In football, 2 still standing



Two county teams remain alive in the state football playoffs following wins by Westminster and South Carroll in last week's opening round.

In Class 3A West, the top-seeded Owls avenged their only loss of the season, dominating both offensively and defensively in a 21-7 win over Linganore. In Class 2A West, third-seeded South Carroll totaled 400 yards rushing in a 35-20 win over Francis Scott Key.

Westminster (10-1) next plays host to Seneca Valley (10-1) on Friday night at 7 in what will be a matchup of two high-powered offenses. While the Owls, led by record-setting senior quarterback Kevin Clancy, primarily have used their passing game to shred opposing defenses, the Montgomery County power has relied mainly on its ground game.

Led by junior running back Shawn Perry, the Screaming Eagles have rushed for nearly 2,500 yards this season and averaged just under 30 points per game.

"I think we've faced some pretty good running backs this year. He's pretty good, but we feel that over the last few weeks defensively we've gotten better," said Westminster coach Brad Wilson. "I think Friday night, our defense showed how it's capable of playing."

In that game, the Owls limited powerful Linganore to 145 yards of total offense, including just 11 yards on nine carries by running back Jon Sweadner, who had entered the game with more than 800 yards this season.

While Westminster and Seneca Valley are more or less strangers, South Carroll (8-3) is quite familiar with Middletown (9-2), a team that defeated the Cavaliers, 35-14, earlier this month for their only loss since September.

South Carroll was its own worst enemy in that game, being whistled for eight unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties and losing two players and coach Butch Schaffer to ejections. "I think we all learned a lot of valuable lessons from that game," said Schaffer. "Hopefully, we're going to put some of those lessons into practice this coming Friday."

Cavaliers injuries

South Carroll's Liz Shannon knew she'd face challenges during her first season as girls basketball coach. She just didn't expect to have to face them so soon.

Already faced with losing All-County center Melissa Axtell for several weeks following knee surgery, Shannon received more bad news a week before the start of practice when forward Sam Scurci was lost for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

That leaves the young Cavaliers, who will feature five sophomores and a freshman, without their entire starting front court.

"Before, we were going to pound it in. Now, we're just going to run it," said Shannon, a former Amateur Athletic Union coach in Middletown. "We have a lot of guards, so we're just going to run them to death."

All-State soccer

Nine players from Carroll County have made the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer All-State teams.

Liberty senior forward Taylor Van Brackle is the county's lone first-team pick, with teammate Paul Seegren, a senior defender, earning second-team honors. Other boys selected include North Carroll senior Jesse Ayers, South Carroll senior forward Ed Dawson and Winters Mill senior forward Paul Schuit, all of whom made honorable mention.

On the girls side, Liberty senior forward Annie Lebherz was named to the second team, while South Carroll senior midfielder Jess Aaron, Century senior forward Brittany Eger and Winters Mill senior midfielder Katie Hertsch all were named honorable mention.

Golf honors

Three golfers from Century have been named first-team All-Conference following a vote of coaches in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Chesapeake Conference.

The team includes Century's Andrew Stenger, Kyle Nicholson and Luke Schaffer, all of whom finished the season with nine-hole averages under 40.

The three led the Knights to a 10-2 record, including a 6-1 mark against county opponents. Other first-team members from the county include Westminster's Tim Evelius and North Carroll's Michael Coppa and Brian Rampolla.

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