For some, hoops on hold during state playoff push

As fall and winter seasons overlap, conflicts arise

Football notebook

High Schools

November 28, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

The Dunbar football team's pursuit of its third state title has drawn eight players from the school's storied varsity basketball program, which last season won the Class 1A title, its eighth state championship.

The players -- Barry Jenifer, Nathan Irby, Eric Carter, Martez Carter, John McCoy, Earl Chaptman, Kyle Johnson, and Craig Singletarry -- have been pulling double-duty every day, going from difficult football practices to light basketball workouts, said football coach Ben Eaton.

Should the No. 13 Poets (11-1) win tomorrow's semifinal against Joppatowne (6-5), qualifying for the Dec. 6 Class 1A state title game, the basketball team could be in trouble for its season-opening tournament slated the same day.

Meanwhile, if Joppatowne wins, state wrestling champ Jeremy Navarre would miss a wrestling tournament.

"I'm not thinking about wrestling right now," said Navarre. "All I am worried about is our team winning. I'll worry about wrestling later."

The Aberdeen varsity basketball team has been also forced to practice with only three players, as six of its contributors are playing major roles for the Eagles football team, which plays tonight in the Class 2A semifinals at South Carroll.

Policy of containment

Aberdeen coach Joe Harbert and South Carroll coach Gene Brown were predictably coy earlier this week when asked about their philosophies in defending the other team's star quarterback.

South Carroll's T.J. Swanson has combined for 3,070 yards of total offense and 43 touchdowns, and his counterpart tonight in the Class 2A semifinals, the Eagles' Erin Henderson, has totaled 2,241 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Still, both coaches vowed to stick to their team's usual game plan, hoping that will be good enough to at least contain the standout quarterbacks.

"I am a big believer that we're not going to throw some magic defense out to try to stop them," said Harbert. "We're going to do what we've done all year and if that doesn't match up well against them, then they deserve to beat us."

Said Brown: "I just don't think you can just focus on [Henderson]. You do that and there are some other guys on the team that are going to beat you. He certainly has our attention, but there are a lot of other things we're worried about too."

Clean slate for Howard

Forget the past and you're destined to repeat it, the saying goes. But first-year Randallstown coach Albert Howard doesn't think that way.

It won't matter to Howard that tonight's Class 3A semifinal is at Lackey (11-1) of Charles County and the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, whose teams (Thomas Stone and Chopticon) ousted Randallstown in two of its past three playoff berths.

"That's in the hearts and minds of some Randallstown people," said Howard, whose Rams are making their 11th semifinal appearance. "But the ghosts and things of the past don't affect me because I wasn't here."

Second-year coach Scott Chadwick of Lackey, the 12th-ranked team in The Washington Post poll, has turned around a program that was a combined 10-10 the past two seasons.

Knight comes home

Potomac of Prince George's coach Eric Knight, a Reisterstown native and 1969 graduate of Baltimore County's Franklin High, has relatives living in Reisterstown, Finksburg, Glyndon and Ellicott City.

Although the 52-year-old Knight has faced teams from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County during five previous playoff berths, tonight's Class 2A semifinal against No. 1 Eastern Tech (12-0) marks the first time his Wolverines (11-1) meet a team from Knight's native county.

Mariners wary of Irby

Class 1A semifinalist Joppatowne has faced some impressive running backs this season, including John Carroll's Dane Frank, Havre de Grace's Mike Perez, Edgewood's Corey Trice and Loch Raven's Quentin Burley.

But Mariners coach Greg Komondor, whose team plays Dunbar tomorrow at City College, admitted that his team hasn't faced a running back like the Poets' Nathan Irby, who has rushed for 1,748 yards and is coming off a 302-yard effort last week against Poolesville.

"We have played good backs, but he breaks more tackles than anybody we've seen," said Komondor. "We've been stressing a lot how we need to tackle and wrap, not just hit him. I think Poolesville hit him 11 times behind the line of scrimmage, but they didn't tackle him."

Field position battle

Broadneck coach Jeff Herrick is worried about scoring enough points to prevail, while Woodlawn coach Leonard Hart is concerned about presenting opportunities for his opponent's stellar place-kicker, Chris Desautels.

"My biggest concern is how many points we can put on the board offensively, " said Herrick, whose No. 2 Bruins play host tonight to the No. 3 Warriors in a Class 4A semifinal. "We need to keep field position in our favor."

Hart said Desautels, who has an Anne Arundel County-record 11 field goals and a long of 42 yards, "is an awesome kicker. Our job is to keep them on their side of the 50-yard line and keep their kicker out of range."

Staff writers Jeff Zrebiec and Pat O'Malley contributed to this article.

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