Mount Hebron first-year boys lacrosse coach Mike McCarthy wasn't quite sure what to expect early in the season, and it was easy to understand why.
Consider that the defending state champion Vikings graduated 18 seniors - including All-Metro attackman Tommy Incontrera and seven of the team's top nine midfielders.
But with goalkeeper Billy McNamara, midfielder Justin Martinelli and attackman Bobby Cooke - the team's senior captains - along with junior defenseman Brandon Wolven picking up the leadership slack and a young group stepping up, the Vikings are much further along than expected by McCarthy.
An impressive, 17-7 season-opening win over county rival River Hill last week provided proof. Junior Marc Saxton led a balanced attack with four goals and three assists as the Vikings stayed one pass ahead of the Hawks' pressure defense.
McCarthy, who was an assistant under former coach Tom Minard the previous three years, credited his senior captains for getting the rest of the team up to speed.
"They've really stepped up leadership-wise and helped bring the young kids along," he said.
Futter leads Wildecats
After a painful sophomore season, Wilde Lake's Josh Futter is once again proving to be a pain for some of the county's top teams.
The junior allowed six hits and struck out six as the Wildecats (2-1) upset then-No. 3 Centennial, 4-3, Friday. It ended the Eagles' 18-game winning streak in the county, dating to 2005.
During his freshman season, Futter was one of the key players in Wilde Lake's unlikely run to the Class 3A state final. The Wildecats lost to Severna Park in the championship game and finished the season 8-17.
To get to the 3A title game, the Wildecats knocked off stunned River Hill (15-6) and Centennial (14-7) to win the school's first regional title in 34 years.
Futter pitched mostly in relief, including the last 6 1/3 innings in the final. He was limited to 19 innings last season because of an injury, and Wilde Lake went 4-16.
Six in All-Star Game
Six boys basketball players from Howard County have been named to Saturday's Maryland vs. Pennsylvania All-Star Game in Harrisburg, Pa.
River Hill All-Metro guard-forward Tommy Brenton - Howard's Player of the Year - tops the list of seniors that also includes Atholton's Sam Permutt, Steve Lombardozzi and Torey Fassett; Reservoir's Kyle Servance; and Oakland Mills' David Pearman.
Game time is set for 8:30 p.m. at Steelton Highspire High School.