Yesterday's Chesapeake Football Classic press conference at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium ended a difficult three months for coach Mike Working and his five-member staff, who introduced a 35-man roster they feel will best represent Maryland against Northern Virginia in the fourth annual event on June 29.
"We feel we picked the players who are ready to play," said Working, coach of two-time Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association champ Mount St. Joseph. "There are certain positions that you can't evaluate in a two-hour workout, like offensive and defensive line, but we had a pretty good idea going into the workout who we wanted."
Wake Forest-bound All-Metro defensive lineman DaVaughan Mellerson (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) and second-team All-Metro running back Archie Wannamaker are two of three Mount St. Joseph players on the squad. C. Milton Wright's two-time All-Metro wide receiver Duane Fisher, and second-team All-Metro linebacker Ron Gamble (Hammond) also made the cut.
But it's who didn't make the cut as much as who did that has drawn the ire of many coaches.
Lackey coach Glen Jones was angry that Delaware State-bound running back Grayland King, the state's second leading rusher, did not make the team. "I have nothing but hostility for the entire process," Jones said. "I think the tryouts are a joke -- more or less window dressing -- and that the team is picked long before that. It's total classlessness."
The assistant coaches are Friendly's Dick Knode (running backs), Meade's Jerry Hartman (defensive backs), Lansdowne's Terry Brooks (defensive line), Sherwood's Tommy Crowell (offensive line), and C. Milton Wright's Steve Harward (linebackers). Working said each coach, with input from him, chose players for their respective positions.
"We tried to look at every kid that was nominated on film, and I sat at my house during the blizzard [in January] and watched an awful lot of players," Working said. "But there's no question we probably made some mistakes."
All-Metros Steve Kelley (Kenwood, running back), the state's top rusher and scorer, and Washington Post All-Metro Derrick Burgess (Eleanor Roosevelt, linebacker) are lower on the depth chart, Working said. And Antiwan Jones (Oakland Mills, wide receiver) also tried out. All three were All-State picks.
Burgess (6-4, 225) is headed for the University of Mississippi. His coach, Pat McGroarty, was also miffed that his Harvard-bound running back, Damon Jones, isn't playing.
"A kid going to an excellent school, at the top of the state in rushing, has got to buy a ticket to the Classic," said McGroarty. "If a kid like him isn't making the game, then you should evaluate who is and what the game means."
South Hagerstown lineman Mike Hull (6-5, 245) signed early with Maryland, but did not make the cut. Terps coach Mark Duffner said, "I can't comment, but we think he's a pretty outstanding guy, and we're excited to have him coming to us."
Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell was surprised that All-Metro and All-State defensive lineman Dwayne Green isn't listed. "We were No. 1 in the area for two years, and we were two-time state champs, so obviously we have a lot of good players at Dunbar -- but our best aren't on that team," Mitchell said.
Two players who were chosen as consensus All-State linebackers, Tommy Polley (Dunbar) and Ryan Burch (Loyola), are not playing. For Burch, a Dons basketball player, "it was bad timing, being in another sport," said Loyola coach Joe Brune. Polley, who has signed for a full scholarship to Florida State, likely will be in summer school, Mitchell said.
Pub Date: 3/06/96