Prince George's calls off another round of games

Montgomery allows indoor events to resume

October 15, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

High school sporting events in Prince George's and Montgomery counties were suspended once again yesterday in the wake of the recent sniper-related deaths in the Washington area. Teams in the Baltimore metropolitan area have resumed competition.

Football games rescheduled from this past weekend to yesterday were among the outdoor events not played in both districts. Prince George's County has suspended all sports-related activities, while Montgomery County allowed yesterday's indoor events - such as volleyball and team practices - to go on. It plans to do so throughout the week.

"All outdoor events and activities are canceled for today. It's going to be a day-to-day decision," said Brian Porter, a spokesman for Montgomery County's public school information department.

Porter is not sure what games will be rescheduled. "We say canceled. If you say postponed, that means they'll be made up, and we don't know that they will be."

The shooting last week of a 13-year-old boy at a Prince George's middle school "definitely" caused that district to take extra precautions, said coordinator of athletics Earl Hawkins.

"The safety of our children is the most important thing, and when the student [was shot] you definitely have to [prioritize] that," said Hawkins.

Ned Sparks, executive secretary of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, said he does not expect a program's shortened season to affect the playoffs, which, with the exception of football, allow every team to participate regardless of record.

Football teams qualify for the postseason through a points system. A team is awarded eight points for a victory over a Class 4A school, seven over a 3A, six for beating a 2A and five for a win over a 1A. A team also receives a point for every victory by a vanquished opponent. For example, a win over a 4A school with a 5-3 record is worth 13 points.

A football team is seeded based on its points average, not its total points collected. For now, state football chairman John Cox will continue to post tournament football seedings but will simply adjust their averages to reflect a nine-game schedule - the state-mandated minimum.

But if conditions continue to prevent Montgomery and Prince George's county football teams to play at least nine games, Sparks said the state association will "try to strike a balance and figure out a fair and equitable way to deal with teams who have six, seven or eight games."

"We'll try to remain tuned in and empathetic toward their plight, but the tournament dates are scheduled and we intend to keep to that schedule," Sparks said. "If the situation is not resolved by then, it will be up to the [districts] to decide whether they will or won't participate."

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