As the Maryland players prepare to play against Pennsylvania in Saturday's Big 33 Football Classic at Hersheypark Stadium, they're practicing with a new head coach.
Gilman's Biff Poggi stepped down last week as Maryland's coach in the high school football all-star game, and Quince Orchard's Dave Mencarini replaced him in the role.
"Dave Mencarini was involved with the whole coaching staff from the beginning, so we made him the head coach," Maryland team director Scott Ripley said in a phone call Wednesday. "He stepped in as our head coach, and he's doing a phenomenal job up there."
Mencarini, who was originally an assistant coach for the Big 33 team, announced the move on Twitter on June 3.
"Unfortunate circumstances, but honored to be named the head coach of the Maryland Big 33 Team," he wrote on Twitter.
Five changes to the team's roster also were announced Wednesday.
Three Gilman defensive standouts -- lineman Henry Poggi, and linebackers Micah Kiser and Miles Norris -- won't play in the game. Neither will Severna Park's Mike Minter and Potomac's Marcus Pickens, according to a news release from the Big 33 Scholarship Foundation, Inc.
Poggi and Kiser were selected as co-All-Metro Defensive Players of the Year last fall after leading the Greyhounds to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship, while Norris made the All-Metro first team.
The five replacements for Maryland are Meade defensive lineman Malik Dorsey, Westminster linebacker Dan Johnson, St. Mary's linebacker Ben Hummer, Henry Wise linebacker D'Angelo Niler and Damascus defensive lineman Rashard Budd.
Dorsey, an All-Metro first-team selection last fall, is commited to Maine. Johnson, who will play at Johns Hopkins in the fall, also made the All-Metro first team as a senior.
"Coach [Mencarini] said we're not going to worry about who's not here, we're going to roll with who we have," said Johnson, who said he was notified last Friday that he would serve as one of the team's replacements.
The changes come just days before Maryland returns to the Big 33 Classic for the first time since 1992. The team has been practicing in Pennsylvania since Monday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Biff Poggi and Mencarini were unable to be reached for comment.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun