Prelude to `Brian's Song'



Forest Wiest said he always liked the movie Brian's Song. The Harford County supervisor of physical education and athletics had a little more reason than most to take interest in that film.

The well-known television movie featured the story of Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo, who died in 1970 at the age of 26, seven months after he was diagnosed with cancer. Wiest knew Piccolo, having played football with him at Wake Forest. Wiest went back to Wake Forest last month for a reunion of players who were on teams in the mid-1960s under former coach Bill Tate.

Wiest, who said he hasn't found many chances to return to Wake Forest over the years, said it felt good to go back home. . He came to Harford County after graduation and coached football at Edgewood in different capacities from 1967-1987. Wiest later became Edgewood's athletic director and assistant principal. He became an assistant principal at North Harford before he was promoted to his present job in 1999.

"It was a great experience and we all got to see each other," Wiest said.

Wiest knew many players from that team, like John Mackovic (the quarterback) and Piccolo. After playing on the freshman team, Wiest moved on to the varsity as a sophomore during Piccolo's senior year. Piccolo led the nation in rushing, and Wiest, who played running back that season, got to know him .

"He was a real nice guy, a good person," Wiest said. "He wasn't one of those people that went around with his head in the clouds."

Piccolo ran for 1,044 yards and scored 17 touchdowns during his senior year. He didn't have breakaway speed and was a grinder. His longest run that season was just 31 yards, but Piccolo just kept going.

"The thing I saw with him that really made him better than most backs is he had phenomenal balance," Wiest said. "You couldn't chop him, and he could get under people. He'd 5-, 6- and 7-yard people to death."

On the run

The Bel Air boys cross country team, winner of the past two Harford County championships, proved its readiness for the coming Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championships by surging past C. Milton Wright for the team crown at the Bobcat Invitational at Jerusalem Mill Park in Bel Air on Saturday.

Andrew Mahone's victory in 16 minutes, 46 seconds paced Bel Air, which compiled 30 points on the strength of additional top-12 efforts from Alex Loper (sixth place in 17:53), Elliott Mattson (seventh, 17:54), Brandon Ropinski (eighth, 17:55) and Kyle Schott (12th, 18:23.

C. Milton Wright was second with 37 points.

The Mustangs' No. 3 girls team swept individual and team honors.

Sara Bailey won the individual title in 19:45, outdistancing runner-up Sarah Zader of Bel Air by 26 seconds.

Additional top-seven outings from Megan Ravenscraft (third, 20:26), Lindsay Lippencott (fourth, 20:29), Danielle Burcham (fifth, 20:41) and Lindsay Carpentar (seventh, 21:04) helped C. Milton Wright post 20 points.

Bel Air was second with 43.


Rain forces some small changes in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference playoff schedule.

The field hockey championship game has been moved to Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Rising Sun. It had been originally scheduled for today. The game will likely pit Bohemia Manor against No. 8 Fallston or No. 14 C. Milton Wright. The soccer championship doubleheader remains set for next Wednesday at Edgewood.

Also, the cross country divisional meets are set for tomorrow. The Chesapeake division race will take place at Tollgate Park, and the Susquehanna division goes at Fair Hill.

Breaking out

Joppatowne defensive end J.R. Myers hadn't gotten a sack through the Mariners' first five games - but he made up for that on Friday.

Myers sparked a strong performance by the Joppatowne defense by recording four sacks in a 29-14 victory over Fallston in a UCBAC game.

Myers, 6 feet 4, used his quickness to record sacks on two consecutive plays in the second half and had two more as the Mariners were able to neutralize Fallston quarterback Sean Kelly's strong arm by putting tremendous pressure on him.

Jopppatowne (5-1, 2-1) was so quick that the Mariners actually beat Kelly back to the pocket a few times. Kelly couldn't do much to get away from the long-armed Myers.

"You've just got to be physical down there, and you've got to fight down there," Myers said.

Teammate Chris Soul helped with two sacks.

Quick hits

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