Around The Area

High School Sports

Fall Preview

September 04, 2001

Anne Arundel County

Philosophies have changed at a couple of schools, but the bottom line is Annapolis, Broadneck and Old Mill remain Anne Arundel's big three with realistic playoff hopes.

Annapolis lost a lot to graduation, but the Panthers' spark plug, Eric Venerable, is back as they refuel for yet another Class 3A playoff run. Broadneck's defense should be among the metro area's best with three returning all-county performers.

Coach Chuck Markiewicz has taken his run-and-shoot attack from North County to his alma mater, Arundel, a Class 4A school where optimism is abundant.

Severna Park, now a Class 3A school, had a turnout of 115 players. The Falcons, along with Chesapeake (4A), could be sleepers.

Baltimore City

Three-time West Division champ Edmondson is unbeaten in the city over the past three seasons, encompassing 26 games.

But that streak, which includes two straight state semifinal berths and a Class 2A state runner-up finish, could end this fall, as the Redskins move into the tougher East Division.

Now the Redskins must face teams such as Lake Clifton, City, Poly and Patterson - teams they haven't played the past three seasons. The Redskins, not as experienced but perhaps as talented as past teams, also will have to contend with an improved team from Forest Park, the last team to defeat Edmondson.

Forest Park has been joined by Dunbar as the city's lone Class 1A schools.

Baltimore County

Defending champs Randallstown and Hereford will again be favored to win their respective 3A-4A and 1A-2A titles, respectively, but neither will have it as easy as last fall.

The Rams should get stiff challenges from Woodlawn, Dundalk, Milford Mill and Franklin.

Hereford allowed only 5.4 points a game against nine county opponents last fall. But the Bulls will receive tough tests from improved teams at Catonsville, Western Tech, Loch Raven and Lansdowne as well as Eastern Tech, which has dropped from the 3A-4A league to bolster a tough conference. Eastern Tech followed up a regular-season runner-up finish to Randallstown with a berth in the Class 3A playoffs.

Carroll County

Defending champion Liberty stands a good chance of not only repeating as county champions but again challenging for the Class 3A state playoff berth that narrowly eluded it last fall.

South Carroll will combine 16 varsity returnees with 36 juniors up from a 7-1 JV.Westminster returns a huge offensive backfield with a pair of 210-pound ball carriers, and first-year North Carroll coach Tim Greenwood returns to his alma mater.

At Francis Scott Key, a 2A school that does not play a full county schedule, Dave Dolch replaces Mike Coons, who retired after winning the Monocacy Valley Athletic League with a 9-2 record - the best mark for the Eagles in school history.

Harford County

Fallston coach Dave Cesky is on a roll after years of mediocrity, having won a share of each of the past two county titles - each a first for the longtime coach. With nearly 20 veterans back, including plenty of bulk on the line among several returning starters, the Cougars again appear to be the favorite.

But even if Fallston manages to hurdle a tough early schedule, an improved Aberdeen team loaded with skill-position players, Joppatowne, led by its returning quarterback, and talented Bel Air will be waiting.

C. Milton Wright, the county's lone 4A school, returns both quarterbacks for coach Steve Harward, whose Mustangs will play an independent schedule for the second consecutive season.

Howard County

Defending champion Oakland Mills will be hard-pressed to duplicate its 9-0 record against league rivals, particularly against improving Glenelg.

Perennial contender Wilde Lake returns a solid core that is looking to erase the memory of a disappointing season that included falling short of a playoff berth.

The county's second tier should not be overlooked. River Hill returns first-team All-County quarterback Matt Hostetler and Hammond returns first-team All-County players Tye Murphy and Kenton Dunson.

Howard should be young but explosive offensively, Mount Hebron has All-County linebacker Matt Fallon, and Atholton will be under new coach Chuck Fales.

Private schools

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association has been split into five three-team divisions for the first time.

Gilman's advance to a fourth straight MIAA A Conference title could be blocked by four-time B Conference champ McDonogh, which beat the Greyhounds in last season's finale, 7-0.

McDonogh has moved up to the more difficult A Conference, joining Gilman, Calver Hall, Mount St. Joseph and Loyola.

And after sharing the C Conference title, Curley and Gibbons join difficult teams from St. Paul's, St. Mary's and Severn in the B Conference. John Carroll has dropped from the B Conference to the C, where it could contend with Spalding, Friends, Boys' Latin and Pallotti.

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