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Old friends become new enemies

October 09, 2000

Old friends become new enemies



By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer


On their way to a state championship at Brunswick High School 10 years ago, Kevin Conley and Jack Bentley were comic relief -not to mention pretty good players - for the Railroaders' boys soccer team.

"If we weren't best friends back then, we would have been worst enemies," said Conley, the first-year coach at Walkersville. "We just did whatever we could to step our games up."

Tonight in Thurmont, Md. the two will be nothing but business for a couple of hours.

Conley and Bentley, in his first season with the Catoctin varsity, have been friends forever, but are forced to be enemies while their two teams battle it out in a key Monocacy Valley Athletic League matchup.

"It's just another game, pretty much," Bentley said. "Both our records are around .500, so it's just another game. The winner may have a little bragging rights for next year."

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That, and a few other free gifts.

"Oh, we've definitely talked about it," Conley said with a laugh. "Let's just say someone may be buying some drinks after this one."

After popping the championship corks in 1990, the two friends played soccer and roomed together for four years at Frostburg State, then came back to southern Frederick County to co-coach Brunswick's JV team under Alan Lescaleet, who had coached the two to their title. Lescaleet is now Conley's assistant at Walkersville.

"We've kidded that he has to coach for (Bentley) for one half and me for one half," Conley said. "Either that or set him up at the center line."

The two parted ways from there. Bentley took over the JV program at Catoctin and Conley got out of prep soccer for awhile before resurfacing last year as the JV coach at Urbana. Openings at the two MVAL schools came up last fall, and the two friends got their new positions at that point.

"(Staying together) was the intent," Conley said. "But that didn't work out. Now this is where we are."

Where they are is in the thick of the area soccer elite. Walkersville won its first-ever Frederick County title over the weekend.

"Now, if people beat us, it's beating the county champs," Conley said. "But we're looking forward to this. They've got a little more going in the conference."

Catoctin, meanwhile, could set up a title-deciding game with currently undefeated North Hagerstown in the season finale if it can run the rest of the table.

"If we can win this, most of the other teams we have left are .500 teams," Bentley said. "This will be the hardest game so far for us this season."

Little doubt that it will be the hardest game for the two coaches as well. Or maybe they'll just remain the class clowns.

"I don't think it will be too much," Bentley said. "Probably just 'Good luck,' get the game over with and go out afterwards and have a beer."

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