Playoff proposal has possible roadblock

Football notebook

Coaches' expansion plan first needs local support, says state chairman

High Schools

September 24, 2001|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

The proposal by the Maryland High School Football Coaches Association to double the playoff field to 64 will have to first gain support at the local level before it goes further, said John Cox, state association football tournament committee chairman.

At the annual state association football tournament committee meeting Wednesday in Laurel, the coaches association also will propose moving preseason practices up a week to Aug. 8 and allowing spring practices.

If the committee rules in favor of the proposals, they would then be considered by the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association's Board of Control at its Dec. 8 meeting.

Coaches have to resolve the expansion issues with the local districts before the Board of Control - which has final say in such a proposal - can consider passing it, according to Cox.

Among the issues that have doomed past plans:

The reluctance among local districts to allow the fall football season to further overlap into winter.

Counties or districts would have to agree to re-evaluate the teacher contracts for coaches, who are part of the teachers union.

As of now, Cox said, coaches' contracts stipulate compensation for pay beginning Aug. 15.

If football teams are allowed to practice earlier, Cox said, other sports are likely to want the same privilege.

"Coaches would want more money," Cox said. "It's like everything else: They have to build that support at the local level first. Unless it's dealt with, locally, it's going to be tough getting the favorable votes."

If approved, the new guidelines could go into effect for the start of the 2002-03 school year.

Hammond's Joe Russo, president of the state football coaches association, remains optimistic that the proposal will be recommended to the MPSSAA Board of Control by the state tournament committee.

If it gets that far, Russo said: "Our coaches will call up the directors of athletics in each district and get them to convince their county superintendents that this is a good idea and the reasons why.

"We think it will not only present an opportunity for more people to participate - teams who have good records and haven't gotten in - but we feel that, with 16 more games, the state will make more money."

Ned Sparks, executive secretary of the MPSSAA, was unavailable for comment.

Upset week

In a week replete with upsets, unranked Carver of Baltimore City had the biggest.

Eric Lewis' 102-yard interception return for a touchdown with eight minutes left clinched a 12-6 victory over visiting No. 10 Mervo, the defending Baltimore City East Division co-champion.

The Bears (2-1) also got Dante Moore's 35-yard scoring reception on a pass from Kenard Fraction for a 6-0 lead, and Emmanuel Smith's interception with five minutes left to play.

In another upset of note, Towson knocked off Western Tech in double overtime, 21-14.

Nick Williams' 57-yard scoring reception made it 14-all with 1:10 left in regulation, and his 3-yard scoring catch in overtime was the game-winner for the Generals (1-2). Towson had trailed 7-0 in the fourth quarter before Brandon Shelton's 4-yard touchdown run tied it.

Quick pops

St. Paul's D.J. Andrzejewski got his kicks doing double duty Saturday. He kicked an extra point in a loss to Gilman and also scored a soccer goal in the Crusaders' 2-1 win over Severn. ... Mount St. Joseph's Keon Lattimore scored three times in a 49-38 win over Landon. Lattimore's 13 touchdowns are seven shy of the 20 that he said would earn him a new car from his brother, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

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