Prep football notes - Sniper situation clouds playoffs

October 18, 2002|by MARK KELLER

The Washington area sniper attacks have made an impact on high school sports throughout the state of Maryland and the longer the situation remains unresolved, the cloudier the remainder of the fall sports season becomes.

Public schools in Montgomery and Prince George's have decided not to make up football games that were postponed last weekend because of the shootings. Outdoor activities in those school districts have been suspended indefinitely.

Some local schools have also been affected. Hancock's football game with Maret was postponed and likely will not be made up. St. John's at Prospect Hall had its game against Heritage (Va.) cancelled.


The cancellation of games in those counties puts the MPSSAA in a precarious position. State rules dictate that a team must play nine varsity games in order to qualify for postseason consideration.

With one game already gone and this weekend's games in the metro area doubtful at best, a contingency plan is needed for the football playoffs.

The state made exceptions last year when games were cancelled following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, allowing some teams into the playoffs despite only playing eight games.

Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the sniper situation and some fear that the fall season may already be lost.

According to Sheldon Shealer on his high school football Web site (, MPSSAA executive director Ned Sparks will have to make provisions if more games are lost because of the sniper attacks.

"We're going to do the best we can," Sparks said.

In the catbird seat

South Hagerstown isn't accustomed to seeing the world from the heights they've reached so far this season.

The Rebels have never finished higher than fourth since joining the Monocacy Valley Athletic League in 1989. They have not made the playoffs since the state tournament began in 1974.

South is now in position to put all of that history behing it. All alone at 5-0 atop the MVAL standings, all alone atop the Class 1A West ratings, the Rebels have a cause.

Since losing its season opener to Duval, South has won five straight - the Rebels' longest winning streak since a five-gamer in 1989-90.

With two wins in its final four games, South can lock up its best season since going 7-3 in 1990. Coach Greg Kellick said in the preseason that the Rebels made getting seven wins one of the their goals this year.

If they win out, the Rebels would tie a school record for most wins in a season with nine, last achieved by the 1962 team that went 9-0.

South is also one win from clinching its third straight winning season, a feat not achieved since South had four straight winning seasons from 1961-64.

Made to be broken

The records are not complete, but all indications are that by scoring at least 60 points each of the last five weeks, Martinsburg has done something that no other area team has ever done.

In fact, from 1990-2001, the 60-point plateau was only reached 16 times by local teams. Those who hit 60 in that time frame: Greencastle, Hedgesville and Middletown (three times each), Boonsboro and Thomas Johnson (twice each), Chambersburg, Jefferson and Martinsburg (once each).

The Bulldogs topped 70 once this season. That mark was only reached twice from 1990-2001, both times by Middletown.

St. John's at Prospect Hall is the only other area team to score at least 60 points this season.


Area's longest winning streaks (regular season games only): Martinsburg 9, South Hagerstown 5, Middletown 4, St. John's-PH 3.

Area's longest losing streaks (regular season games only): Williamsport 14, Mercersburg Academy 12, James Buchanan 6, Hedgesville 5, Jefferson 5.

Player of the Week

Brandon Barrett, Martinsburg: The junior receiver wins the honor for the second straight week, scoring four touchdowns, including three receiving to become the state's single-season record holder. He caught four passes for 129 yards.

Other top performances last week included:

  • Nate Sowers, Martinsburg: The sophomore quarterback threw four TD passes, ran for a 37-yard score and returned a punt 74 yards for another score..

  • Middletown defense: The Knights held North Hagerstown to 1 yard of offense and no first downs in a 45-0 win on Saturday

  • Brandon Caton, Musselman: The senior running back ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Applemen to their first win of the season, 45-33 over Jefferson.

  • Brandon Dykes, Brunswick: The senior running back ran for 127 yards and a touchdown and returned a kickoff for another score as Brunswick ended a two-game skid by beating Walkersville, 27-18.
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