Bits & Pieces: Howard County high school football season takes exciting turn

I have seen this happen more times than I can remember. A team pulls off a stunning upset one weekend then loses the following week. Let's see what happens to the Hammond Golden Bears following their upset of previously undefeated River Hill this past weekend. The Hawks had won 30 games in a row before losing to a tough Hammond team in a wild shootout, 47-38. Hammond now hosts a very good Howard team this weekend in a game that should fill the stadium.

Hammond, under first-year coach Justin Carey, is looking to qualify for the playoffs in a very competitive 2A South region. Hammond's teams traditionally do not back away from a challenge, though they can't afford to allow 40 points against Howard.

What happens now to River Hill? Prior to that Hammond game, the Hawks had given up just 24 points on defense in six games. Good teams rebound from stunning defeats and I expect a Brian Van Deusen team to do just that against Oakland Mills.

Community Sports Hall of Fame

Those of us who attended the seventh annual Community Sports Hall of Fame banquet at Turf Valley on Tuesday evening were treated to a very fine speech by guest speaker Joe Wootten. Wootten, the basketball coach and athletic director at Bishop O'Connell High School and son of Morgan Wootten, talked about coaching and the influence that coaches have had on his life. Wootten's emphasis was not on the number of wins a coach may pile up, but the life lessons that a coach can impart to young athletes. One comment that coach Wootten made that will remain with me is: "If you look for the best in others, you will find the best in you."

Both Morgan and Joe are holding a free basketball clinic at Howard High School on Nov. 9 from 2-4 p.m. I have attended a previous clinic of theirs and I would say that if your son, daughter or anyone else wants to learn basketball, they should attend this free clinic. The 82-year-old Morgan posted a 1,274-192 record as the head coach at DeMatha Catholic, and was honored by the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden with the following words: "I know of no finer coach at any level: high school, college or pro. I stand in awe of him."

Joe has won five Virginia state titles and has averaged 26 wins per year in his 10 years as head coach.

Put golf in perspective

Stop complaining about the quality of the greens on your golf course. I use the golf rules in Britain in 1940, forwarded to us by Martha Waugh, as a lesson. German aircraft from Norway on missions to northern England would clear their weapons by firing a few rounds at the British golf courses.Those resourceful Brits asked golfers to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to prevent them from causing damage to the mowing machines. In addition, competition players were allowed to take cover without penalty during gunfire or while bombs were dropping. A ball moved by enemy action could be replaced if lost or destroyed. And finally, a player whose stroke was affected by the explosion of a bomb could play another ball from the same place, with a penalty stroke added. Now you can see why Hitler could never beat the British.

NCAA Night

On Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., the Howard County Office of Student Services is sponsoring a countywide NCAA Night at Long Reach High School. This is an important event for any parent and child who intends to play a sport in college. Here you can get some expert advice from college administrators and former players on what to do and more importantly what not to do.

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