Op-Ed

McManus: All quiet on the war front

The United States is fighting in at least four countries right now. So why aren't Obama and Romney talking about it?

Here's an important fact you haven't heard much about in the presidential campaign: The armed forces of the United States are at war in at least four countries, and that number could increase any day.

About 87,000 Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan, and some are likely to stay past 2014. We're at war in neighboring Pakistan too, mostly using unmanned drones but with a handful of people on the ground.

U.S. drone and special operations forces are also waging attacks in Yemen and Somalia, operations big enough that President Obama felt compelled to acknowledge them publicly last month in a letter to Congress.

PHOTOS: Obama makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan

In addition, theU.S. Navyis hunting pirates in the Indian Ocean and patrolling offIran'scoast in the Persian Gulf, and in both missions shots have been fired.

American troops are training and advising counter-terrorism forces in West Africa and the Philippines. More troops are on the ground in central Africa, helping local troops root out the brutal Lord's Resistance Army.

And those are just the missions we know about. U.S. special operations forces are engaged in "more than 100 countries worldwide," Adm. William H. McRaven of the Special Operations Command told the Senate last month. Most of those engagements don't involve actual combat, but because what McRaven's units do is secret, it's impossible to say exactly how many places U.S. forces are fighting in at any given time.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012

So why, when American troops are engaged in so many places, are the operations receiving so little public attention?

Some of the reasons for our national inattention are obvious. Americans, and the presidential candidates, are preoccupied with the travails of the domestic economy. And now that we have a professional, all-volunteer military, a narrower cross section of Americans has a family member in the armed forces.

But another reason we're hearing so little about U.S. combat operations is that we have two presidential candidates who don't seem all that comfortable with their own positions on war and peace.

In 2008, Obama could run as an antiwar candidate, but that's hard to do as commander in chief of a military engaged in combat — and one who dramatically increased drone strikes. The president has made a commitment to keep troops in Afghanistan through 2014, and he plans to keep advisors and trainers there even longer. But he has never seemed all that enthusiastic about putting American lives and money into defending Hamid Karzai's regime.

Moreover, he knows the Democratic voters he's relying on for reelection grew sick of the war long ago. A nationwide poll released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs this week found that 67% of Americans think the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, and that number rises to 79% among Democrats. It's no wonder the president doesn't talk about it much, beyond noting that he's set a date for pulling out most of the troops.

Mitt Romney has an equally thorny dilemma. Unlike Democrats, Republicans are deeply divided over the war. The Chicago Council poll found that although 58% of Republicans say the war isn't worth fighting, 41% still think it's worthwhile.

That means that Romney has to tread lightly. As much as he'd like to criticize the president's handling of the war, finding the right grounds to do so has proved tricky. He criticized Obama's 2014 deadline for a troop drawdown, only to later call it "the right timetable." He has expressed support for the war effort in Afghanistan while at the same time saying that "we've learned that our troops shouldn't go off and try and fight a war of independence for another nation."

But with U.S. citizens engaged in seven or more conflicts around the world, don't both candidates owe us some plain talk about their plans? How many troops would they keep in Afghanistan after 2014, and how long would they keep them there? How would they deal with Pakistan, our most troublesome "frenemy"? If sanctions don't cause Iran to abandon its work on building a nuclear weapon, would they support military action there? And what about Syria?

Later this month, Romney plans to head to London (to remind voters that he once ran the Winter Olympics), Israel (to remind pro-Israel voters that Obama hasn't been there since taking office) and Poland (to remind hawks that he favors more spending on missile defense).

While he's abroad, he should seize the opportunity to talk more about America's many armed conflicts and how he would handle them. And he should challenge Obama to explain his thoughts on military engagement too.

Judging from the current state of the campaign, both candidates seem as if they could use a change of subject. And so could we.

