Westminster knows its foe



When the Westminster Owls take the field at M&T Bank Stadium for Saturday's Class 3A state title football game, they won't be facing a totally unfamiliar foe. Though Gwynn Park is from Prince George's County, the Owls faced the Yellow Jackets in an August scrimmage.

"Even back then in the summertime, they were predicted as a team to win the whole thing in 3A and that's one of the reasons why I wanted to scrimmage them - because I knew they'd be there," Owls coach Brad Wilson said.

Wilson said that his team held its own against Gwynn Park, which is 13-0 and ranked No. 4 by The Washington Post.

"I thought we did well against them, and I knew right then and there that we were going to have a good football team," Wilson said. "I think they knew that we weren't going to be intimidated by them, and we earned their respect."

Though he worries about the Yellow Jackets' strength at running back and size up front, he also believes that his prolific offense, led by quarterback Kevin Clancy (3,144 yards passing, 38 touchdowns) and all-purpose back Ryan Finch (1,237 yards rushing, 797 receiving), will be able to move the ball.

Cavaliers to face test

South Carroll (10-3), meanwhile, will face a stiff test of its own when it meets Potomac of Prince George's County in the Class 2A final, Saturday at noon at M&T Bank Stadium.

Potomac (11-2), which has won seven straight games by a combined score of 231-68, will be making its third straight trip to the state finals, after losing to Aberdeen in overtime in 2003 and beating Hereford to cap an unbeaten season last year.

The Wolverines are led by 1,000-yard back Antonial Coles, who has rushed for 659 yards and eight touchdowns in his past four games, including a season-high 225 yards in the semifinals against Joppatowne.

"Potomac is a tremendously talented team. We know we're going to have to play our best game to be able to compete with them," South Carroll coach Butch Schaffer said.

The state title game is about the last place many observers believed the Cavaliers would end. They finished just 3-7 a year ago, and looked anything but impressive in a blowout loss to Westminster to open the season.

"I never thought we would have gone this far," quarterback Jason Burns said. "I knew we had a good team and all, but I never thought we'd go this far. Our guys have just done awesome."

Waiting game

While Westminster's football team continues to play, the school's basketball team must wait a little longer to get back some of its top players.

Under state rules, lineman Dan Stone, Clancy and linebacker Jeremy Hines, all key players for coach Brett Kanther, aren't allowed to practice until the end of their football season on Saturday.

That left the basketball team somewhat short-handed when it opened its season against Bowling Brook on Monday. Kanther said the team has pushed back Friday's game against Tuscarora until the end of February, and will next play on Tuesday against South Carroll.

With only a day of practice under their belts, however, the football players aren't likely to see action then, and will more likely return to the court Dec. 15 at home against Winters Mill.

"Really, it's two games, but hopefully before we play Winters Mill [they'll be ready]," Kanther said. "But kids like Stone and Clancy are very cerebral kids. If anybody can get acclimated really fast it's them."

Meanwhile, other players are getting the chance to step up.

"We're looking at this from a positive standpoint," Kanther said. "The other kids get a chance to show what they can do. They're getting opportunities."

A repeat effort?

To successfully defend its county title this season, Winters Mill's boys basketball team will have to find a way to replace the inside production of George Neville. Last year, the 6-foot-3 Neville, now a freshman at Division III Guilford College in North Carolina, averaged 13.6 points and 7.3 rebounds to lead the team to a 17-7 mark and its first county championship.

"George did a lot of things for us," coach Dave Herman said. "We're really going to have to scrap on the boards and play hard to get rebounds."

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