Injured Henderson won't pass up opportunity

Football notebook

High Schools

December 01, 2003|By Lem Satterfield and Jeff Zrebiec | Lem Satterfield and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

The Aberdeen celebration, after a 6-0 win over South Carroll on Friday in the Class 2A state semifinals, was predictably tempered when starting quarterback and linebacker Erin Henderson needed assistance from teammate Manu Cooper to get back to the locker room.

Henderson, who had the game's touchdown from a yard out with 7:26 to play, later hurt his ankle being tackled by two South Carroll players.

Despite what he said was likely a sprain, the University of Maryland-bound player vows to lead the ninth-ranked Eagles (11-1) into their first state title game against Potomac (12-1) of Prince George's County on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.

"An opportunity like this only comes along once in a lifetime, and I am not going to let it go just because of a messed-up ankle," Henderson said. "If it was a regular-season game, it would be a different story, but this is for a state championship. I don't have a choice."

Harford County leads way

Aberdeen's appearance in the 2A game at 11 a.m. and Joppatowne's in the 1A final at 4 p.m. mark the first time that two Harford County teams will vie for a state title in the same year.

The county placed five of its nine teams in the state's expanded playoffs and has the best winning percentage in postseason games against nonleague rivals, according to information provided by state football record-keeper Sheldon Shealer,

Harford County is 6-1 in playoff games, with its only loss being Bel Air's 18-15 setback against No. 7 Randallstown, which came from behind to win the 3A North final. Edgewood and Havre de Grace lost to county rivals Aberdeen and Joppatowne, respectively.

Here are other conference nonleague records in state playoffs involving metro-area teams: Monocacy Valley Athletic League, 5-3; Anne Arundel County, 2-3; Baltimore County, 4-6; Baltimore City, 2-5; Howard County, 1-3.

Pulling rank

Joppatowne's 21-0 victory over 13th-ranked, Baltimore City power Dunbar on Saturday was the Mariners' fourth win over a squad that had been ranked at some point this season.

The Mariners also have beaten ninth-ranked, Class 2A finalist Aberdeen (11-1), No. 11 Havre de Grace and then-No. 13 Bel Air.

No rain delays

Of the 10 schools involved in five rain-hampered state semifinal games on Friday night, only pass-oriented South Carroll contacted state association executive director Ned Sparks in an attempt to move its game against Aberdeen to Saturday.

Sparks declined the request, saying, "You have to look at the total picture, not just the individual circumstance."

"Once you set everything in motion, to make changes that favor one team over another - anything that could be perceived as favoring one team over another - credibility is gone," said Sparks, who cited Friday night's Woodlawn-at-Broadneck 4A contest, which was played under the same conditions and despite the absence of a bank of lights near a far end of the Bruins' field. The lights went out nearly an hour before game time.

"When you establish a plan, you go ahead with that plan," he said. "It's the only fair thing to do."

No passing allowed

Dave Eslin returned his third interception of the year for his first defensive touchdown and Trey Evans picked off his fourth pass of the season Friday night in No. 2 Broadneck's 41-14 Class 4A state semifinal rout of third-ranked, two-time Baltimore County 4A-3A league champion Woodlawn.

The interceptions were the 23rd and 24th of the year by the Bruins' defense, led by Kyle Bloomfield with eight.

Bloomfield, who has two of the Bruins' three returned interceptions for scores, suffered a leg injury against Woodlawn but will play in Friday's state title game against Damascus of Montgomery County at M&T Bank Stadium.

Two and done?

Dundalk's Dave Eubank, 30, The Sun's 2002 All-City/County co-Coach of the Year, said he was told Nov. 24 he "was being let go" as coach by athletic director Jeff Walen, who could not be reached to comment.

"I've been told two different things: that I lacked [a college degree] for certification, which I'm getting in business in December, and that I lacked the organizational skills as a coach," said Eubank, who led last year's Owls to a school-best 9-2 record, a share of their third Baltimore County 4A-3A crown and their first 3A North regional title in his first season as coach.

This year's 5-6 Owls reached the postseason, marking the first time Dundalk has qualified for consecutive playoffs.

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