The national spotlight has always eluded Tanardo Sharps.
The senior Temple University tailback from Meade High has averaged 5.3 yards a carry over a 27-game career, has two career-high 203-yard games, and Thursday night he began his final collegiate season by amassing 118 yards in the first half of a 34-7 romp over Division I-AA Richmond.
But still, the 5-foot-11, 196-pound speedster gets little respect around the country.
Sharps will have a big opportunity to change all that tomorrow night, when the Owls face nationally recognized Oregon State at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
"Oregon State is always one of the top teams in the nation, and this could finally be the game that gets our team to the top of the hill," Sharps said. "We've been so close so many times. My sophomore year we lost four games by seven points or less."
Sharps said he is expected to take charge of the Owls this season and lead them to a bowl game.
"It's now or never for me this year," he said. "I have to be a leader."
Senior Temple kicker Cap Poklemba (McDonogh) also played a major role in the victory over Richmond, hitting field goals from 42 and 31 yards and converting all four extra points.
Poklemba was rated No. 23 on the pre-season list of top field-goal kickers in the nation by The Sporting News.
Trio aids Hokies
The Virginia Tech football team (2-0) has risen to No. 12 in the nation this week, thanks to the standout play of three Baltimore-area players.
Junior roverback Michael Crawford (Patterson) and sophomore free safety Vincent Fuller (Woodlawn) have started the first two games and they each have a total of two tackles and two assisted tackles. Fuller also broke up one pass.
Sophomore Richard Johnson (Milford Mill) has been the top kickoff and punt returner on the team, returning two kickoffs for 53 yards and two punts for 19 yards. He is also a flanker on the team.
A fourth local player, freshman Jason Murphy (Edmondson) is a reserve on the defensive line and has one quarterback hurry in two games.
York saves Seminoles
Goalkeeper Kerry York (Severna Park) made two spectacular saves for the Florida State women's soccer team in the first half Friday night against Oregon State, enabling the Seminoles to escape with a 0-0 tie in the season opener.
York, a sophomore, knocked a rocket shot into the crossbar and then it bounced over the bar in the 35th minute, and she came back in the final minute of the half to make a diving save on a shot from close range. York finished with seven saves.
She followed up with three saves in a 2-1 victory over Oregon. York played every minute of the two games for the 10th-ranked Seminoles and had a 90.9 save percentage while facing 21 shots.
As a freshman, York started 14 games and had a 1.67 goals against average. The Seminoles had a 15-8-1 record, advancing to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.
Melton starts fast
Dennard Melton (Severn) is off to a fast start for the James Madison University football team this season, making nine tackles in a season-opening 31-28 loss to Hampton University last weekend.
The junior linebacker's effort included one tackle for a 3-yard loss. Trent Bosley (Westminster), a freshman offensive tackle, saw action on every play as the Dukes rallied from a 31-7 deficit to make the game close in the fourth quarter. Bosley is 6-4, 285.
Another Carroll County lineman, guard Mike Jenkins (South Carroll) is a backup.
Backup JMU quarterback, Adam Rafalski (Bel Air) saw action on five running plays. He entered the game when starter Matt LeZotte was shaken up briefly and took the Dukes 15 yards into the end zone.
American University sophomore Matthew Barresi (Atholton) and Lafayette College junior Brett Harvey (Dulaney) were named this summer to the Patriot League men's track and field academic honor roll.
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