As I write this Thursday morning, I'm looking at a relatively blank schedule for the next 48 hours, which is strange because, normally, I would have a boatload of games to cover on Thursday night (boys soccer, golf, boys volleyball), then an equally hectic Friday night of hustling around getting half of Harford County's football scores. This week, however, I've got nothing tonight, the John Carroll football game tomorrow, and then, bam, Saturday hits and I'll be running all over the state to watch boys soccer and football playoff games. But, I signed up for this when I decided to become a journalist. No rest for the weary.
Here are some interesting numbers, dates and figures I've been rattling around for the past few days. Enjoy:
1990: That would be 22 seasons ago, and it is the last time the Havre de Grace Warriors, who are one of the two boys Harford County soccer teams left alive in the MPSSAA playoffs, made it to the state championship round. That year, the Warriors lost, 4-1, to Brunswick in the 1A finals. This year, Havre de Grace, which capped its second straight 1A North regional title on Tuesday with a win over Perryville, will square off with none other than Brunswick in the state semifinals on Saturday. The Warriors almost broke the two-decade state final drought last season, but were knocked out of the semifinals on penalty kicks by eventual champ Mountain Ridge. I don't think I'm going out on a limb saying that the Warriors would love to wash away that season-ending defeat with a victory on Saturday.
38 degrees Fahrenheit: That was the temperature displayed on my cell phone's weather and news application when I checked it during halftime of the aforementioned Tuesday night regional final between Havre de Grace and Perryville. I'm sure it's because we're just not attuned to those kinds of temperatures yet, but it felt a lot colder than that. As a former tough-guy soccer player, when I see current players wearing tights underneath their shorts, I usually say something very macho, like, "nice leg warmers, Nancy," but I don't blame any of the athletes who decided to warm their legs at Tuesday night's contest. I wish I had been wearing some tights underneath my jeans, and some thermal socks, and that I had a packet of hand warmers. After the game I said to another journalist, "this is like, end-of-the-football-season, Western Maryland cold," and he said, "yeah, this sucks. Let's get these interviews and get of here."
1994: That would be 18 seasons ago, and, prior to North Harford's Monday-night victory, 1-0, over Hereford in the 3A North boys soccer final, was the last time the Hawks had made it to the state semifinals. Unlike Havre de Grace, North Harford has never made it to the boys soccer title game, as the Hawks were bounced out of the semifinals in 1994, 1992 and 1985. If the Hawks want to make team history, they're going to have to get past Urbana in the semifinal round on Saturday, and from the looks of it that won't be easy as Urbana, the 3A West champ, is undefeated at 16-0-1. North Harford (15-1-1) has only been defeated once though, by eventual Chesapeake (upper) Division champ Bel Air, and the Hawks have proven their mettle in the playoffs, beating nine-time regional champ Hereford in the 3A North final.
I'm not going to make a prediction about the 3A state tournament, but it should be noted that not one 3A boys soccer champion has defended their title in the past seven seasons, so if the Hawks do make it past Urbana, they've got just as much a shot at bringing home the hardware as anyone.