For most people, the high school football season is still five weeks away. For Doug DuVall, the football calendar runs year-round.
DuVall, who in his 20th season will try to guide Wilde Lake High School to an unprecedented fourth straight state championship this fall, is busily working on the inaugural Chesapeake Football Classic, which will pit the top 33 graduated seniors from Maryland against those from Virginia.
The game will be played Saturday, July 24 at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Two years ago, DuVall coached Maryland's Big 33 Team to a victory over Pennsylvania. This time, DuVall is working behind the scenes to get the Chesapeake Classic off on the right foot.
"I'm the smoke and fire guy," DuVall said. "I'm running the banquet [honoring the players] the night before the game, organizing the host families where the players will be staying, making sure the kids are fed all week. I thought I'd be taking the summer off for the first time, but it didn't work out that way."
DuVall estimates the cost of the event at around $25,000, cost that includes rent of banquet facilities, insurance, food, postage and rent and security expenses at Byrd Stadium.
"The hardest part has been getting people to donate money, since this is the first game," he said.
DuVall then will set his sights on making more history at Wilde Lake, where the Wildecats promise to have another fine squad led by quarterback Seth Willingham and running back/defensive lineman Mike Green.
"We want to set a new high-water mark for football in Maryland. Four in a row is hard to conceive, and if we do it, it will be very tough for anyone to do it again," DuVall said.
The Wildecats will have the necessary ingredients to make it happen -- experienced lines, an excellent quarterback and plenty of speed. And, in the tradition of players like James Easterly and Andre Martin, the Wildecats will be blessed by an other talented transfer student.
Jermaine Sutton, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound senior with blazing speed who transferred to Wilde Lake last fall from High Point in Prince George's County, should give opposing defensive backs weekly headaches. Sutton has run the 40-yard -- in 4.38 seconds and has been clocked in 10.5 for the 100-yard --.
"He [Sutton] can run a hole in the wind," DuVall said. "We'll be running a lot of our usual wishbone and option sets, but Seth will be hooking up with Jermaine, too," said DuVall, who has predicted exciting passing attacks in the past, only to revert to the always-effective ground game.
rTC "We are going to throw more this year," he promised.
Buzz Braman, who has made a reputation around the NBA as "the Shot Doctor," returned to Centennial High School for the fourth straight summer last week to offer his expertise at his Sure Shot Basketball Camp.
About 180 campers spent five days learning and practicing the fundamentals of shooting from Braman, who spent several seasons as the Philadelphia 76ers shooting coach, before catching on with the Orlando Magic in that capacity last year.
Braman co-owns the patent on a device he calls the "shooting star." It's an adjustable nylon strap that restricts the movement of the shooter's off-hand, which often alters the shot, resulting in a missed attempt. The shooting star retails for $10.
"I'm not a gimmick guy, and this is not a gimmick," Braman says. "It alters muscle memory in the left hand [of a right-handed shooter]. After you use it enough, you learn not to guide the ball with your left hand."
Matt Rainwater, whose promising sophomore season for Centennial's lacrosse team was interrupted by a fractured leg, is fully recovered and has looked impressive in the Hero's summer league.
Playing in the "A" division for the Yellow team in the Hero's summer league, Rainwater has shown the form that caused Centennial coach Mike Siegert to call him the best defenseman the Eagles have had since Doug Shank graduated in the early 1980s.
"He's looking real good. He's clearing the ball well and running with his man real well. He's really above the other kids," Yellow team coach Mark Beckwith said.