doyle.mcmanus@latimes.com

Varsity Letters tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2012:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150 2011-11-08T20:30:42Z Baltimore high school sports schedules, news and scores Movable Type 3.36 Varsity Letters is switching addresses tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309967 2011-11-08T20:21:12Z 2011-11-08T20:30:42Z Varsity Letters is on the move to a new address, so be sure to update your bookmarks. The new home of our high school blog is: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/high-school/varsity-letters. The new Varsity Letters has a snazzier look, but our aim is still... David Selig http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/high-school/varsity-letters. The new Varsity Letters has a snazzier look, but our aim is still to give you the most up-to-date news and analysis on all of the local high school sports. Come and visit us on the new page.]]> Gilman's Ryan Ripken commits to South Carolina tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309907 2011-11-08T00:02:50Z 2011-11-08T00:32:21Z Ryan Ripken, a senior at Gilman and the son of Orioles Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken, has committed to South Carolina to play baseball. Ripken, 6 feet 6, is one of four Greyhounds who will sign letters of... Sandra McKee Ryan Ripken, a senior at Gilman and the son of Orioles Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken, has committed to South Carolina to play baseball. Ripken, 6 feet 6, is one of four Greyhounds who will sign letters of intent Monday at a special ceremony at the Gilman Athletic Center. “He’s been terrific for us and it’s a wonderful opportunity for him and I’m sure he’ll make the most of it,” said Gilman coach Larry Sheets. “He had a few choice, quality schools who pursued him. Who wouldn’t want to go to school of the caliber of South Carolina?” Ripken plays first base and pitches. He is a three-year starter who batted .353 as a junior. According to South Carolina fan site The Big Spur, Ripken chose the Gamecocks over Coastal Carolina, Maryland and Wake Forest. “It’s great news for Ryan,” said Gilman athletic director Tim Holley, who coached Ripken his freshman year before hiring Sheets. “He’s a solid Division I baseball player, who may go beyond that. South Carolina is a great place for him. They’ll benefit from his presence and he’s a hard worker who is going to get bigger and stronger. His physical maturity is still developing and I think his best years are ahead of him. “I think he’s going to be a much more imposing athlete at 21 and 22.” Also signing Monday from Gilman's baseball team are Brandon Casas (Maryland), Thomas O’Neill (Yale) and Seve Llanio (Delaware). Click here for photos of Ryan Ripken through the years.
Photo of Ryan and Cal Ripken courtesy of 2011 Under Armour All-American Game staff.]]>
Football: By The Numbers for Week 10 tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309825 2011-11-06T20:21:43Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z After a wild season-ending weekend that unexpectedly ended some seasons and extended others, the playoffs are set to begin next week. Here's a look at a few numbers that stand out from this weekend's action and the playoff fields: 1... Katherine Dunn 1 Outright Howard County championship for Atholton, which won this fall after sharing the title in 1976 and 1988 1 Team in the regional playoffs with a losing record – Havre de Grace at 4-6 in Class 1A East 1 Yard sneak by Archbishop Spalding quarterback Brian Louck to beat Loyola, 20-16 in overtime, and propel the Cavaliers into the playoffs in their first year in the MIAA A Conference 2 MIAA B Conference playoff berths decided on the last night of the regular season – Boys’ Latin with a win over St. Paul’s and John Carroll with a win over Archbishop Curley 2 Touchdowns for Poly in the final 2:23 of the 22-16 win over City 2 Undefeated teams in the Class 4A North region -- Poly and Catonsville 3 Defending state champions to miss out on this year’s playoffs – Urbana, McDonough and Wilde Lake – with only Dunbar left with a chance to repeat 3 Way tie for the UCBAC Chesapeake Division championship – Aberdeen, Fallston and North Harford 3 Fourth-quarter touchdowns for St. Mary’s in a 26-20 comeback win over Severn 3 Straight wins for Gilman over McDonogh 4 Straight wins for Poly over City 4 Baltimore area teams finishing the regular season undefeated – Old Mill, Poly, Catonsville and Overlea 4 Teams with one loss each in the Class 2A East regional playoffs – Fallston, Patterson Mill, Kent Island and Wicomico 4 Hammond turnovers – three leading to touchdowns – in Howard’s 39-6 win to clinch a playoff berth 7 Straight shutouts for Northwestern, which allowed its first points of the season this week and fell one shutout shy of the state record 8 Years since Chesapeake-AA posted a non-losing season until finishing 5-5 with a 25-0 win over North County 8 Teams remaining undefeated heading into the state playoffs – Old Mill, Poly, Catonsville, Overlea, Quince Orchard, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fort Hill and Perryville]]> 9 Seconds left when Poly quarterback Darrell Milburn hit Priestly Shuler with a 1-yard touchdown pass to beat City 11 Seconds for Gilman to erase McDonogh’s only lead of the game when Cyrus Jones ran Gilman’s first play from scrimmage 63 yards for a touchdown en route to a 31-21 win 14 Straight wins for Overlea – the area’s longest active winning streak 15 Touchdowns this season for Dulaney’s DJ Foster – tying a school record 15 