Jerry Hartman's decision to step down as head football coach at Meade after this, his fourth season, is too bad. Hartman told school officials before the season began that he was resigning his position.
In three short years, Hartman returned the Mustangs to glory a la the years under the late Jerry Mears, when they were an annual playoff contender. Last fall, Meade made it to the Class 4A state semis and went 8-4 overall, including a 14-7 victory over county and region champion Arundel (10-1).
Meade had not been to the playoffs since 1987 (8-3) under Mears and had not had a winning season since 1989 (7-3).
More importantly, Hartman's teams project an image of class, discipline, organization and professionalism.
"I just felt I wasn't getting the support from the administration for the football team that I wanted and needed," said Hartman, who did not rule out possibly resolving the differences and returning.
"Perhaps something could be worked out. I'm not going anywhere -- staying right here at Meade as a teacher in the health department. It's not true [as a local paper reported recently] that I'm pursuing a college coaching position, nor have I had any discipline problems or complaints from parents or players about the way I run my program."
Hartman said he was unhappy with the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, which he partly blamed for his then-No. 13 team's season-opening 15-6 loss at Laurel on Saturday.
"Wouldn't you like to start the season against somebody who has had seven less practices than you?" Hartman asked.
"We started school Aug. 26, and Laurel [Prince George's County] didn't start until Sept. 3. They were able to have more two-a-days than we did, and we were not as prepared as I would have wanted."
Hartman is right when he says that everybody should have the same number of practices. Teams are allowed X amount of games in each sport, and it should be the same for practices to hTC avoid giving some teams an unfair advantage.
If Hartman does not return, it will be a huge loss for county coaches and teachers who try to establish discipline with their students in an era when that's not so fashionable.
The student/athletes on the Meade football team have responded to Hartman's philosophies, and it has been a positive experience the school doesn't need to lose. Here's hoping they work it out and keep Hartman on the sidelines.
QB proves ready
Sometimes waiting your turn can be frustrating, but when your turn comes and you produce, there are few greater feelings in sports.
Mike Evans of North County knows the feeling.
What a satisfying afternoon Evans had in Prince George's County on Saturday as he quarterbacked the Knights to a 26-23 upset of highly regarded Eleanor Roosevelt.
Evans transferred from Glen Burnie to the Ferndale school two years ago in hope of directing the Knights' run-and-shoot offense.
His dad, Mike Sr., who along with a couple of his brothers was a former Glen Burnie High standout athlete, actually moved his family to the North County district to give his son the chance.
Last fall, Evans got off to a good start in preseason, but regressed and by the third scrimmage had lost the job to senior Maurice Bowie, who had been one of the team's top receivers. Bowie kept the job for the rest of the season.
On Saturday, Evans completed 21 of 36 passes for 247 yards and four touchdowns in his first varsity start, but coach Chuck Markiewicz called the effort "shaky." He pointed to a pair of interceptions and two fumbles lost by Evans, but wasn't actually putting the blame on Evans.
"Mike was kinda shaky, but I don't think it was all his fault," said Markiewicz. "Our offensive line was not very aggressive -- didn't give Mike a lot of time. But they can play better than that.
"Mike has come a long way from last season and is getting better. If he can get better on a weekly basis, that's all we can ask for."
Evans, who kept his composure after the turnovers, said the win felt great.
"I waited a whole year to play," he said, "and we made some big plays today."
Evans appears ready to assume the very important QB job in North County's wide-open, college-style offense and to carry on the tradition. North County has been a quarterback warehouse since opening its doors seven years ago.
In that time, four Knights quarterbacks have been named All-County, with Johnny Ray (1990) and Eric Howard (1992) also All-Metro.
Pub Date: 9/11/96