Joppatowne just step behind

Potomac proves a little too fast, edging Mariners in 2A state football semifinal

John Carroll makes a turn for the better in basketball



Joppatowne coach Bill Waibel watched visiting Potomac celebrate moments after the Wolverines defeated his team in Friday's Class 2A state semifinal. When asked about the Prince George's County's team's talent, Waibel gave a grim smile.

"That's the fastest team I've ever coached against," Waibel said after the Mariners' 14-7 loss.

Potomac ended Joppatowne's season with that speed and quickness, controlling play on both sides of the ball and stopping Joppatowne's bid for a third straight trip to a state title game. The Mariners finished at 10-3 despite moving up from Class 1A and having lost their whole backfield.

Joppatowne lives off the ground game, using the old power-I formation that helped running back David Dudley gain 122 more yards and finish with 2,106 for the season, along with 25 touchdowns. But Potomac's size on the line let it slow Dudley inside, and the Wolverines' speed let them shut him down outside and cramped the Joppatowne offense.

"They're extremely fast on defense," Waibel said.

Dudley had to work for all of his yardage, something that wasn't the case throughout the season. He ran for 19 yards on one carry and 13 on another, but all his other runs were for 8 yards or less.

"I think we were a little nervous early," Dudley said. "But we made big plays ... and we fought hard."

In fact, Dudley's two runs were the only two plays Joppatowne had over 10 yards. The Mariners held the ball for long stretches, running 68 plays to the Wolverines' 41, but couldn't make the key plays against a very fast defense.

What made it more frustrating for Waibel and Joppatowne was the fact that Potomac turned the ball over four times, and the Mariners couldn't convert on their chances.

"We had our opportunities," Waibel said.

Joppatowne and Waibel will face a similar situation next year, as quarterback Antoine Brown, Dudley and other key players are graduating. But the Mariners always seem to find another big running back each year to fit into the power-I system.

They lost All-County Player of the Year Anthony Preston (quarterback), and running backs Jeremy Navarre (now with Maryland) and Joe Ivory from last year, but kept right on winning this season.

Change for better

New coach Tony Martin and his staff are trying to change things around for the John Carroll boys basketball team, and they've gotten off to a good start.

Martin took over after the Patriots lost all 25 games last year. They ended a 35-game losing streak with a recent win over Lutheran and stood at 2-3 after their first five games.

The Patriots are starting from scratch, using players with no varsity experience and testing them by playing a schedule that could go up to 38 games. Martin is starting his 18th year as a head coach, having previously worked at Archbishop Spalding, Cardinal Gibbons and Mount St. Joseph.

He's best known for helping turn Spalding into a national power over a three-year period, and he now hopes to resurrect John Carroll. Breaking the losing streak that dated back to January 2004 was a good starting point.

More Joppatowne

Waibel faced an interesting decision late in Friday's loss to Potomac. The Mariners were in the midst of a long drive midway through the fourth quarter and down 14-7, and the coach later admitted that he was pondering going for two and the lead if Joppatowne did score.

If he had done that, it would have forced Potomac to score to take the lead, and give Joppatowne the win if the defense could stop make a stand.

But Potomac ended that debate, forcing quarterback Brown to fumble and recovering it with 5:23 left. The Wolverines then ran out the clock to clinch the win.

One final shutout

It's fitting that C. Milton Wright soccer goalie Katie Kolb ended her career with a shutout.

When the Mustangs pulled out a 1-0 victory over Walt Whitman in the Class 4A state final, that was the 28th shutout of Kolb's career. The four-year starter had six shutouts this season as C. Milton Wright rolled to its first state title.

The Mustangs believed so heavily in Kolb that they called her "The Wall," and voted her the team's Most Valuable Player. She finished with 200 saves this season, allowed only 16 goals and had a .910 save percentage.

Kolb helped the Mustangs get into the final with the game-winning save that clinched the shootout and gave them a 3-2 victory over Eleanor Roosevelt in the state semifinal.

"She just owns the box," said C. Milton Wright coach Paul Austin. "She was great."

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