Yards of offense allowed by New Town to Owings Mills in a 36-6 victory 22 Of 43 Hammond plays going for two yards or less, including 11 for negative yardage, in the loss to Howard 22 Active players left on Century’s roster in a 26-20 win over Liberty 36 Touchdowns this season by Old Mill’s Rob Chesson 340 Yards on 21 carries for Glen Burnie’s Brandon Walker, who scored five touchdowns, in a 32-24 win over Annapolis 446 Yards of offense for City compared to 338 for Poly, which gained 195 yards in the fourth quarter to rally to win 10,683 Fans at M&T Bank Stadium Saturday to see the City-Poly game ]]> Football: How the Top 15 fared tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309817 2011-11-06T16:20:29Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z The high school football regular season is over and it's on to the playoffs next weekend. Following is a look at how The Baltimore Sun's ranked teams fared this week and whom they play in the first round of the... Katherine Dunn The high school football regular season is over and it's on to the playoffs next weekend. Following is a look at how The Baltimore Sun's ranked teams fared this week and whom they play in the first round of the playoffs. Look for the new rankings in Tuesday's paper. Ranking/Team/Record/Latest result/Next opponent/ 1. Gilman/8-1/Def. McDonogh 31-21/Vs. Archbishop Spalding, Fri 2. Calvert Hall/8-1/Def. Mount St. Joseph 26-7/Vs. McDonogh, Fri. 3. Old Mill/10-0/Def. South River 54-20/Vs. South River, Fri. 4. Atholton/9-1/Def. Centennial 48-0/Vs. Stephen Decatur, Fri. 5. Poly/10-0/Def. City 22-16/Vs. Perry Hall, Fri. 6. Arundel/9-1/Def. Southern 58-13/Vs. North Point, Fri. 7. Dunbar/8-2/Def. Patterson 32-0/Vs. Southside at Poly, Fri. 8. McDonogh/6-4/Lost to Gilman 31-21/At Calvert Hall, Fri. 9. Archbishop Spalding/7-3/Def. Loyola 20-14 OT/At Gilman Fri. 10. Catonsville/10-0/Def. Parkville 28-16/Vs. Paint Branch, Fri. 11. Perry Hall/8-2/Lost to Hereford 34-31 OT/At Poly, Fri. 12. Westminster/8-2/Def. South Carroll 39-6/Season over. 13. Fallston/9-1/Lost to Aberdeen 21-14/At Wicomico, Fri. 14. River Hill/8-2/Def. Mount Hebron 42-0/Vs. Howard Fri. 15. Archbishop Curley/7-3/Lost to John Carroll 23-12/Vs. Boys’ Latin State football regional semifinals set tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309815 2011-11-06T15:50:44Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z The regional football playoffs kick off next weekend, and MPSSAA officials announced the schedule this morning. Here are the matchups involving Baltimore-area teams: Class 4A North 4 Perry Hall at 1 Poly, Friday, 7 3 Paint Branch at 2 Catonsville,... Katherine Dunn MPSSAA website.]]> Statewide high school football scores from Saturday tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309810 2011-11-06T02:37:29Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z Poly's Jamal Chappell and the team mascot celebrate the Engineers' 22-16 victory over rival City in their 123rd meeting Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun) For more photos, click here. Bowie 28, Northwestern-PG 21 C.H. Flowers 33,... David Selig Poly's Jamal Chappell and the team mascot celebrate the Engineers' 22-16 victory over rival City in their 123rd meeting Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun) For more photos, click here. Bowie 28, Northwestern-PG 21 C.H. Flowers 33, Laurel 6 Catonsville 28, Parkville 16 Chesapeake-B 40, Randallstown 6 DeMatha 21, Bishop McNamara 8 Dulaney 49, Loch Raven 14 DuVal 10, Parkdale 6 Eleanor Roosevelt 27, Suitland 20 Forestville 37, Fairmont Heights 6 Fort Hill 50, Allegany 7 Georgetown Prep 28, Landon 7 Gilman 31, McDonogh 21]]> New Town 36, Owings Mills 6 Poly 22, City 16 Pope John Paul the Great, Va. 53, St. James 0 Potomac 47, Central 0 Severna Park 42, Northeast 28 South Hagerstown 40, North Hagerstown 7 Thomas Johnson 48, Frederick 12 Towson 58, Kenwood 36 Tuscarora 56, Oakdale 12]]> Friday's roundup: Northwestern allows first points of the season in win tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309791 2011-11-05T03:29:02Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z Calvert Halls Delando Johson retrieves a fumble by Mount St. Joseph quarterback Luke Casey in the second quarter of the Cardinals' 26-7 win Friday night. (Brendan Cavanaugh/Patuxent Publishing) From Sun Staff Reports FOOTBALL Northwestern beat host Reginald F. Lewis,... David Selig Calvert Halls Delando Johson retrieves a fumble by Mount St. Joseph quarterback Luke Casey in the second quarter of the Cardinals' 26-7 win Friday night. (Brendan Cavanaugh/Patuxent Publishing) From Sun Staff Reports FOOTBALL Northwestern beat host Reginald F. Lewis, 20-6, and clinched the Baltimore City Division II football title. But Friday's victory was bittersweet, as the Wildcats were 20 minutes away from tying a state record when the defense did something it hadn't done all year — give up a touchdown. With eight minutes left in the third quarter and Northwestern leading 8-0, Lewis' Tayvon Queen completed a pass to Earl McNair for a 13-yard touchdown, ending the shutout bid and Northwestern's chance at the record set by Henry A. Wise from Prince George's County in 2009. The Wildcats (8-1, with the loss coming by forfeit) had shut out their previous seven opponents. The Falcons fell to 7-2. No. 2 Calvert Hall 26, Mount St. Joseph 7: The Cardinals locked up the second seed in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs with a workmanlike victory over the visiting Gaels at Paul Angelo Russo Stadium in Towson. The Cardinals (8-1, 4-1) will host No. 8 McDonogh on