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Howard County sports notebook: Atholton hires Eric Woodson as head football coach

Atholton hired Eric Woodson as its new head football coach. Woodson, pictured here in a file photo from his time as head coach of Glen Burnie, has coached football in Maryland for the last 25 years.
Atholton hired Eric Woodson as its new head football coach. Woodson, pictured here in a file photo from his time as head coach of Glen Burnie, has coached football in Maryland for the last 25 years. (By Paul W. Gillespie /)

When the 2020-21 high school sports season gets underway in August, Atholton High School will have a new head football coach.

In early March, the Raiders hired Eric Woodson, who has coached football in Maryland for the last 25 years — 15 as a head coach and 10 as an assistant. Overall, Woodson has amassed a 71-79 career record with stints as a head coach at Northwestern and Glen Burnie.

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“What attracted me to Atholton was the area. The school is in a good area," said Woodson. "I’m married now with three children, twin girls who are 11 and a son who just turned eight. We live in Baltimore County now, but we’re looking to move to get our kids into better schools. It was intriguing, the facilities are pretty good and looking at the history of the school, I thought it was a good fit for me.”

Woodson started his coaching career in 1995 as an assistant at Edmondson. After a few years with the Red Storm, Woodson spent four years as a defensive coach at Arundel before returning to Edmondson for three more years as a varsity assistant and then the JV coach.

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He was then the head coach at Northwestern, which has since closed down, for eight years, compiling a 52-29 record. At Northwestern, Woodson led the program to its first-ever playoff appearance, two Baltimore City Division 2 championships and one appearance in a region championship game. He was the Baltimore City Coach of the Year in 2008. Woodson then transitioned to Glen Burnie, where he’s been since 2013. The Gophers went 19-50 in his time at the Anne Arundel County school that hasn’t achieved a winning season since 1994. At Northwestern, Woodson coached Terrance West, who spent four years in the NFL with Cleveland, Tennessee and Baltimore, while at Glen Burnie, he coached Ezekiel Turner, who is preparing for his third season with the Arizona Cardinals.

“I’m very thankful for everyone at Glen Burnie,” Woodson said. “I think we made a difference in our time there, even though we didn’t win as many games as we wanted to.”

Last season, Atholton went 4-5 in the regular season before losing a close game to Marriotts Ridge in the first round of the MPSSAA 3A East region playoffs. Woodson replaces Justin Carey, who announced on Nov. 22 that he was stepping down from his post. The Raiders went 2-8 in 2018 and 7-4 in 2017.

“I want to build off the success they’ve had,” Woodson said. “I do want to thank the principal and the athletic director at Atholton for giving me this opportunity."

The Raiders lose their only three All-County selections from last season’s team (offensive lineman Matthew Thomas, running back Jonathan Watkins and tight end Jermore Kent) as well as quarterback Ethan Brown.

“I haven’t been able to meet (the players) in person yet, but it’ll be a learning process since we haven’t had a face-to-face meeting,” Woodson said. “I’m looking forward to that day when we meet.”

Wilde Lake’s Kalani Corkeron commits to play women’s basketball at HCC

Wilde Lake senior girls basketball player Kalani Corkeron has committed to play at Howard Community College.
Wilde Lake senior girls basketball player Kalani Corkeron has committed to play at Howard Community College. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Wilde Lake senior Kalani Corkeron has committed to play women’s basketball at Howard Community College. Corkeron was one of the top girls basketball players in Howard County this past season and was a first-team All-County selection for the Wildecats.

“I’m very happy about her decision,” said Wilde Lake head coach Rhonda Corkeron. “I’m super excited to be able to see her play, and the education she’s going to be getting is going to be fantastic. These first two years she’s gonna be playing competitive basketball and getting a good education."

The Dragons are led by head coach Marvin Evans, who took over the program in 2017. After going 0-25 in 2016-17 and 2017-18, the Dragons had one of their best seasons in 2018 by winning seven games. Evans then took the program to new heights this past season with a 20-10 record and a NJCAA Division II Region 20 tournament appearance.

“I chose HCC for a few reasons," said Kalani Corkeron. "One of them was that I had heard from several people that are really close to me saying nothing but great things about coach Evans’ program and him as a coach. He’s really all in for his players, and I felt like that was a good spot for me to develop.”

As the best player on Wilde Lake (6-10, 8-13) as a sophomore and junior, Corkeron battled through difficult circumstances as the best player on a team that won one game in each season. This past season, however, Corkeron led the young Wildecats to eight wins — two more than they won in the previous three years combined — for the program’s best season since 2007-08. She finished the season averaging 14.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game.

Two Howard County natives played for HCC this past season — Oakland Mills graduate Lillyann Eldridge and Long Reach graduate Cassandra Marks. Kalani Corkeron will also be joined by Reservoir senior Amani Pressley.

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“They’re great players and athletes," Kalani Corkeron said. “I’ve had teammates from my AAU teams who have played with some of those HoCo (players), and I’m excited to play with them.”

Howard County Board of Education temporarily changes athletic eligibility requirements

On April 16, the Howard County Board of Education approved new grading policies through the end of the academic year as the school system has transitioned to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For the fourth quarter, Howard County students can earn one of two designations — a “P” for pass or an “I” for incomplete. To “pass," students must complete 50% of all online assignments. A "P" is equivalent to an "A" as it pertains to determining eligibility.

For the students who still have incomplete grades by a date that is to be determined, their third-quarter grades will be used to determine eligibility. According to the county school system’s chief academic officer Bill Barnes during a virtual school board meeting on April 16, the to-be-determined date to turn the incomplete grades into a “pass” for athletic eligibility will be in early August.

“I don’t think we can underscore how taxing this experience is on students, families and teachers,” Barnes said during the meeting. “The pro is that we think we have a system that doesn’t penalize students because they’re experiencing emergency closures. We think a pro is that a ‘pass’ equals an 'A' mitigates concerns from families about GPA calculations.”

This system will make it unlikely that a student-athlete will be barred from competing in fall sports due to their grades during the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, students wishing to compete in a high school sport were required to have a 2.0 GPA in the quarter prior to that athletic season.

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