1998 Howard County boys previews

September 03, 1998|By Rick Belz

Atholton Raiders

1997 record: 2-12 overall, 2-7 league

Coach: Roch DeFrancis

Classification: Class 2A

Top players: Danny Dworkin, senior, M; Ross Laidig, senior, M; Pat Thomas, senior, M; Justin Pak, junior, F; Nick Zaron, sophomore, D; Chris Fox, junior, GK; Jamie Hollander, sophomore, M; Jeff Ebaugh, senior, D; Zach Silverman, freshman, F; Dan Sebring, senior, D; Joe Curley, senior, D.

Outlook: The Raiders return five starters and will be faster, more experienced and more skilled. After a couple of years of low turnouts, Atholton will carry 20 players on varsity and 25 on JV -- healthy numbers again. Silverman, a 6-footer, has been impressive. Ebaugh sat out the last two seasons with a knee injury after playing as a freshman. His quickness and skills also have impressed DeFrancis, a Howard County police officer and second-year Raiders coach who previously coached at Cardinal

Gibbons and Catonsville Community College. Fox was the back-up GK last season. Atholton has toughened its schedule considerably by adding Mount St. Joe and Spalding. "I asked for Calvert Hall and Archbishop Curley," DeFrancis said. "You don't get better unless you play the best competition." DeFrancis has experience in the midfield with Laidig, Thomas and Dworkin and expects his defense to be good. "Zaron gives us speed in the back," he said. Atholton's 1997 highlight was a victory over Oakland Mills.

Centennial Eagles

1997 record: 11-3-1 overall, 7-1-1 league

Coach: Ron Martin

Classification: Class 2A

Top players: Mike Dramby, senior, GK; Mike Martin, senior, F; Charles Lin, senior, M; Todd Sajauskas, junior, sweeper; Randy Van Allen, junior, M/F; Nate Zachman, sophomore, D/M; Greg Wallace, sophomore, M.

Outlook: The perennial powerhouse Eagles are undergoing a youth movement, facing the possibility of starting three sophomores and three freshmen. They have lightened their schedule, replacing Mount St. Joseph and Class 4A state champion Whitman with Urbana and Glenelg Country School. Martin, a third-year coach who replaced the legendary Bill Stara, was The Sun's Howard County Coach of the Year last season when the Eagles surprised everyone with their strong second-place Howard County finish. He is trying to find the right combination on defense. Dramby was second-team All-County.

"Dramby is an excellent goalkeeper. But Dramby is not going to be able to do it all," Martin said. The Eagles also graduated three of their top players from midfield. Offensively, the team is led by ,, Martin's son, Mike (eight goals, four assists). Martin is pleased with the talent of a strong freshman class, but the Eagles may have to weather a rare mediocre season while waiting for the young players.

Chapelgate Christian Flames

League: MIAA C Conference

1997 record: 12-6-2 overall, 8-2-2 league (league champs)

Coach: Rob Van Ness

Top players: Chris Davidson, junior, M; Ben Byrd, senior, F; Chris Blanchard, senior, F; Mike Kennedy, senior, M; Steve Lippert, senior, GK; Matt Trail, junior, D; David Cahill, junior, D; Matt Tigert, senior, D; Joe Routh, senior, D; Sean Wybenga, sophomore, F

Outlook: After winning the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference title in their inaugural season, the Flames return seven starters. "We'll be in contention again," Van Ness said. The Flames are a veteran team with 12 seniors, seven juniors and three sophomores. And they will have more depth thanks to the transfer of Tigert, Wybenga and four others from Montrose Christian. The team is carrying 22 players. Trail (sweeper) and Cahill (stopper) will hold down the key defensive positions. Davidson is a crucial offensive performer.

Glenelg Gladiators

1997 record: 12-6 overall, 4-5 league (state 1A champs)

Coach: Peter Klisas

Classification: Class 1A

Top players: Uri Itkin, senior, M; Jason Weszka, junior, D; Ryan Bender, junior, D; Taylor Faris, junior, D; Evan Lawrence, junior, M; Thomas Mazerski, senior, F; Eric Kuba, sophomore, M; Greg Moore, sophomore, F; Corey Shea, freshman, GK; Connor Nixon, freshman, M/F; Christopher von Rautenkrantz, freshman, M; Philip Rub, sophomore, M; David Dorsey, sophomore, M

Outlook: After upsetting Hammond in the regional final and then winning the state Class 1A championship, the Gladiators are undergoing a youth movement. They graduated their two best players, goalkeeper Justin Benoliel and top scorer David Harris. Four starters return, including Itkin, Weszka, Bender and Faris. Glenelg will keep three freshmen and six sophomores. Klisas expects all three freshmen to start, including Shea, who played for the Baltimore Bays under-15 regional championship team and is technically outstanding in goal. Nixon offers strength, size and speed and can use either foot. Overall, the Gladiators are small, but technically sounder. Instead of taking a kick-and-run route to goal, the Gladiators will pass more. "We're very young, so fifth or sixth place in the league would be very good for us," Klisas said. Glenelg finished sixth last season.

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