Just one Loyola football player was selected to The Sun's All-Metro team last fall, and it wasn't lineman Cale Christensen.
The Dons, who were ranked as high as No. 2 area-wide last season, also earned six All-City honors -- including two first-team picks. Three of them were linemen averaging 6 feet 3,256 pounds.
Christensen -- a 6-4, 245-pound tackle -- wasn't among them.
"I guess you could say I felt overlooked, but I thought I had a great year personally," said Christensen, 18, a Reisterstown resident. "Maybe it was because I wasn't expected to perform as well as I did, but I think the Loyola coaches were happy."
Christensen is happy, too, now, as one of 35 players chosen for a Maryland Team that faces Virginia July 24 at the University of Maryland in the inaugural Chesapeake Classic. The game, to begin at 7:30 p.m., replaces the Big 33 meeting the state had played against Pennsylvania.
"It's a true honor and a lifetime goal to be recognized for a talent," said Christensen, who has his eyes on Maryland, Virginia or Wake Forest for college.
First, he plans to attend Chatham's (Va.) Hargrave Military Prep Academy for a year.
"This is my chance to prove that I'm a good player, show my talents and hopefully win a full ride scholarship to some place," said Christensen, who runs the 40 yards in 4.9 seconds, bench presses 330 pounds and squat-lifts 550.
"It means a lot to me to be on the inaugural team, playing with a lot of good athletes. It's an opportunity I've been waiting for."
Only two others from Baltimore City and County were chosen to the squad: Catonsville resident Dave Sunderland, a 6-4, 245-pound All-Metro lineman from Mount St. Joseph, and Southern High's Chris Lewis, a speedy 5-11, 160-pound
running back and defensive back.
Among the five assistant coaches on Maryland's six-member staff are McDonogh's Mike Working and C. Milton Wright's Steve Harward. The head coach is Linganore's Dave Carruthers.
"I think it's a great chance for the kids to show off what they can do," said Working, The Baltimore Sun's 1992 Baltimore City/County Coach of the Year. "Some kids that don't have that opportunity to pursue football in college could earn that opportunity in this game."
The process begins at Maryland tomorrow with 11 a.m. player physicals, followed by a two-hour picnic for both teams before players depart to meet their Frederick area host families, most of whom are patrons of Linganore High.
Two-a-day practices will be held today through Tuesday, with one practice each for the last three days before the game. Thursday's practice will take place at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium, the site of the game.
Other activities include a visit to Camden Yards for the 7:30 p.m. Orioles-Kansas City game and a pool party for the Maryland team on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the teams will visit a handicapped facility where each of the players will spend a few hours with a child, followed by a visit to the White House.
Thursday includes a trip to Wild World in Largo and Friday a fund-raising golf tournament at Maryland's campus golf course, followed by the 7 p.m. reception and an 8 p.m. banquet -- each of which will be on campus.
"I'm very committed to exposure of football in Maryland, and I'm taking this pretty seriously," Working said.
Working said the most he'll know his Virginia counterparts will be learned Tuesday, when each team exchanges films after a 30-play intra-squad scrimmage.
"It is an honor and a challenge for me, since my area of expertise is on the offense and I've been asked to coach the defense," Working said. "I'm only allowed to play a 4-3 defensive front and use man-to-man coverage, so there should be a lot of fireworks."