Football's Warriors try to hold the lines

Havre de Grace aims to improve both sides


October 08, 2006|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN REPORTER

The Havre de Grace football team was off to a surprising 2-1 start before its offensive and defensive lines were dominated by C. Milton Wright nine days ago in the Mustangs' 35-13 Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference victory.

"Our lines are our weak link right now," Warriors coach John Brooks said. "We're trying to get that together. Once we do that, I think our skill positions can carry us through the season."

Brooks has been emphasizing improved conditioning all season following a 2-8 finish last year in which the Warriors "were in every game until the fourth quarter," Brooks said.

Those skill position players Brooks referred to are quarterback Josh Appold, wide receiver-defensive back Travis Brown, wide receiver Arthur Ibewuike and running back Mike Watters.

Appold has thrown four touchdown passes. Brown has caught three touchdown receptions and leads the UCBAC in interceptions with four.

Ibewuike has two touchdown catches, and Watters has rushed for five touchdowns while averaging six yards a carry.

"Watters is pretty much our go-to guy on the ground," Brooks said of the 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior running back.

The offensive and defensive lines are anchored by junior tackle Grant Steelman, who is 6-1, 305 pounds. The lines took a hit in the loss to C. Milton Wright when tackle Cory McKee (6-2, 305) was injured.

The leading tackler is linebacker-fullback Mike Simpson, who is averaging 15 stops a game, which leads the UCBAC.

"We're extremely big on the line, but we're not where we should be yet," Brooks said.

The Warriors would be even bigger on the line if Tyler Cook, a 6-7, 400-pound junior nose tackle, was healthy.

"He's had one injury after another," Brooks said. "I hate to even mention him because he hasn't played a down. He's got to be the biggest player in the state. They call him the `Cookie Monster.' I've never seen a player that big."

Milestone victory

This has already been a special volleyball season for the Bel Air girls, who pulled off what is thought to be the program's first-ever victory over a Cecil County school (3-1 over Elkton).

"We were behind by a significant amount in every game but were able to come back and win," said Bobcats coach Chris McDonough, whose team got off to a 5-2 start. "The girls were communicating, they were listening to what each other had to say, they were having good ball placement, and their serves were going over."

The top Bel Air players are setter Sarah Willey, middle hitters Arlana Roland and Becca Kany, outside hitters Kelsey Sullivan, Katie Boyce and Gina Albano, and defensive specialist Kara Zimmerman.

Efficient performance

North Harford quarterback Dan Griffin made the most of his completions in a 37-12 victory over Joppatowne on Sept. 29.

Griffin completed seven passes, three for touchdowns. Two came in the fourth quarter and sparked a 23-point run that helped No. 10 North Harford take charge. Joppatowne had cut the lead to 14-12 with a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Griffin threw touchdown passes of 21 and 56 yards to Devon Brown in the fourth quarter.

"They loaded the box, and we just put it in the air," Griffin said.

Jeff Seidel contributed to this article.

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