Friday night in a conference semifinal. The winner of that game will advance to the championship at Towson University on Nov. 18. Calvert Hall struck first on its opening drive, covering 65 yards in four plays finished on a 10-yard sweep by senior running back Brandon Neverdon before junior Stephen Kelly scored on a 27-yard pass from quarterback Thomas Stuart for a 13-0 advantage. The Gaels (3-6, 2-4) scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Jangro to Samuel Benjamin. Calvert Hall added scores on a 2-yard touchdown run by Garrett Flannery and a 35-yard pass from Stuart to Trevor Williams. No. 7 Dunbar 32, Patterson 0: William Crest threw three touchdown passes and scored on a 1-yard run as the Poets (8-2) rolled over the visiting Clippers. ]]> Boys' Latin 6, St. Paul's 0: Brandon Cherry carried 39 times for 219 yards as the host Lakers (4-6) topped the Crusaders. Quarterback Andrew Roswell scored the only touchdown on 2-yard draw with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter. Aberdeen 21, No. 13 Fallston 14: Kenny Faulcon scored on 35-yard run and had a 60-yard touchdown pass to Chavez Cheatham as the visiting Eagles (8-2) upset the Cougars (9-1). No. 4 Atholton 48, Centennial 0: The Raiders (9-1) shut out the Eagles (1-9) to clinch their first ever outright Howard County title. Atholton shared the county title in 1988 and 1976. Howard 39, Hammond 6: The host Lions (7-3) clinched the third seed in Class 3A East by defeating the Bears (6-4). Stephen Decatur defeated Snow Hill to claim the fourth and final playoff spot, eliminating Hammond, which won its first playoff game last year. Hammond turned the ball over four times, with three of the giveaways leading to touchdowns, including a 20-yard interception return by Andrew Young. The Lions also scored on an 81-yard run by Joey Bonavitacola and a 51-yard pass from Ryan Wade to Evan Jackson. Hammond's Devon Paye averted the shutout with a 60-yard touchdown run with 15 seconds remaining. Last year, Hammond won at Howard on the final day of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth and a share of its first Howard County title, knocking Howard out of playoff contention. BOYS SOCCER Class 4A East semifinal: No. 14 Severna Park (11-1-2) got a goal from Alex Moore and held off the visitors from Broadneck (10-5-1). The Falcons won, 1-0. John Nefeth had two saves for the winners. Class 2A North semifinal: Brad Martinelli had a goal and two assists to power host No. 9 Marriotts Ridge (11-3-1) past Owings Mills, 5-0. GIRLS VOLLEYBALL Class 2A East first round: No. 6 Fallston (15-2) got off to a fast start behind Rachael Holehouse's 10 kills and four aces and Abby Claborn's 20 assists and won in straight sets over Harford Tech. The Cougars won, 25-8, 25-5, 25-4 and advance to Monday's quarterfinal against visiting Rising Sun at 5 p.m. ]]> Statewide high school football scores from Friday tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309788 2011-11-05T01:43:00Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z Westminster's Dan Johnson runs for one of the four touchdowns he scored in a 39-6 win at South Carroll Friday night. (Patrick Smith/Special to The Baltimore Sun) Aberdeen 21, Fallston 14 Annapolis Area Christian 40, Pallotti 0 Arundel 58,... David Selig Westminster's Dan Johnson runs for one of the four touchdowns he scored in a 39-6 win at South Carroll Friday night. (Patrick Smith/Special to The Baltimore Sun) Aberdeen 21, Fallston 14 Annapolis Area Christian 40, Pallotti 0 Arundel 58, Southern-AA 13 Atholton 48, Centennial 0 Bel Air 21, C. Milton Wright 14 Bethesda 28, Walter Johnson 14 Bishop Ireton, Va. 48, St. Mary's Ryken 0 Bishop Walsh 57, Randolph-Macon, Va. 47 Boonsboro 34, Smithsburg 13 Boys' Latin 6, St. Paul's 0 Broadneck 31, Meade 24 Brunswick 50, Catoctin 22 Bullis 42, Episcopal, Va. 7 Calvert Hall 26, Mount St. Joseph 7 Cambridge/SD 52, Easton 0 Carver 14, Southwestern 8 Century 26, Liberty 20 Chesapeake-AA 25, North County 0]]> Crossland 26, Largo 8 Damascus 35, Northwood 6 Digital Harbor 6, Edmondson 0 Douglass-B 6, Mervo 0 Du Bois 2, Masonville Cove 0 Dunbar 32, Patterson 0 Dundalk 55, Patapsco 6 Eastern Tech 21, Milford Mill 14 Edgewood 38. Bo Manor 14 Franklin 32, Woodlawn 18 Frederick Douglass--PG 38, Friendly 0 Gaithersburg 40, Wootton 14 Glen Burnie 32, Annapolis 24 Glenelg 40, Marriotts Ridge 7 Good Counsel 35, Archbishop Carroll (DC) 0 Great Mills 36, Northeast - AA 28 Hereford 34, Perry Hall 31 OT Howard 39, Hammond 6 Hubie Blake 20, Albert Einstein 14 Huntingtown 48, Thomas Stone 0 John F. Kennedy 20, Montgomery Blair 13 John Carroll 23, Curley 12 La Plata 20, Chopticon 12 Lackey 43, Wheaton 0 Lake Clifton 12, Forest Park 6 Long Reach 42, Oakland Mills 7 Maritime Academy 14, Bluford Drew Jemison 12 McDonough 26, Calvert 3 Middletown 32, Walkersville 25 Mountain Ridge 45, Keyser, W.Va. 0 North Caroline 32, Col. Richardson 6 North Carroll 49, Manchester Valley 21 North Harford 28, Joppatowne 16 North Point 27, Westlake 15 Northern-G 36, Southern-G 6 Northwestern-B 20, Lewis 6 Old Mill 54, South River 20 Overlea 34, Havre de Grace 0 Oxon Hill 35, High Point 0 Paint Branch 36, Whitman 8 Patterson Mill 35, Rising Sun 20 Patuxent 50, Leonardtown 6 Perryville 66, Harford Tech 33 Poolesville 21, Rockville 14 Queen Annes County 31, Kent Island 21 Quince Orchard 48, Magruder 0 Reservoir 14, Wilde Lake 8 River Hill 42, Mt. Hebron 0 Seneca Valley 10, Watkins Mill 7 Southside 20, National Academy 8 Spalding 20, Loyola 14, OT Sparrows Point 41, Lansdowne 3 Springbrook 20, Clarksburg 13 St. John's Catholic Prep 58, Mt. Carmel 