Carroll County Times
Carroll County High School Sports

Football advance: Mavs, Cavs heading for rainy title-like bout

When South Carroll coach Steve Luette moved to Maryland for college, he was surprised to learn that a few inches of rain could actually cancel a football game.

Back when he was growing up, you played through it. And you liked it.


On Friday, he'll be hoping for the same resolve out of his Cavaliers, who play what the coach is calling a Carroll County championship-type game against undefeated Manchester Valley.

Forecasts say they may not have a choice.


"The fact remains that, to us right now, we're playing a county championship because they're ahead of us," said Luette, whose South Carroll squad won the league last year. "We told our guys this isn't a fluke. We're going against a good team."

While Manchester Valley's Jake Gerber is the first Carroll quarterback to surpass the 1,000-yard mark this season, one of the biggest reasons for the Mavericks' success rests on the shoulders of Myers Smith. On offense, the senior is tied with teammate James Walsh for most receptions on the season with 18. And on defense, he's in sole possession of first place in the county with three interceptions.

An almost-certain muddy field may take the air out of the ball on both sides, so don't be surprised to see a heavy dose of Ethan Bare from Manchester Valley (4-0, 1-0 county) and Steven Baca from South Carroll (3-1, 1-0) on the ground.

The Cavaliers are fresh off a shutout win against crosstown rival Liberty, getting a big performance out of Jamar Williams in the process. The junior had three scores in the lopsided victory. Silas Kelly also notched his second interception of the season.

The winner of the matchup will claim at least a share of first place in the county, depending on how Century fares. The Mavericks are already having their best start to the season, sitting at 4-0 for the first time in school history.

Luette hopes his team will be ready for the conditions, which is why he had them outside in the rain for Thursday's practice.

"You have to play good hard football," he said. "Bad field position and a couple of fumbles in the wrong place can really turn the tide in a game like that."

The Knights (3-1, 1-0) will welcome Francis Scott Key (0-3, 0-1). A win will give them their best record since going undefeated in the regular season in 2008.


Coach Jim Holzman said the best part about the program's turnaround from last season has been the involvement from the community. A packed house in Eldersburg last week went a long way to the team's victory over North Carroll. This week, they'll take on the county's other program without a win so far this season.

Adam Lanni is the second-best passer in the county, completing 58 percent of his passes for 840 yards.

Holzman said his team has an underdog mentality following last week's win, and if they pull off the victory against the Eagles, they'll share a portion of first place with the winner of South Carroll against Man Valley.

Francis Scott Key lost a tough one at home against the Mavericks last week. Their lone score came on a Nate Imes 5-yard run. The program's losing streak now stands at 13.

In the other intra-county matchup, Liberty (2-2, 0-1) will welcome Winters Mill (1-3). At first, the game was moved to Marriotts Ridge High School. Then on Thursday, it was pushed back to Eldersburg.

Having not scored since Week 3, Liberty is looking to get its offense moving in the right direction.


The Falcons haven't recorded a victory since the season-opener, but do have Justin Worthy, who sits at the top of the county in tackles so far this year.

Still searching for something positive after a rocky start, North Carroll (0-4, 0-1) will host Brunswick. While Century controlled the majority of the game last week, the Panthers didn't go away quietly. Coach Todd Edmondson's defense forced five turnovers in the loss.

Finally, Westminster (2-2) heads out west to take on South Hagerstown, which handed South Carroll its only loss so far this year. Chris Lang is back for the Owls under center, who have won back-to-back games after starting 0-2.

Westminster's matchup is the only one that hasn't been moved up to 6 p.m. to accommodate for weather, as of this issue.

As for the top-billed game in the county, Luette is hoping that his old school mentality on the weather will make Friday's matchup that much more exciting for his players. After all, he's thinking more about the game's implications on the county landscape, as well as his team's playoff potential.

"What's a little rain?" he said.



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Friday's games

Brunswick at North Carroll, 6

Francis Scott Key at Century, 6


South Carroll at Manchester Valley, 6

Winters Mill at Liberty, 6

Westminster at South Hagerstown, 7