Belinko tells football coaches it's not time for playoffs to grow

Ron Belinko, president of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, does not dismiss the possibility of increasing the number of games played per season in all sports.

The issue of expansion -- long opposed by the state body -- was raised when Belinko addressed members of the Maryland Scholastic Football Coaches Association at the University of Maryland.


The subject, the MSFCA's June 6 proposal to increase the football playoffs from eight to 16 games, involved establishing the first play date for the Friday before Labor Day (a week earlier than usual) and the first practice date 20 days before that (Aug. 13).

"I explained that their proposal was a step in the right direction, but the time for expansion in football just isn't right at this time," Belinko said. "I think they left feeling as though I had their best interests at heart."


Belinko, also the coordinator of athletics in Baltimore County, said Maryland high schools, in general, play fewer than the national average of regular-season games in all sports except football, which breaks even at 10 games.

For example, the state association allows 20 regular-season basketball games -- one below the national average. Maryland's baseball teams can play 18 games, which is far shy of the number allowed nationally (26).

State soccer and field hockey (12 games) teams play four games short of the national standard, and volleyball (15) plays three fewer than the national average.

Stars of Baltimore

The under-14 Soccer Club of Baltimore Stars, recent winners of the Maryland State Cup title, is representing the state in this weekend's Region I Tournament at Rider College and Princeton University in New Jersey.

The Stars (83-8-3) were winners of nine of 12 tournaments they entered during this year's indoor and outdoor seasons. They were State Cup champs for the third time in five straight championship-game appearances.

The team members are: forwards Frank Scarfield, Cam Letke, Brian Powell, Donnie Maney and Mike Duley; midfielders Steve Beverage, P.J. Wakefield, Mike Regulski, Brandon Thomson, Matt Joseph, Mike Schaeffer and Steve Adams; defenders Chris Patrick, Billy Nelson, Michael Brown and Tim Gober; and keepers Kyle Zimmer and Adam Huber.

Slo-pitch Slam


The Mid-Summer's Night Slam Amateur Softball Association-sanctioned men's double-elimination slo-pitch tournament will be conducted in northwest Baltimore County July 22-24.

The regional qualifying tournament, open to all class B, C and D teams, is sponsored by the Sports Closet of Timonium in cooperation with the Baltimore County Department of Recreation Pikesville District).

Team and individual trophies will be awarded to the first-place and runner-up teams in each class. In addition, the winner of each class will receive a paid berth to the ASA Maryland State Regionals later this year in Hagerstown and locations throughout Carroll County.

For more information and to register, call (410) 561-1707 or (410) 363-8610.

McDonogh update

After meeting with his assistants Tuesday, McDonogh's new football coach, Dom Damico, says he's ready to take over a program that went undefeated in the Maryland Scholastic Association's A Conference (now the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association) and finished as the area's No. 2-ranked team last year.


"I'm really happy with the program and the coaches. Everyone's very supportive," said Damico, 31.

The Eagles were 9-0 last year under Mike Working, who resigned last month after three seasons and replaced Tim Perry at Mount St. Joseph.

Damico spent three years as an assistant at Temple University before going 22-22 in four years at Philadelphia's Cardinal Dougherty High, including 17-6 the last two years. The Cardinals reached the Philadelphia Catholic League title game the last two years, losing both times.

"It's not a situation where we're rebuilding so much as reloading," said Damico, who will stay with the run-and-shoot at McDonogh. "I've watched some films on the other teams and I'm trying to acquaint myself with the league."

Burks helps JMU

Perry Hall graduate Donny Burks, a junior transfer from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., had an excellent first season as shortstop for the Dukes of James Madison University.


Burks, who helped Perry Hall win a state title in 1990, hit .331 with eight doubles, a team-high five triples, two home runs and 27 RBIs. Burks was a member of a Dukes squad that was ranked as high as fifth nationally, ranked No. 10 in average runs scored per game (8.52) and had a team batting average of .340.

The Dukes (40-19-1) posted their best record since going 40-11-1 in 1988. JMU was a runner-up in its Colonial Athletic Conference with an 11-7 regular-season record, and was considered for an at-large bid into the NCAA Division I regional tournament.


Towson High's All-Metro lacrosse player Spencer Ford, who is headed to Towson State University on a full scholarship, was among seven local players named as a High School All-American by the United States Lacrosse Coaches Association.

Ford was omitted from a list of players that appeared in last week's notes column.