26 Stephen Decatur 56, Snow Hill 20 Western Tech 20, Pikesville 17 Westminster 39, South Carroll 6 Williamsport 13, Clear Spring 6 Winston Churchill 14, Sherwood 9 Winters Mill 38, F.S. Key 8 4 NBA players will compete in exhibition Monday at St. Frances tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309785 2011-11-05T00:33:53Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z Fittingly, Under Armour is kicking off its “Are You From Here?” Tour here in Baltimore Monday. To promote its basketball brand, the company is having four of its sponsored NBA players compete in an exhibition against host St. Frances... David Selig Fittingly, Under Armour is kicking off its “Are You From Here?” Tour here in Baltimore Monday. To promote its basketball brand, the company is having four of its sponsored NBA players compete in an exhibition against host St. Frances that's free and open to the public. Former Terp Greivis Vasquez (Memphis) will be joined by Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee) and rookies Derrick Williams (Minnesota) and Kemba Walker (Charlotte) in the game, which is scheduled to tip off at 3:30. Afterwards, the players are scheduled to visit Foot Locker in the Mondawmin Mall to interact with fans, sign autographs, and participate in a Q&A session. For more information on the event, visit facebook.com/uabasketball.]]> Ravens' Rice and Suggs react to the Perry Hall soccer situation tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309747 2011-11-04T19:00:41Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z We'll have more on Perry Hall's decision to revive its boys soccer season as the day goes on. But here's a look at how Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Ray Rice reacted when asked about the story today... David Selig Perry Hall's decision to revive its boys soccer season as the day goes on. But here's a look at how Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Ray Rice reacted when asked about the story today by reporter Edward Lee at the team's facility in Owings Mills. (The Perry Hall players were initially punished for imitating the "Bernie" dance Suggs and Rice are known for doing.) Suggs on his reaction to the controversy: “You’ve got to remember that these are young adults that have achieved the highest level they could achieve at that age level, and I think the punishment was too harsh. Whatever I could do, I definitely want to help because I was just flattered that they did that.” Suggs on if he thinks the dance is lewd or inappropriate: “I did the dance on Monday Night Football, but I didn’t tweet or say, ‘Everybody should do this.’ It was fun. I saw the dance online, and I thought, ‘That’s cool. I’m going to do that after I get a sack.’ Maybe the kids saw me and did it. I don’t know if they did it after me or if they saw the same thing I did [online], but if they did do it after me, I’m flattered. I think it was way too harsh for them to get suspended because they were happy and did the dance.”]]> Rice on his reaction to the controversy: “I feel that the penalty was a little harsh. The dance is harmless. I just remember my high school days when we were winning. When we went to our state championship, I used to get in the middle and our high school coach would dance with us. It’s just all fun and celebration. The penalty was a little harsh, and I’m glad the kids got reinstated. You just don’t want to take that shine away from them. My brother just had his last high school football game, and for the kids, this is their moment. These kids have something to look up to. For some of these kids who are seniors, just imagine if this had been their last game because of a ruling that would have ruined their whole season because of a celebration. That could have been a kid’s last high school experience, and imagine him waking up and saying, ‘We were going to states, and we didn’t get a chance to go because we did the “Bernie” dance.’ It just wouldn’t end right. So I’m glad the kids got reinstated. The dance is harmless. It’s a fun celebration.” Rice on if he thinks the dance is lewd or inappropriate: “I don’t think it’s lewd. I don’t think it’s offensive in any way. I think parents can understand that the dance is harmless. It’s not promoting violence, it’s not doing anything offensive. It’s something that’s harmless.” ]]> Rematches to decide MIAA, IAAM soccer crowns tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309717 2011-11-04T14:13:17Z 2011-11-08T00:32:22Z Goalkeeper Matt Sanchez and McDonogh face Gilman again in Saturday's MIAA A Conference final. (Karl Merton Ferron /Baltimore Sun) Last year, Gilman got a first-half goal from forward Cotter Brown and leaned on goalie Andrew Harris (10 saves) to... Glenn Graham Goalkeeper Matt Sanchez and McDonogh face Gilman again in Saturday's MIAA A Conference final. (Karl Merton Ferron /Baltimore Sun) Last year, Gilman got a first-half goal from forward Cotter Brown and leaned on goalie Andrew Harris (10 saves) to come away with a thrilling 1-0 win over McDonogh to capture the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship. In the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title game, McDonogh needed overtime -- getting a goal from Casey Martinez -- to earn a 2-1 win over Archbishop Spalding that ended the Cavaliers' run of two straight crowns. This year, the playoffs stayed true to form, with the top two seeds in both leagues getting through to the championship games. Here's a look at how the two title games stack up.]]