Prep notes - Playoff proposal not loved by all

October 04, 2002|by MARK KELLER

When the MPSSAA announced this week that its football committee had approved a plan to expand their sport's playoffs, the immediate reaction was, "Great! It's about time."

But almost as quickly, once the plan was looked at and studied, the reaction soured.

The proposal, which would divide football teams into six classifications instead of the current four classes, has drawn fire from football fans around the state who say the plan will water down the meaning of winning a state title.

Though approved by the football committee, the plan is not yet a go. The proposal must first be passed by the State Board of Control in December before being sent to local superintendents for their approval.


Fans on, a popular high school football Web site, are calling for the defeat of the proposal. Their alternative: Keep the four-class system, increase the number of teams that qualify per class from eight to 16 and add a week of playoffs.

The MPSSAA, however, is staunchly opposed to adding a week to the season.

Beginning summer practices one week early is out of the question because of per diem issues for coaches in some areas.

Adding a week to the end of the season pushes football deeper into the winter practice schedule and bumps it right against the starts of basketball and wrestling seasons.

Sheldon Shealer, a former Herald-Mail sports editor who co-founded and compiles the Maryland football rankings for The Associated Press, states on his Web site, "Since the current point system fails to recognize quality of competition and rewards only wins, we must expand the playoffs to include the quality teams that are currently being pushed aside by the subpar teams with impressive win-loss records."

Needless to say, the playoffs will be a hot topic of conversation until a vote is due on this proposal.

After that, the conversation will probably only become more heated.

Championships in Baltimore

Very few people are betting on seeing the Ravens fielding a championship team this season.

But Ravens Stadium will see its share of champions on Nov. 29-30 ... four of them, to be exact.

The MPSSAA has announced that this year's state championship games will be played at Ravens Stadium due to a scheduling conflict at University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.

The Terrapins play Wake Forest in their final home game of the season on Nov. 30, which forced the state to make the change.

The Ravens are on the road in Cincinnati that weekend.

MPSSAA executive director Ned Sparks said in the The (Baltimore) Sun he did not consider the move to Ravens Stadium "a stopgap measure." He said both the state and the Ravens would be interested in holding the games there in the future.

The championship games were last moved in 1994, when Byrd Stadium was undergoing renovations. Two games were played at Hagerstown's School Stadium that year, including the Smithsburg-Boonsboro Class 1A final.

Player of the Week

Keith Ricca, St. John's at Prospect Hall: The sophomore quarterback threw for 375 yards and six touchdowns as the Vikings beat Maryland School for the Deaf, 60-22.

Other top performances last week included:

Ryan Nesbitt, Catoctin: The senior running back ran for 85 yards and four TDs as the Cougars stayed in the top half of the MVAL standings by beating North Hagerstown 41-14 on Monday.

Cory Rhodes, Frederick: The sophomore quarterback rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-26 Central Maryland Conference loss to South Carroll on Monday.

Jordan Sterner, Hancock: The junior recorded 13 tackles and caught a 69-yard touchdown pass as the Panthers improved to 3-1 with a 30-0 win over Chincoteague, Va. Sterner is among the area leader in sacks.

Joey Yurish, Mercersburg Academy: The post-graduate quarterback threw for 389 yards and two touchdowns, but the Blue Storm lost to Lawrenceville, 41-28.

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