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Loch Raven, Owings Mills enjoy turnaround seasons in football


The football programs at Loch Raven and Owings Mills, each coached by its athletic director, are 3-0 (2-0 in the nine-team county 1A-2A league).

Loch Raven, coached by Bob Helms, went 1-9 the past two seasons but returned an experienced front line to a squad that he hoped would go 5-5 this year.

"We went 6-4 in 1992 and 7-3 in 1991, but I can't remember if we had three wins in a row," said Helms, who is in his 36th year of coaching -- fifth as head coach at Loch Raven -- and is 30-45 as a head coach.

"This year's team has a tremendous attitude. We don't have any stars, just kids who have been on losing teams since junior varsity. They come to practice accepting and doing what is asked."

Owings Mills, coached by Ray Groszkowski, went 2-8 last season but enjoyed a monstrous victory over traditional Baltimore County 1A-2A league power Overlea.

"This is our best start since going 8-2 in 1991, when we made it to the state semis, losing to Kent, which won the state for the second straight year," said Groszkowski, who is 55-61 over 12 seasons.

"It's very surprising to be where we are because we have a very young team. Only three offensive players are seniors, and two on defense are seniors."

Owings Mills plays host to Catonsville Friday night, and Loch Raven visits Hereford. Their next big tests should come from Milford Mill (2-1), which visits Owings Mills on Oct. 6 and plays host to Loch Raven on Oct. 14.

Assuming the teams remain unbeaten, their Oct. 21 meeting at Loch Raven looms large.

The final test for each squad should be against No. 6 Overlea (3-0, 2-0). Owings Mills gets first crack at the Falcons on Nov. 4 at Overlea, with Loch Raven visiting the Falcons on Nov. 11.

Oh noooo

Loyola (ranked No. 15), Gilman (ranked No. 6 in the preseason) and McDonogh are a combined 0-7 in football.

Gilman (last year's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association co-champ with Mount St. Joseph) and Loyola are 0-2. McDonogh (MIAA champ at 9-0 in 1993) is 0-3.

Menegatti recovering

Loch Raven's Lou Menegatti, 58, who underwent quintuple bypass surgery on June 1, "is recovering very nicely from the operation," said Barbara Menegatti, his wife.

"He's exercising and still eating his favorite Italian foods, but he has to substitute low-fat cheese and pasta," Barbara said. "The toughest thing is that he can't eat his favorite -- prime rib steak."

Lou Menegatti is assisting his son, Anthony, the girls soccer coach, for "at least this year," Barbara said.

Menegatti, a retired middle school counselor, was The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Coach of the Year in 1993 for winning the county's first state girls soccer title -- the 2A version.

Plienis going big-time?

Recruiters from No. 2 Nebraska and No. 11 Edinboro, coached by Olympic and World champion Bruce Baumgartener, were in town recently to offer full scholarships to McDonogh's two-time All-Metro heavyweight wrestler, J. R. Plienis, an All-American who has won national titles in the freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines.

Plienis plans to sign early.

Kyler leads Vols

Poly graduate Greg Kyler, The Baltimore Sun's 1993 Offensive Player of the Year, was the University of Tennessee's top receiver in last week's 52-14 rout of Mississippi State.

Starting in his fourth game for the No. 12 Volunteers (3-1), Kyler, a redshirt freshman with 4.3 speed, led the team in receptions (five), receiving yards (85) and number of downs played (51) in the game.

Kyler, whose longest reception was 40 yards, averaged 17 yards per catch and also had three quality blocks, said sports information director Bud Ford.

At Poly in 1993, Kyler had an area-leading 29 touchdowns on 1,390 rushing yards and 432 receiving yards on 22 receptions. He led the Engineers to an 11-1 record, a 3A state runner-up effort and a No. 1 area ranking.

Season of soccer upsets

The soccer season recently has been one beset by upsets of highly ranked teams.

Centennial's defending 3A-4A state champion girls (18-0 last year and ranked No. 3 in the preseason) began the year at 0-2.

And on Wednesday, then-No. 2 Calvert Hall dropped a 2-0 loss to then-No. 14 Loyola.

One day later, then-No. 2 McDonogh's girls -- minus injured two-time All-Metro Laurie Schwoy -- were beaten, 3-2, by then-unranked Mercy. And on Friday, Calvert Hall dropped its second league game, 2-1, to then-unranked John Carroll.

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