Proposal would double playoff teams

Md. coaches association seeks 64-team field, four-week postseason

Football notebook

High Schools

September 10, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

A proposal by the Maryland High School Football Coaches Association would double the number of teams that qualify for the state playoffs.

Currently, football, the only state sport that still qualifies playoff teams by the points system, has 32 teams - eight apiece in four classifications - in its tournament. The coaches are proposing a 64-team field, with 16 teams in each classification.

That would necessitate four weeks, rather than three, to complete the playoffs. Starting practice a week earlier on Aug. 8 would allow the teams to open earlier and still play a 10-game regular season.

Expanding the football playoffs has long been discussed, but has picked up steam each year since the open tournament for other sports began in 1994. In the points system, teams are awarded anywhere from five to eight points for a victory (depending on the classification of the opponent) and an additional point for each win by opponents they have defeated.

Football coaches argue that 8-2 teams deserve to qualify for the playoffs, but eight such teams were left out in 2000.

Hammond's Joe Russo, president of the state football coaches association, points out that even some 9-1 teams occasionally are left out of postseason play. Russo says the proposal has to go through the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, starting with the Board of Control and ending with the state Board of Education before it can be enacted.

The coaches association is also proposing spring practice without pads after the spring sports season.

The proposals will be discussed at the State Football Tournament Committee on Sept. 26, and the MPSSAA Board of Control convenes Dec. 8.

No playoffs?

Imagine going 10-0 and not playing in the state playoffs. The Washington Post reported Saturday that Prince George's County schools are considering not participating in the postseason for all varsity sports as a cost-saving measure.

According to the report, Prince George's cut athletic budgets for its 21 schools by about $7,500 each for 2001-02.

The proposal ultimately has to be approved by the county Board of Education.

There is no state penalty for not participating in the playoffs.

Streaks

Top-ranked Gilman's 12-7 loss at Urbana on Friday marked the first time the Greyhounds have lost two in a row (they lost their opener to DeMatha, 16-0) in a season since 1997. Gilman had back-to-back 10-0 seasons in 1998-99 before going 8-2 last fall.

It was Urbana's 39th consecutive win, eight short of the modern state public school record of 47 by Howard (1971-75). Seneca Valley won 41 straight from 1997 to '99 and, in the era before the state playoffs, City reeled off 54 in a row from 1934 to '41.

Big games

Keon Lattimore of No. 9 Mount St. Joseph (2-1) scored three touchdowns - on a 70-yard kickoff return and 85- and 1-yard runs -in a 51-0 rout of Oakland Mills(0-1). ... Junior Brashad Mayweather of Old Mill (1-0) rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries in a 41-12 win at Arundel (0-1). ... Senior quarterback Keith Williams of Glen Burnie ran for 142 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries in a 35-7 victory at South River. ... A.J. Case carried 16 times for 195 yards and three touchdowns to lead Wilde Lake over Milford Mill, 36-19. ... St. Mary's senior Geoff Christhilf rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in the Saints' 33-6 win at Pallotti.

Quick kicks

Archbishop Spalding (1-1) ended an 11-game losing streak dating back to 1999 with a 33-14 victory at independent Hancock High in Washington County. ... No. 2 McDonogh extended its winning streak to 11 with a 27-7 season-opening victory over Severn.

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