> MIAA A championship game No. 1 McDonogh (17-2-1) vs. No. 2 Gilman (18-3-1) When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Where: Archbishop Spalding Outlook: The two teams have contrasting styles. The defending champion Greyhounds, seeded second, are blue collar all the way. They challenge themselves to win every 50-50 ball, lean on an incredibly staunch defense led by All-Metro Player of the Year Harris and have proven to be opportunistic on offense, with Brown and Tanner Vosvick creating most of the chances. The top-seeded Eagles like to play with finesse and can piece together creative scoring opportunities with Mike Gamble and Malcolm Harris able to score at any given moment. It's just been much more difficult for the Eagles to score against Gilman. The teams played to an overtime tie at McDonogh on Sept. 12 before the Eagles were finally able to break through for a 1-0 overtime win at Gilman on Oct. 17. Expect another tightly marked game in Saturday's final with no margin of error afforded to either team and the game's first goal crucial. The best-case scenario for McDonogh would be a first-half goal to ease the pressure and force the Greyhounds to open up and need to push forward. No team protects a lead better than the Greyhounds, so an early goal from them would enable them to bunker down and have the Eagles thinking about last year's frustrating result. IAAM A Conference championship game No. 1 McDonogh (17-3) vs. No. 4 Archbishop Spalding (14-5-1) When: Sunday, 11 a.m. Where: Gerstell Academy Outlook: McDonogh has decisively been the class of the conference this season -- going 8-0 in league play during the regular season and outscoring its opponents 35-1 in those eight games. Included was a 2-0 win at Spalding on Sept. 19, but the Cavaliers were able to hold their own at times. Led by All-Metro Player of the Year Ashley Spivey, a midfielder, and gifted forwards Taylor Cummings and Martinez, the Eagles have dynamic players who can piece together scoring chances or create on their own. How the Cavaliers' defense handles the pressure will play a big role in the outcome. Goalie Cassidy Babin and center back Sammie Kirk have been the glue to the Cavaliers' defense, which played stellar in Thursday's 2-0 semifinal win over No. 2 John Carroll. While the Eagles like to work the ball methodically from the back, look for the Cavaliers to try to go over the top or send long through balls to Mo Ostrowski and Margaret Quinn. The Cavaliers, who have reached the title game the past four years and have won three titles in the past six, play hard and determined.]]> Thursday's roundup: Garrison Forest advances to IAAM field hockey final tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309688 2011-11-04T03:07:37Z 2011-11-08T00:32:23Z Garrison Forest's Garland Mooney hits a ball past Spalding's Summer Liberto during the first half of Thursday's IAAM A Conference field hockey semifinal. The Grizzlies won 3-0. (Steve Ruark/Patuxent Publishing) By Sandra McKee The Baltimore Sun No. 3 Garrison... David Selig Garrison Forest's Garland Mooney hits a ball past Spalding's Summer Liberto during the first half of Thursday's IAAM A Conference field hockey semifinal. The Grizzlies won 3-0. (Steve Ruark/Patuxent Publishing) By Sandra McKee The Baltimore Sun No. 3 Garrison Forest had the upper hand midway through the first half of its Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference field hockey semifinal against Archbishop Spalding Thursday afternoon. And once Spalding lost its only goalie to injury, it was just a matter of time before the Grizzlies put the game away. With a 3-0 victory, Garrison (17-1-2) advances to Sunday’s final at Goucher College to face No. 14 McDonogh (13-4), which defeated No. 11 Notre Dame Prep, 1-0, in overtime. This will be Garrison Forest’s sixth straight trip to the A Conference final, which the Grizzlies won in 2007, 2008 and 2010.]]> GIRLS SOCCER No. 8 C. Milton Wright 4, No. 14 Bel Air 3: Megan Frailer scored twice and the Mustangs (13-4) scored three unanswered goals in the second half to pull away from the Bobcats (12-4-1) in Class 3A North regional semifinal. No. 11 Glenelg 3, Marriotts Ridge 2: Christina Kaminsky had a goal and an assist to power the host Gladiators (11-2-1) past the Mustangs (7-4-3) in Class 2A North regional semifinal. Glenelg led 3-0 at the half. No. 15 Bryn Mawr 3, Roland Park 1: Riley Barger scored twice and the host Mawrtians (13-5) are one game away from a 3-peat in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference. Bryn Mawr faces Severn, a 4-1 winner over Friends, in Sunday’s title game at Gerstell Academy. GIRLS VOLLEYBALL No. 3 Towson def. Franklin, 3-0: Hannah Glazer had six kills and five aces and Emily Lansinger had five kills to lead the host Generals (13-1) past the Indians in Class 3A North. Towson won, 25-4, 25-4, 25-16. No. 11 Reservoir def. Annapolis, 3-0: Rachael Smith served 30 points, including 15 aces to power the host Gators (112-4) past the Panthers in the opening round of Class 3A East. Reservoir travels to Stephen Decatur Monday at 5 p.m. Reservoir won, 25-8, 25-10, 25-10. CROSS COUNTRY Class 4A: Dulaney boys and girls swept the Class 4A Regional Championship. The Lions totaled 35 points and had four finishers in the the top 10 for boys. For the girls, Dulaney had 40 points and Isabel Griffith finished first at 19:14. Class 3A: Wilde Lake boys and River Hill girls took the top-spots at the Class 3A Regional Championship. The Wildcats placed three runners in the top ten, including a first-place finish by Timothy Virostek at 17:14. The Hawks placed two runners in the top ten, but Mount Hebron’s Rachael Yep took first