Prep sports give us something to talk about

November 08, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

As staff reporters, we receive our weekly assignments several days ahead of time.

In some cases, the advance notice gives us time to mentally prepare for what we are going to report on any given day or night.

My Friday assignment was to travel to Clear Spring for the Blazers' football game against Smithsburg. Frankly, not the crme de la crme of all football games on the schedule, but the show must go on, not only for the players, but the reporters, also.

Saturday afternoon, instead of being in my apartment chomping on popcorn and cheering my Fighting Irish as they played Tennessee, I was covering the St. James-St. John's at Prospect Hall contest at St. James. More on that affair in a minute.


Those who follow prep football knew going in that Smithsburg would handily beat Clear Spring. There was no surprise with the final score - Smithsburg, 54-0.

However, there were some impressions of the Blazers that I left with that must be mentioned.

After you get your head banged in so many times, it would be to the surprise of no one if there was a "let's quit" attitude.

Maybe it was the one victory ear over Westmar, that has kept the young men on the Clear Spring football team enthused about playing the game.

Maybe it is the willingness of coaches to teach, players to learn, a program below the high-school level to be developed or another unseen aspect.

I expected a lack of determination from Clear Spring on Friday. Pleasantly so, after the beginning of the contest, I was seeing things differently.

Coach John Wilson had a group of players fired up, rarin' to go, and their efforts were rewarded early as the Blazers held tough with Smithsburg for a short while before the Leopards eventually scored late in the first period. Still, the Blazers kept on battling even though they were KO'd by four second-period Leopards touchdowns.

Even the Clear Spring band performed abmirably at halftime, and the team public-address announcer certainly lacked no enthusiasm to the very end.

Some day, if the program manages to last, the pains of today could well turn into the joys of tomorrow - as long as the enthusiasm is there.

Saturday's approach was different, knowing it was going to be a pretty good game between St. James and SJPH - two schools that undoubtedly are in the process of forging a rivalry.

Those at the game would possibly criticze the game officials for possibly letting the game get out of hand - resulting in three ejections, lots of talking on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and one moment when the referee summoned team captains for a brief meeting to issue warnings for continued problems on the field.

It was an afternoon of great scholastic football that had great individual efforts. Later that afternoon upon returning to the office, I made the comment that "it was one of the best games I've seen lately, certainly the hardest hitting."

In the end, it was St. James by a point, 21-20.

Just goes to show, no matter if a game is won by 54 points or one point, there's always something worth talking about coming out of high school sports.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for the Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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