Mike Longazel's father called it "the ultimate suck-up," and that could be an understatement. A negative X-ray could have given a young athlete's career a negative result.
Longazel, a fullback/middle linebacker for Old Mill, apparently played the last three games of the season with a broken leg.
Longazel, who is the Patriots' Scholar-Athlete and was named the team's Most Valuable Defensive Back at awards night Thursday, had successful surgery Friday.
Longazel, who led the Patriots in tackles, took a helmet to his right leg late in the season, but X-rays did not show a break, and the senior kept playing despite excruciating pain.
"Mike suffered a broken fibula and dislocated ankle back in March, and a plate with six screws was put in his right leg," said Lt. Col. Tom Longazel of the U.S. Army.
"He had surgery Friday to remove the plate from his right leg and everything went fine. Mike will wear a cast for four weeks, then start getting ready for baseball. As it turns out, he did have a broken leg after he took that helmet on the top of [the plate], but it just didn't show on the X-rays."
Lt. Col. Longazel had taken his son to an Army hospital the Sunday after the game in which he suffered the injury. He was told that his son had a "bad bone bruise."
'His brother [Ernie], who attends the Naval Academy, told his little brother to suck it up and play with a little pain," said Lt. Col. Longazel.
Football coaches feted
Did you know that the county Class 4A League football coaches voted Arundel's Bill Zucco as Coach of the Year, and Southern's Buck Gardner was the choice of his 2A-3A peers?
Zucco led the Wildcats (6-4) to their first winning season since 1985 while Gardner led the Dawgs into the state playoffs for the first time in school history.
A record breaker
It went unnoticed in North County's 30-6 loss to Watkins Mill in the state 4A football quarterfinals, but the touchdown pass thrown by Justin Rice for the Knights' only score with 2:33 left in the game tied the state record of 28.
Eric Howard threw 28 touchdown passes for North County, and Jason Boseck did likewise for Pallotti last season. Rice and Howard each did it in 11 games; Boseck had his 28 in 10 games.
Wrapping up St. Mary's
Wouldn't St. Mary's overall 7-3 record in football have looked better if the Saints had ended up with a winning record in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference instead of 2-3?
By the way, in the Saints' season-ending 15-13 loss to Calvert Hall (5-4, 1-3), Mark Kiefer kicked two field goals to tie the county record of nine in a season set by Old Mill's Steve Oliver in 1991. Kiefer finished with a county record for career field goals (16).
Terps on his trail
Did you know that the University of Maryland baseball staff is hot on the trail of Old Mill's 6-foot-5 right-hander Ken Pumphrey, but he might not be ready to commit?
Love on the links
You've heard of couples getting married at home plate, under the goal posts and under the basket, but how about on the links?
Anne Arundel County residents Bill and Betty Evans tied the knot recently on the golf course at Hobbits Glen in Columbia.
The wedding party was dressed in stars-and-stripes knickers, and the wedding cake was shaped like an 18-hole course.
Blast from the past
Did you know that 20 years ago Mark Frye scored four touchdowns in a 47-7 blowout of Bel Air in Harford County? And you ask how Mark could still be playing for Severna Park?
Well, the Mark Frye of 20 years ago played for Glen Burnie and coach Joe Papetti and is the father of the Severna Park junior back of the same name.
A final question
Finally, why don't Anne Arundel County's Class 4A football teams do better in the state playoffs? If you've got an answer, call my 24-Hour Sportsline, (410) 647-2499.