Glen Burnie's Darden commits to Virginia

SIDELINES

High School

January 24, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Ron Darden, a two-way lineman from Glen Burnie, has committed to a football scholarship from the University of Virginia and will sign on Feb. 6, the first day of the national signing period.

Darden, who is 6 feet 4 and 310 pounds with exceptional footwork for a player his size, was chosen All-Anne Arundel County by The Sun and second team on The Sun's All-Metro and the Associated Press' Big School All-State teams.

Recruited by several Division I schools, including Maryland and East Carolina, Darden chose the Charlottesville school because of its academics.

"Ron liked Virginia all along because of its academic standing, " said Glen Burnie coach Brad Wilson. "He's a pretty sharp kid on and off the field."

Darden has a weighted grade-point average over 4.0.

Darden played a major role in the Gophers' 6-4 season, their first winning record since 1994. Able to play tackle or guard, Darden delivered many crushing blocks and was superb on sweeps and traps. Defensively, Darden made 73 tackles.

"There's no question that Ron can play guard or tackle at the college level," Wilson said.

Meade quarterback Antwan Smith, who also played defensive back, kick returner, kicker and punter for the second-ranked Class 4A state semifinalist, has committed to Division I-A Kent State University in Ohio. Kent State plays in the Mid-American Conference.

Smith was first-team all-purpose on The Sun's All-County team and second-team defensive back on the AP Big School All-State Team after leading the Mustangs to a school-record 10-2 season.

Smith's brother, Andrew, was also a Meade quarterback but has played defensive back at Maryland. The younger Smith is talented, athletic and quick enough to do likewise.

Spalding faces tough test

Second-ranked Archbishop Spalding (17-3) tips off at No. 6 Calvert Hall (17-4) at 7 p.m. tomorrow in one of the area's top boys game this week.

The visiting Cavaliers are coming off a 64-50 victory over No. 16 Cardinal Gibbons (11-11) in the combined Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic A Conference.

Spalding (6-1) trails Calvert Hall by one game in the league, its only loss by 57-43 at home in overtime to No. 10 McDonogh (13-6). The Cardinals are 7-0 in league play.

Most league coaches and observers consider Spalding and Calvert Hall to be the top two teams in the circuit, with the former noted for its offensive diversity and the latter for its pressure defense.

"We've put ourselves in position to play for first place since losing to McDonogh, and now we have that opportunity against a great Calvert Hall team, " said Spalding coach Mike Glick.

"It should be a great game. They're extremely well-coached, very athletic and aggressive, and they might be the best defensive team in our league. It should be a classic battle."

WNAV Radio (1430 AM) will broadcast the game live with Matt Diehl and Steve Peroutka.

Sideliners

In the 76-51 boys basketball romp by No. 4 Annapolis (14-0) at North County (10-5) Tuesday night, the Panthers' Freddie Allen accidentally bounce-passed the ball to a stunned referee, Browny Arms, during the second period. With his Panthers in their black uniforms, Allen bounced a pass off the right leg of Arms, who was wearing, of course, the officials' black pants. The ball came back to Allen, saving a turnover but much to the dismay of the booing Knights fans. ...

Another light moment came in the second half when the Panthers' 6-foot-6 Josh Johnson blew an easy dunk. "I can't get over that," said Johnson, who had a game-high 28 points. "It went in, came back out and hit my head. Isn't that suppose to count when it goes in?" ... .

Mike Rudd, coach of the No. 18 Glen Burnie boys team, donned a blue bow tie and maroon blazer Friday night at Arundel in hopes of breaking the hex the host Wildcats and their spiffy coach, Sam Golder, had held over his team since last season. Arundel upset the Gophers twice last season on the way to Cole Field House and the 4A state semifinals. Golder, who wears either an outrageous kelly green shirt and tie or a bright kelly blazer, came up short Friday to Rudd's Gophers, 71-60. ...

Arundel girls coach Lee Rogers says that his longtime assistant, Donna McGowan, "is the buffer for me and Greg [Legrand, also an assistant] and keeping us in check is a tough job. We're the loud ones and she's the quiet one." McGowan, who also assists Legrand with the volleyball team, has been Rogers' assistant since he took over in 1989.

Have a note for Sidelines? E- mail patomalleysports@aol.com or call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

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