One game doesn't diminish Poggi's success

The Baltimore Sun

Despite Gilman's 42-0 loss to DeMatha on Saturday, Greyhounds coach Biff Poggi lost no respect in the eyes of Stags coach Bill McGregor.

"I know Biff really well, and Joe Ehrmann, Stan White and the rest of their staff, and they're outstanding coaches and they have an outstanding football program," said McGregor, whose Stags have gone 54-6 during the past five years and 109-9 during the past decade. "Year in and year out, traditionally, whoever wins this ballgame is usually one of the top five teams in the state of Maryland.

"Our returning the opening kickoff like that [an 85-yard touchdown return by Rodney McLeod] and a couple mistakes made it tough to overcome, especially in this heat."

McGregor, whose team took a 5-3 lead in the series against Gilman, also cited "heat" as a factor in the Stags' 22-game winning streak ending Sept. 2 with a 28-7 loss at Xavier of Ohio in a game televised on ESPN.

"It was 115 degrees on the field last week and Xavier had 138 kids on their varsity football team. I thought we had great numbers with 76," he said.

Gilman dresses 67 players.

Hard work pays off

Towson senior Mason Campbell ran hard on his own throughout the summer to get ready for this cross country season, and it all paid off in Saturday's Barnhart Invitational at Dulaney.

Campbell won the boys race in 16 minutes, 18.95 seconds, easily beating Archbishop Spalding's Trevor Keen (16:37.14) and Loch Raven's Mike Glassman (16:48.83). Towson coach Ed Faya had said earlier that he expected big things from Campbell.

This is only Campbell's second season in cross country. He was solid last year and will clearly be one of the area's top runners this fall.

Eaton remembered

Ben Eaton, the former Dunbar football coach who died Aug. 27 at 58 from an apparent pulmonary embolism, influenced many people in a positive way, and one of them, Bryan Stewart, a former student and player, e-mailed a tribute. Here are some excerpts.

"I love Ben Eaton. He taught me football, critical thinking skills and most of all, he taught me how to be a man," wrote Stewart, who first had Eaton as a middle school gym teacher and then as a teacher and coach at Dunbar.

"He was my father at Dunbar. He wanted you to challenge yourself and become stronger mentally and spiritually. He once told me that he wanted 20 championship rings when he dies, 10 for each finger and 10 for each toe.

"He exceeded that number. Each person he touched represents a championship ring. I don't think he has enough toes and fingers for that amount of rings."

One step closer

The state's 24 local superintendents voted Friday in favor of a change in the athletics schedule that would allow games to be played as early as Labor Day weekend.

Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Schools Secondary Athletic Association, said the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the amendment, which now goes to the State Board of Education for final approval.

If adopted, the amendment would allow the start of the fall practice season to move from Aug. 15 to the sixth Saturday after the first Sunday in July.

Practice in 2008 would start Aug. 16 and games would still begin after Labor Day, due to a mandatory three weeks of practice, but in 2009 practice would start early enough that games would be played on Labor Day weekend.

Weisbaum commits

Gary Weisbaum of Pikesville has orally committed for a soccer scholarship to New Mexico, Panthers coach Mark Lavalle said. New Mexico is a perennial Top 20 team that was runner-up to national champion Maryland last year.

Weisbaum, who had 17 goals as a junior for the Panthers to bring his three-year total to 42, is a two-time first-team coaches' All-Baltimore County selection. He was second-team All-State last season.

Sun reporters Katherine Dunn and Jeff Seidel contributed to this article.

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