Oakland Mills-Wilde Lake more than just a rivalry

There's plenty of history between two schools as Saturday showdown looms

Notebook

October 18, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | By Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

There are big-time Howard County football rivalries, and then there is the Oakland Mills-Wilde Lake game, which is a another thing entirely.

"We don't have to say much to our kids about this one," says Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet, whose Scorpions, winners of three straight, go on the road to face the 4-2 Wildecats on Saturday. "There is a lot of history involved. Seems like everyone's got a cousin or a brother or a neighbor that's played in one of the games, so they understand what it's all about."

For Oakland Mills, Saturday's game will be all about trying to continue its recent stellar play. After starting 0-3 with losses to Mount St. Joseph, Glenelg and River Hill, the Scorpions have salvaged their season, beating Atholton, Howard and Mount Hebron by a combined score of 109-13. Things should be a little tougher this week, especially since Wilde Lake (4-2, 3-2) is coming off a 28-7 loss to Long Reach.

"I wish that wasn't the case, because I think they'll be that much more ready to play us," Hovet said of the Wildecats. "So many things have happened over the years in our rivalry, you never know how it's going to go. They've beaten us years when I thought we were the better team, and we've done the same to them when they should have won."

Hovet said the biggest difference in the Scorpions' turnaround has been the play of his two offensive tackles, Andrew Croner and James Violand, who both missed the start of the season with injuries. Violand, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound senior, and Croner, a 6-2, 245-pound senior, helped Scorpions running back Justin Barnes rush for 234 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 36-7 defeat of Mount Hebron. Barnes has been one of the league's best with 11 touchdowns for 859 yards rushing.

But a share of the credit, Hovet said, goes to senior quarterback Greg Braukus.

"Greg's been doing a nice job for us," Hovet said. "Now that we're getting everybody back, things are coming together."

Strange days at Howard

It's been a frustrating football season at Howard. The Lions have struggled on both sides of the ball, falling, 22-0, to Hammond last week to drop to 0-6.

In fact, if the Lions could use something, it's a little good luck. Earlier in the season, sophomore running back Derrick McPhearson went down with a broken leg. A few days later, the Lions were kicking field goals in practice when one of the balls went into the woods. Senior Scott McCabe, a starter on the defensive line, went in the woods to retrieve it, and that night came down with poison ivy and couldn't play in a loss to Mount Hebron. Howard will try and shake its bad luck tonight, as the Lions take on Long Reach (4-2, 3-2) at home at 7 p.m.

Girls soccer

The Hammond girls soccer team hasn't clinched the Howard County title yet, but the No. 8 Bears (10-1-1 overall, 5-1-1 in league play) do control their destiny.

If Hammond beats Oakland Mills today and Atholton on Tuesday, it can win the title outright. But a tie or a loss in either game would open the door for four-time winner River Hill (8-2-2, 4-1-2). The No. 5 Hawks face No. 9 Mount Hebron today, then finish up against Howard on Tuesday.

No. 7 Centennial (8-3-1, 4-2-1) and Mount Hebron (8-3-1, 4-2) may be on the outside looking in with two league losses each. The Eagles face Howard today and Oakland Mills on Tuesday, while the Vikings finish with River Hill and Wilde Lake.

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