with a time of 20:37. ]]> Updated results from the MIAA cross country championships tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309685 2011-11-03T23:18:59Z 2011-11-08T00:32:23Z There were some revisions to the scores from Wednesday's MIAA cross country championships. The same teams and individuals won, but some of the team scores and places were changed a little bit after a scoring error was rectified. Following are... David Selig A Conference Team scores (top 5): 1. Loyola, 38; 2. Gilman, 66; 3. John Carroll, 82; 4. Calvert Hall, 126; 5. McDonogh, 162. Individuals (top 10): 1. Corbusier (LOY), 15:52; 2. Meadows (GIL), 16:04; 3. Pickett (JC), 16:28; 4. Zunkeler (GIL), 16:30; 5. Ozarowski (CUR), 16:35; 6. Wegner (LOY), 16:38; 7. Terpos (LOY), 16:40; 8. Spear (LOY), 16:46; 9. Naylor (GIL), 16:52; 10. Hedlin (SPA), 16:56. B Conference Team scores (top 5): 1. St. Paul’s, 206; 2. Boys’ Latin, 290; 3. Glenelg Country, 342; 4. Severn, 359; 5. Friends, 398. Individuals (top 10): 1. Hamed (SP), 17:04; 2. Byrns (SEV), 17:43; 3. Greenwald (FR), 17:46; 4. Tribble (PAR), 17:46; 5. Noble (SEV), 17:46; 6. Mullally (BL), 17:47; 7. Moreland (SP), 17:50; 8. Pickens (GCS), 17:53; 9. Heilman (LUT), 18:03; 10. Peters (SP), 18:12. For the revised story, click here. ]]> Perry Hall boys soccer forfeits Class 4A North semifinal after allegations of taunting tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309664 2011-11-03T20:37:17Z 2011-11-08T00:32:23Z By Todd Karpovich Special to The Baltimore Sun Officials at Perry Hall have decided to forfeit their boys soccer team’s upcoming Class 4A North Region semifinal game following allegations of taunting after the Gators’ 2-1 win at Dulaney in Tuesday’s... David Selig By Todd Karpovich Special to The Baltimore Sun Officials at Perry Hall have decided to forfeit their boys soccer team’s upcoming Class 4A North Region semifinal game following allegations of taunting after the Gators’ 2-1 win at Dulaney in Tuesday’s quarterfinal. Several family members of Dulaney players sent emails to Perry Hall principal George Roberts complaining about the Gators’ celebration following their victory. One alleged the Perry Hall players made “lewd and suggestive movements that showed absolutely no respect or sportsmanship.” Players told coach Pete Eibner that they were imitating a dance called the “Bernie” performed by Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Ray Rice after big plays, but that they were not taunting anyone from Dulaney. Roberts said he spent more than eight hours Wednesday interviewing players and coaches and sorting through emails from people who were at the game to determine what happened during the celebration. After compiling all of the information, Roberts decided the best course of action was to terminate the rest of the season. “No educator likes to see kids that upset,” said Roberts, who noted that there was no video available of the incident. “Depending on whom you ask, the [players’] dance was either offensive or non-offensive. Based on the information I received, my concern was that they engaged in a celebratory dance at that time and in the manner that they did. Ray Rice might do that dance, but performs in front of 60,000 people. He is a pro athlete and is paid to play. These are high school athletes.”]]> The Gators were scheduled to play James Hubert Blake in the regional semifinals Friday. A forfeit would result in James Hubert Blake automatically advancing to the regional final. Parents and players from Perry Hall are trying to convince Roberts to reverse his decision before that. Dave Liberto, who has a son on the soccer team and works as a liaison between the Perry Hall boosters and the team, said there was no taunting and the players were simply celebrating the victory. He said the players did a similar dance after their first-round playoff victory over Sherwood. He said the Dulaney parents might have taken offense because the celebration was done on the Lions' side of the field. “It was merely a simple, celebratory ‘Bernie’ dance,” Liberto said Thursday. “For them to cancel the season on us is brutal. [Roberts] can reverse his decision today and they guys can start training tomorrow. It's a big deal. We're a solid squad, and these guys have done a lot of good things.” Liberto said some students held an impromptu protest outside the school Thursday morning. Dave Carder, a Dulaney fan who emailed Roberts to complain about Perry Hall's celebration, said that at the end of the match, the Perry Hall players gathered in the center of the field and jogged over toward the Lions' fans. He said he initially thought they were going to applaud the fans, which is a tradition among soccer teams, but they instead broke into the controversial celebration. "Several of them did a very noticeable pelvic thrust at the crowd and were pointing at their privates at the same time. It was 10 seconds," said Carder, who has a son on Dulaney's junior varsity team. "It was absolutely shocking. I was one of about a dozen Dulaney supporters who wrote an email to the principal. I spoke to him that night and I spoke to him the next morning. I wanted to register my disgust and my displeasure with him directly, because I'm involved in soccer. It was fine game. There was no particular animosity during the game. "I find myself having mixed emotions about it, but I think it's the right decision. You can assume there were some ring leaders and some kids who just went along because of peer pressure. I feel bad for the kids who had nothing to do with what it was." Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association, supported Roberts’ decision and he said it was Roberts’ prerogative to take any action he thought was necessary under the circumstances. “We have to remember this is education-based,” Sparks said. “This isn't the rec league or AAU. He took action he deemed needed to be taken. From a point of view of teaching good behavior, to the point of view of sportsmanship, to the point of view of setting the tone for what level of behavior is expected, he should be applauded. They are high school kids and they're held to a different standard.” Eibner said he did not see the incident following Tuesday’s game because he was talking to his own players and consoling two Dulaney players. “We have said all season long that we win with class, lose with dignity,” Eibner said. “I cannot say that the boys handled themselves with class, because they obviously did something that was interpreted by their parents as taunting. They are now having their dignity stripped from them, and our goal is to hold our heads high through it.” Dulaney coach Jerry Tana also said he did not see the dance by the Perry Hall players. However, he said Eibner has always been a role model for sportsmanship. “I know that Pete feels terrible, and I feel terrible,” Tana said. “They played a good game and won fair and square. However, in this day of society, with the emphasis being good sports, that kind of conduct cannot be tolerated. I’ve seen brawls break out among high school players for less than that. I do feel bad for Pete. He’s a good guy and a good coach. They have a good program. We have a lot of respect for their program and their school. We hope there’s a bigger lesson here than winning games that can be passed down to all Baltimore County high schools. I feel terrible their program is not going forward.” Perry Hall athletic director Robert Hruz and Dulaney athletic director Mike Lafferty could not be reached for comment. Northwestern football aiming to tie state shutout record tag:weblogs.baltimoresun.com,2011:/sports/highschool/varsityletters//150.309589 2011-11-02T23:33:43Z 2011-11-08T00:32:23Z Northwestern’s football team has been quietly rolling over its competition in Baltimore City’s Division II this fall. Not only have the Wildcats won seven straight games – they haven’t given up a single point all season. With one more shutout,... Katherine Dunn Northwestern’s football team has been quietly rolling over its competition in Baltimore City’s Division II this fall. Not only have the Wildcats won seven straight games – they haven’t given up a single point all season. With one more shutout, they would tie the state record of eight consecutive shutouts set by Henry A. Wise, from Prince George's County, in 2009. “I’ve been coaching going on 17 years at various schools,” said Wildcats coach Eric Woodson, “and this is a first at any level. I’ve won some titles, I’ve played on the college level and I have never seen this before. This is uncharted waters, but I take my hat off to my coaching staff and our preparation – and foremost to my players because without them, we wouldn’t be where we are now.” In addition to going for the state record when they host Reginald Lewis Friday at 3 p.m., the Wildcats will be going for the Division II championship. Because they play in Division II and don’t meet any ranked teams, the Wildcats haven’t garnered much attention for their season, but in addition to shutting everybody out, they score 31 points per game. “I can’t really give you the magic formula and say, ‘This is what makes it work,’” Woodson said. “Our kids just step up on both sides of the ball. Going through our first four or five games, guys got hurt and other guys came in off the bench and didn’t miss a beat. We have 39 guys on the roster and being a 1A school, that’s a lot.” The Wildcats are 7-1, because they had to forfeit their first league game after violating a roster rule in their season opener against Archbishop Carroll. Because both teams inadvertently made the same mistake, that game was declared no contest – as if it never existed – and the Wildcats were penalized with the forfeit. In addition to the efforts of his defensive coordinator Daniel Bond, Woodson credits his defensive starters – Alan Grant, William Gatling, Rashad Allen, Anthony Hackett, Lamont Marable, Darshawn Grove, Qaaree Palmer, Jamal Marshall, Martaz Griffin, Terence Johnson and Tobias Townes – as well as his reserves with buying 100 percent into the game plan and executing every week. “A good core of these kids are seniors, but it’s kind of a unique squad,” Woodson said. “My quarterback is a freshman. My center is a sophomore. We’ve got kids at the lower age bracket playing on the varsity level and doing pretty well. And we wouldn’t be doing anything without our line. We’ve been fortunate this year to have a decent-size line.” Woodson prepared the players with a strong off-season program and they went to several 7-on-7 tournaments over the summer. The Wildcats struggled in Division the last two years going 3-7 and 4-6. The year before that, they won the Division II title. After Friday’s game, the Wildcats will move on to the Class 2A North regional playoffs. Northwestern stands third in the region behind Overlea (9-0) and New Town (8-1) and just ahead of Lewis (7-1). Woodson is inspiring his team with the story of an inner city Chicago school a few years ago that was given no chance to do well in the playoffs but went on to win the state title. “If they can do it, we can do it,” Woodson said. “We love being the underdog.”
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