Patapsco's out-of-blue success makes personal planning tough

Patriots, 1-9 last season, taking a shot at playoffs

Football notebook

High Schools

October 20, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Patapsco's John Spencer recently canceled a trip planned for Nov. 14 to see his mother in Orlando, Fla. "I had to," the second-year coach explained. "We might be in the playoffs."

Spencer didn't expect the Patriots, coming off a 1-9 season, to be in position to make their first postseason appearance, but they're beneficiaries of a playoff expansion that has raised from 32 to 64 the number of teams eligible for the postseason in four classifications.

Patapsco is 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Baltimore County Class 3A-2A League after last weekend's 20-14 victory over league rival Franklin. It had held the fifth spot in the chase for one of four qualifying berths in the 3A North region - a position that will likely improve because two teams ahead of Patapsco, and one that trailed it, lost.

Against Franklin, Andy Hopkins rushed for all three touchdowns, Tavon Mitchell had 96 rushing yards and Brad Gayhart blocked a punt for a safety. On Friday, the Patriots will visit league rival Overlea (5-2, 4-0), a winner of four straight.

Making a run

Another Baltimore County team, Loch Raven (2-8 last year), could qualify for the playoffs in 1A North. It would be the first postseason trip for the Raiders since 1984.

Loch Raven (3-3, 3-0) was fifth in its regional chase for a berth before gaining the inside track toward a county 2A-1A crown with last week's 29-14 win over previously unbeaten Western Tech (4-1, 1-1).

In that game, Quentin Burley scored his 14th and 15th touchdowns. Keith Jones returned a fumble 62 yards for one touchdown and caught a 13-yard scoring pass from Danny Hunter, who also ran for a two-point conversion.

In the clutch

North Carroll's Robbie Pearre caught a fourth-quarter, 43-yard pass from David Dix, then blocked an extra-point try to preserve a 20-19 victory over Liberty on Thursday night in Carroll County.

Pearre also scored on a 1-yard run, Dix threw a 35-yard scoring pass to Jeff Baumiller and Josh Gailey ran for a two-point conversion as the Panthers (2-5) ended a three-game losing streak.

Henderson flexible

Maryland-bound Erin Henderson wants to play quarterback for the Terps but would move to linebacker if asked. "I'm flexible," said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound player.

"My goal since my freshman year has been to play quarterback in college, and they [Maryland coaches] say they'll give me that opportunity," said Henderson, an honor student with a 900 SAT score. "But if I get there and I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do, they'll change my position."

Aberdeen's Henderson has completed 32 of 57 attempts (56.1 percent) this season for 777 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, Henderson, younger brother of former Maryland star and Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson, has five sacks and an interception.

Erin Henderson's versatility was evident in Thursday night's 34-7 win over Harford County League rival C. Milton Wright (2-2, 2-4). He was 7-for-8 for 208 yards in the air, with scoring passes of 5 and 47 yards to Ryan McNew and Phillip Brown, respectively. He also scored his fourth rushing touchdown.

Defensively, Henderson made 13 tackles for Aberdeen (5-1, 3-1).

Upon further review

Boys' Latin coach Richie Schell said running back Shane Walterhoefer, who was initially reported to have had 277 rushing yards, actually totaled 303 on 39 carries and four touchdowns in Friday night's 34-19 win over Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference rival Pallotti (6-1, 3-1).

With one league game remaining against Lutheran (1-5), the Lakers (4-3, 4-1) have nearly clinched at least a share of their second straight crown.

John Carroll (5-2, 3-1), an earlier 7-6 winner over Boys' Latin, is the only other league team with one loss.

Quick hits

Notwithstanding forfeits to Dunbar and Poly for the inadvertent use of an ineligible player, Patterson (5-2) has outscored its rivals, 242-20, with five shutouts and still can make the 4A North region playoffs. ... Joppatowne's Brent Cash has rushed for 830 yards and 12 touchdowns, 10 of them in his past four games ... Hereford kicker John Dinkins has the school record for extra-point kicks (130) and is four shy of the state record.

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