State football championships

November 30, 2001|By Lem Satterfield and Kevin Van Valkenburg

Today

Class 2A

No. 5 Joppatowne (12-0) vs. No. 1 Hereford (12-0)

Time, site: 4 p.m., Byrd Stadium, College Park

Outlook: In 1987, Milford Mill of Baltimore County edged Havre de Grace of Harford County for the Class C (now 1A) state title. That was the last time teams from the two neighboring districts met in a state championship game until now, when Hereford of Baltimore County takes on Joppatowne of Harford. Hereford enters the game having proven itself worthy of title contention. Thought to have blown out weak competition throughout the regular season, they proved they could win close games over No. 8 Eastern Tech (a 10-7 victory) and No. 9 City (9-0). Joppatowne, having heard similar talk, shut down both undefeated Wicomico and Middletown. Wicomico had won seven straight games by a combined 439-0 before being blanked, 14-0. Middletown RB Josh Keeney had gained nearly 200 yards in a 7-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Glenelg before being beaten, 14-13, by Joppatowne, which held him to 54 rushing yards. Hereford has only six turnovers to Joppatowne's 10. Joppatowne has forced 38 turnovers; Hereford has forced 33. Joppatowne's second-team All-Metro DL Phil Tillman had five of his team-high 19 sacks in the past two games, compared to 14 sacks by Hereford's second-team All-Metro DE Ed Darney. Hereford blanked C. Milton Wright, 33-0, in its season opener, and Joppatowne beat C. Milton Wright, 28-19, during week No. 8. Joppatowne QB Dalys Talley, who has thrown only three interceptions among his 22 TD passes, is questionable after injuring his ankle in the third quarter against Middletown, but Hereford will be at full strength with top-scoring RB Patt Butt, returning from a three-game absence and a rib injury.

Tomorrow

Class 1A

No. 15 Oakland Mills (8-4) vs. Allegany (10-2)

Time, site: Noon, Byrd Stadium, College Park

Outlook: Expect a physical battle between the Scorpions and Campers. Allegany averages 314 rushing yards a game behind two good running backs in Jeremy Sellers (199 carries, 1,526 yards and 15 TDs) and Chad Jacovino (225 carries, 1,478 yards and 17 TDs). Oakland Mils, however, has one of the best all-around players in the area in senior Justin Barnes (205 carries for 1,507 yards and 21 TDs.). In addition to his impressive rushing numbers, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Barnes has been a threat out of the backfield (24 catches for 279 yards), and as a linebacker he has 125 total tackles, five sacks and eight interceptions (four of which he's returned for TDs). Allegany, which defeated Elkton, 55-48, in double overtime in the state semifinal, has won six state titles, but none since 1991, when the Campers were a Class 2A team. Oakland Mills has had less - but more recent - success, winning its only state title in 1998 defeating Forestville, 15-12. Scorpions captain Andrew Croner was a starter on the '98 team as a freshman, and though he has played almost entirely on offense, he could see some time on the defensive line in the title game to give the Scorpions a bit more size up front. "I think the key is really going to be our defense," said Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet, whose high school career at Oakland Mills ended with a loss to Allegany in 1978. "We're going to have to get the ball out of their hands to give us an opportunity to score. They don't make a lot of mistakes, so it should be a great game."

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