Thoroughbreds race to 3-2



Like all coaches at Bowling Brook, a preparatory school for at-risk youth in western Carroll County, football coach Dave Neumayer never knows from year to year what kinds of players he'll get.

So far this season, Neumayer likes what he sees.

Despite a 23-17 double-overtime loss Saturday to unbeaten Poolesville - a team receiving votes in the latest state Associated Press poll - the Thoroughbreds are off to a 3-2 start after winning only four games last season. Since most students spent just one year at the school, the team has only one returning player from a year ago.

"What we traditionally have done around here is, come summertime, we go up to the practice field, put on some shorts and T-shirts, toss the ball around and see who's got what," Neumayer said. "It's just a matter of what kind of kids we get in."

One player excelling this season has been running back Tim Prior, who has rushed for 522 yards and two touchdowns, despite never having played varsity football before this season.

"He's just an athlete," Neumayer said of Prior, who ran track last spring for the Thoroughbreds. "He sees the field really well and makes good reads."

With room to run behind a talented offensive line, Prior rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown against Forestville in a 37-33 win that Neumayer called "one of the biggest wins that I've ever been involved with as a coach or a player."

Bowling Brook trailed by 18 points with about 8:30 to play, then reeled off two unanswered points in a span of six minutes, capped by Tray Wilson's quarterback draw to give his team the lead.

"It was a sign of character," Neumayer said. "These kids just dug down. We have a sign in our locker room that they hit as they come out the door that says, `Find a way.' That's what they did - they found a way to win."

Patriots unbeaten

After graduating just two seniors each of the past two years, Carroll Christian boys soccer coach Matthew Reisberg knew he had plenty of experience returning this season.

So far, that experience has translated into one of the best teams in school history.

After their 3-0 win over Granite Christian on Friday, the Patriots are 9-0-1, tied with Harford Christian atop the nine-team Maryland Association of Christian Schools Athletic League.

"Most of what I have this year are seniors who have been starting since their sophomore year, which is a rarity," said Reisberg, in his ninth year. "This is probably the best passing team that I've had."

The team features 11 seniors, including forward Matt Ward, who leads the team with 14 goals and eight assists, forward Mike Elban (10 goals, seven assists) and goalie Storm Blizzard (four shutouts).

Falcons soaring

Winters Mill football coach Ken Johnson doesn't have to look hard to see the primary reason for his team's success.

For the past two weeks, the Falcons' sizable offensive line has pushed around its defensive counterparts from North Carroll and South Carroll in 39-0 and 30-21 wins, respectively. The team is off to a 3-1 start, matching its win total for all of last season. Perhaps most impressive, of the Falcons' five starting offensive linemen, there's not a senior among them.

Left tackle Jeff Braun (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) and left guard Zach Means (6-0, 245) are both sophomores, while center Josh Julius (5-10, 210), right guard Steve Pixler (5-9, 240) and right tackle John Hopkins (6-3, 245) are all juniors.

All are first-year varsity players up from the junior varsity.

"We're looking at these guys and saying, `Wow, we're coaching them for another season and a half at least,'" Johnson said. "They've got a real good upside to them."

The quintet has consistently opened gaping holes for Jordan Wike, Dustin Johnson and Garrett Hill in Winters Mill's run-oriented offense. Wike ran for three touchdowns and Hill added two more in last week's win over the Cavaliers.

"They're just starting to mesh," Johnson said. "They're kids who are into it big time. Their main thing is football, they're lifters and they all have big frames on them. That's what's really the key to the offense."

Shooters' touch

Despite building a wide advantage in shots in most of its games, the No. 13 Liberty boys soccer team often has had difficulty finding the net this season.

In Thursday's game against Winters Mill. Despite a 23-9 edge in shots, including 15-2 in the first half, the host Lions failed to finish until late in the first half before managing to pull out a 2-1 win.

"Either the ball bounces wrong or we're getting a little unlucky - it's happened like that all year," coach Ed DeVincent said. "Fortunately enough, we've been able to keep pushing, and good things happen when you play well."

Good things continue to happen for the Lions, who remained unbeaten through last weekend.

Stadium changes

Fans attending games at Francis Scott Key's and Westminster's stadiums this fall may have noticed a few changes.

With the addition of a new ticket booth at Francis Scott Key, the school has changed the main entrance for all events except for football from the "upper" entrance (closest to the tennis courts) to the "lower" entrance (closest to the baseball and softball fields).

Both entrances will be used for football games.

At Westminster, the school's long-awaited scoreboard is finally in place, after the old one blew away during a storm last November. The new $26,000 board features easier-to-read LED lights, similar to boards at Century and Winters Mill.

Westminster was forced to rely on a portable loaner last spring.

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