Walter. He also has been Arundel's boys soccer coach for 20 years.

Jauschnegg, a standout infielder at Brooklyn Park High and Towson University, has been named the assistant coach of the year in the organization's District II, which encompasses Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

"Nick is an excellent teacher of hitting skills and has been a loyal and trusted assistant," said Walter, whose Wildcats have claimed a Maryland record seven baseball state championships. appreciate everything he has done for our program."

The association selects eight district winners nationally. Jauschnegg will be honored with the seven other national winners on Dec. 6 at a luncheon in Louisville, Ky.

Sideliners

Amy Hutson, last year's county Player of the Year in volleyball from Glen Burnie, is now at St. Leo College in Florida. She was named to the Sunshine Conference all-freshman team after setting a couple records.

Shalisa Johnson, a 6-foot tall basketball center from Meade, transferred from Clarion State College (Pa.) to UMBC and will sit out this season.

Add Annapolis coach Roy Brown's name to the growing list of county football coaches considering retirement.

"I'm going to think about it for awhile," said Brown, the county Coach of the Year.

Brown assists John Brady in basketball, and the word around the county is that the two will go out together, maybe at the end of this year.

Congratulations to Severna Park's Tommy Kay, a longtime softball player. He was to be inducted into the Anne Arundel County Senior Softball Hall of Fame last night. Kay is a rarity in that he managed to be a fierce competitor while remaining a nice guy.

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

Pub Date: 11/23/97

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