Punishing running game carries Wilde Lake

The Baltimore Sun

Notebook The Wilde Lake football team is off to a 2-0 start and there's no secret why: running the football.

In Friday night's 28-10 win over Atholton, the Wildecats pounded and pounded - rushing for 394 yards, with three ball carriers surpassing 100 yards.

Senior Ashton Hayes (12 carries, 112 yards, two touchdowns), junior Jerrel Epps (15 carries, 102 yards, one touchdown) and senior Vaughn Stamper (12 carries, 114 yards) shared the duties, with junior quarterback Danny March chipping in 65 yards and a score.

Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall - who has 24 seniors on the roster, 18 with varsity experience - said a big key has been preparation.

"We've had very productive practices," he said. "The kids have been working hard and we've gotten some good results. We're a little more exact in making it just right - they've been committed to that. Part of that is having 24 seniors. They've played together before, they're experienced and are pretty tight."

DuVall has been particularly pleased with the steady play from March, who started the last three games for the Wildecats last year as a sophomore. March, 5 feet 6 and approximately 120 pounds, has taken charge of the offense and also brings excellent speed as a running quarterback. At defensive back, he ran back an interception 106 yards in the team's season-opening win over Glenelg.

Depth in the offensive line also has been a key, led by 6-5, 270-pound tackle Cody Blue. Ryan Smith and Lucas Place also see time at tackle, Alex Ngo and Ramin Nejaddehghan are at guard and Dave Klotz is an anchor at center.

Senior linebacker Marc Arseneault has led a stingy defense that has allowed 17 points in the team's first two victories.

The Wildecats are wearing "BE" on their helmets to honor Ben Eaton, the Dunbar coach who died of an apparent pulmonary embolism last month at 58. DuVall and Eaton were close friends and the two teams scrimmaged during the preseason.

Speierman on Michigan

When Hammond softball standout Stephanie Speierman first visited the University of Michigan this summer, she left impressed.

After her second unofficial visit to the Ann Arbor campus two weekends ago, the junior All-Metro pitcher left after making an oral commitment to play for the Wolverines on a full scholarship.

"It's just a great all-around school - academically and athletically," said Speierman, who was 23-1 last spring and set a state record with 426 strikeouts in leading the Bears to their first Class 2A state title. "We went up in the summer, and I really liked the campus. And then I got up there with school in full swing, and I was amazed at the environment on campus. There was so much going on."

Speierman, who caught Michigan's eye playing for her Team New Jersey club during the summer, also was considering Maryland and Lehigh. Along with her work on the mound, Speierman also is one of the metro area's top hitters. Last season, she batted .649 with 30 runs and 18 RBIs.

"Last year was stressful trying to showcase myself. Now, I can relax and go back to enjoying the game I love," she said.

Eagles rule greens

Very little separated the county's top two golf teams - Centennial and defending Class 2A-1A state champion Glenelg - in their much-anticipated match Friday at Timbers at Troy Golf Course in Elkridge.

Centennial came away with a 93-89 win over the Gladiators using the Stableford scoring system. Senior Chris Wellde finished at even par to score 27 points, with junior Audra McShane contributing 26 points with a 1-over-par round. Players are awarded five points for an eagle, four for a birdie, three for a par, two for a bogey and one for a double bogey in the scoring system.

The Eagles improved to 5-0 for the season, while the Gladiators, who got an even-par effort from junior Matt Philie, dropped to 4-1.

"It was a very good match between two evenly matched teams," Glenelg coach Bob Bowen said. "Unfortunately, we came up on the short end of things. You have to give Centennial all the credit. They're very good."

Glenelg lost its only regular-season match to the Eagles last year and went on to win the state title. Bowen is hoping for the same run this fall. glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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