Joppatowne's Talley says he'll play in title game

Football notebook

QB nurses injured ankle as Friday's meeting with Hereford for 1A title nears

High Schools

November 28, 2001|By Lem Satterfield and Kevin Van Valkenburg | Lem Satterfield and Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Joppatowne's Dalys Talley dreamed of being on a state championship football team even as a freshman struggling through a 1-9 JV season.

So, just days away from Friday's 2A state title game with No. 1-ranked Hereford, a team with the same 12-0 record as his eighth-ranked Mariners, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound player is determined not to let a sprained right ankle keep him out of action.

"Nothing's going to stop me from playing in that game. Not after working so hard and having the possibility of going 13-0," said Talley, who has rushed for 600 yards and five touchdowns and thrown for nearly 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns. "I came too far for this, so I'm going to have to get healthy and leave it all on the field."

Talley, who is being recruited by a few Division I-A, II and III colleges, injured the ankle early in the third period of last weekend's 14-13 semifinal win over Middletown after rushing for 55 yards and a touchdown. He was carried off the field and did not return.

"It's not broken or anything," said Talley, who was held out of practice Monday and yesterday, but hopes to run lightly and take snaps today. "The principal, Mr. Macon Tucker, he's a trainer. He came to my house on Sunday, taped it up. All week, I sat on the bed, doing ankle stretches and icing it down."

Without Talley, an elusive threat on the run or the pass, the job of running the Mariners' multiple-I or power-I offense will go to junior defensive back Josh McKemy, who replaced Talley against Middletown and rushed for his game-winning fifth touchdown.

But Talley's veteran poise - "I'm like a coach on the field," he said - is preferred by coach Greg Komondor, who said his starter's status will be "a game-time decision."

"I've retained the strength in my ankle," said Talley, who has thrown only nine interceptions. "I know I'm going to play on Friday."

The rite stuff

The Hereford and Joppatowne football teams never stray from their respective routines, which each begin early in the week.

Hereford's routine begins on Sunday morning, when coach Steve Turnbaugh meets at the home of assistant coach, Mike Blizzard, along with his five other assistants.

There, they eat a meal of chipped beef and gravy, bacon, sausage and omelets prepared by Blizzard's wife, Sue, and Turnbaugh's wife, Becky. The coaches then decipher game film and input their notes into a computer.

Throughout the week, players are given copies of the scouting report, which they review at school daily during lunch. Thursday is the team dinner at the Morris Meadows Museum, owned by the family of defensive back Josh Morris.

Friday, right after school, there's an early evening dinner at The Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Hereford.

The most meaningful part of Joppatowne's ritual begins on Friday morning before school starts, with a half-hour team breakfast in the government class of head coach Komondor.

After school, the players report back to Komondor's class for an intense game of PlayStation.

The coaches also have their own ritual, one that can be a bit more bone-chilling.

"Rain or shine, the coaching staff has to wear shorts to the game," said Komondor. "During Week 8, when we played Edgewood, it got down to like, 36 degrees. It was really cold, but a couple of parents - because we were winning - made sure that we stuck to the ritual."

Down, but never out

Oakland Mills (8-4) certainly showed plenty of moxie in Friday's semifinal win over Boonsboro, rallying from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to win, 48-14.

But Allegany (10-2), the Scorpions' opponent in Saturday's Class 1A state final, pulled off an even more impressive comeback in its semifinal win over defending state champion Elkton, climbing out of a 35-14 hole with five minutes left in the third quarter to win 55-48 in double overtime.

The 103 points by the two teams set a Maryland state playoff record for all classes and shattered the Class 1A mark of 75, set in 1992 by Cambridge-South Dorchester and Brunswick in a 41-34 win by Cambridge-SD. (The overall mark was previously 91, when Calvert beat Eastern Tech, 63-28, in the Class 3A playoffs last year.)

"I kept telling the kids at halftime that hard work pays off," Allegany coach Tim Kane told The Cumberland-Times News after the game. "Keep pressing hard and the four years of hard work will pay off. Keep working hard and you'll win this game. In the second half, our kids came out ready to go."

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