At least four regulars in the NCAA Division I-AA football top 20 are getting help from former area standouts.
The top game in the East this week -- and maybe this season -- is the Yankee Conference showdown that sends No. 2 Villanova down Interstate 95 to No. 12 Delaware.
Delaware is averaging 35 points, and its ground game has gotten a boost from Marcus Lewis, a senior out of Oakland Mills. In the Blue Hens' past two games, he has rushed for 131 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore Mike Sye (Woodlawn) is a special-teams player who also fills in in the secondary. Sophomore Greg Justice (Andover) is an offensive line reserve, and the career of defensive tackle Scott Griemsmann (Arundel) was ended by his fourth knee injury.
Bill Hoffman, a junior from Baltimore who went to Kiski Prep in Pittsburgh, handles all of the kicking for Villanova. As a sophomore, he set a Yankee Conference record by connecting on 52 extra points.
Byron Turner, a redshirt freshman from Aberdeen, is the starting nose guard for No. 5 Marshall (W.Va)., which has lost only to Division I-A Missouri. He has 18 tackles.
Towson State is at No. 10 William & Mary tomorrow, and the Tribe's top defensive player has been Adrian Rich, a fifth-year senior who went to Loyola High. A three-year starter who has 217 career tackles, Rich is listed as an outside linebacker, but injuries to others dictated that he play two games at defensive end. He has a team-high 49 tackles.
There are new worlds to conquer for Duquesne's Stacey Gilligan, a sophomore from Glen Burnie.
Gilligan was the Rookie of the Year in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1991, but this year Duquesne shifted to the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. She stands second in the MCC in digs, and also leads the Dukes in kills and aces.
Even without Gilligan, the area still has a dominant player in the A-10. Catonsville's Jen McCuen is a four-year starter at West Virginia, where she's a graduate student seeking her master's degree in exercise physiology. A second-team conference all-star last year, McCuen leads the the A-10 in blocks and leads the Mountaineers in kills and digs.
Juniors Sarah Lord (Francis Scott Key) and Kelly Scott (Perry Hall) are starters for Winthrop, which will join UMBC in a Big South Conference weekend at Liberty.
Melissa Compton, a sophomore from Loch Raven, made her first goal of the season count in Hofstra's 1-0 victory over Lowell. It stopped a four-game losing streak for the Flying Dutchwomen.
Haverford got off to a quick start in the Middle Atlantic Conference Southeast Section thanks to the leadership of Tracy Kyger, a four-year starter from Sparks who went to St. Paul's School for Girls.
Bucknell's Julia Diaz, a sophomore from Lutherville who attended McDonogh, made it to the finals of the Patriot League tournament for the second straight year. The top seed in No. 1 singles, Diaz lost a third-set tiebreaker in the finals.
"College postcards" will appear every Friday, featuring notes on former Baltimore-area high school athletes at out-of-state colleges.