Hopkins-W. Md. is a classic for traditionalists

One thing money can't buy is tradition, which is very big at this stage of the college football season.

Harvard and Yale will meet for the 109th time a week from Saturday. The 93rd Army-Navy game will be played in Philadelphia Dec. 5.


Locally, there's one old rivalry -- Johns Hopkins vs. Western Maryland -- that's not far behind. Hopkins and the Green Terrors will meet for the 69th time this Saturday at Homewood.

This one is special, and you don't have to be around for as long as Hopkins athletic director Bob Scott has to appreciate that.


Scott enrolled at Hopkins in 1948. With time out for the military, he has been at Homewood ever since as student, athlete, coach and AD.

"I love the Hopkins-Western Maryland rivalry," Scott was saying in his office yesterday. "Both are fine schools and the players play because they love the game. And I have so many friends who went to Western Maryland.

"When I came out of Forest Park High School, I was a 138-pound end. I wanted to go to Western Maryland with my friends, Julien Dyke and Stan Fieldman, who were already there. But the Western Maryland coach, Charley Havens, just patted me on the head and sent me away. So I went to Hopkins."

Through the decades, the two schools have played many great games, which have produced many heroes.

For Hopkins, former players such as Lou Koerber, Lloyd Bunting, Eddie Miller, Oz Garcia, Henry Ciccarone, Jack Thomas, Jim Margraff (now the Hopkins coach) and Bill Stromberg are remembered largely for their exploits against Western Maryland.

At Westminster, the names of Mitch Tullai (now coach at St. Paul's School), Mike Rentko (also at St. Paul's), Victor Makovich, Harlow Henderson, Bill Kern, Don Dewey, Joe Brockmeyer and Bruce Bozman evoke memories of Hopkins-Western Maryland games past.

No Western Maryland man has ever played better against the arch-rival Blue Jays than halfback Eric Frees did the last two years.

Last year, in as exciting a football game as you could hope to see, Frees ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, finished the day with 205 yards rushing and led his team to a 24-21 victory.


"This is our Army-Navy game," says Western Maryland coach Dale Sprague, though he has only been at Westminster only since 1986. "We play the same 60 minutes as Auburn-Alabama and a touchdown here counts for the same thing as it does in the Southeast Conference. The Western Maryland-Hopkins game has a lot of meaning."

The meaning this year goes beyond tradition. Western Maryland is one of three teams that can win the championship of the Centennial Football Conference. The others are Dickinson and Swarthmore.

"We're banged up," says Sprague. "We have a three-game losing streak and to win this championship we have to beat a darn tough Hopkins team and get some help [Ursinus would have to beat Dickinson]. We still have a lot of fun, though."

* No one was surprised when Maryland football coach Mark Duffner announced that the Terps had honored no defensive player of the game against Florida State last week. No wonder. Not with the defense giving up 69 points.

I'm predicting Florida State won't score as many points in basketball against Maryland as it did in football.

It seems that Clemson, which comes to Byrd Stadium Saturday (12:10 p.m.), kills Maryland in head-to-head football competition. Last year Clemson crushed the Terps, 40-7. Maryland hasn't beaten Clemson since 1985.


In fact, the series is dead even at 19-19-1.

* The Larry Washington of this year's high school football senior running backs is John Seymour, of undefeated Linganore High in Frederick County, just over the Carroll County line.

College coaches say the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Seymour is one of the best backs in the Middle Atlantic region. They project him as a solid Division I prospect, maybe at a James Madison or a Towson State, perhaps even a Virginia or Maryland. It probably won't be at Towson. The Tigers no longer award football scholarships.

The Larry Washington who came out of Randallstown High two years ago with a can't-miss label and went to Maryland so far has missed, owing to injuries and other problems.

* Baltimore's effort to gain an NFL franchise has stalled more times than my '81 Pinto, but that doesn't deter the Baltimore Colts' Band, which continues to dazzle spectators at games in other league cities.

The band recently appeared at the Bills-Patriots game in Buffalo and, in the words of Tim Maloney, entertainment director for the Bills:


"The Baltimore Colts' Band saved the day. The game was boring. The band was great. We pride ourselves in Buffalo on having the best halftime entertainment in the NFL, and the Baltimore Colts' Band is part of that. We plan to have them back either for the playoffs or for a game next year."