Mercy endures adversity to make it to playoffs
The Mercy girls soccer team battled through adversity all through the year but still managed to be playing on the season's final day - losing valiantly to defending champion and No. 1 Archbishop Spalding in Sunday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title game.
The No. 3 Magic (12-5-3) learned two standout players had transferred just before the start of the season and then overcame various injuries and illnesses along the way. One thing that was never missing from the team was leadership, thanks to senior center midfielder and captain Jordan Stenger.
Over the summer, Stenger's father got a job in San Diego, but instead of moving away immediately, she and her mother, who had a baby a few weeks ago, stayed in Baltimore so she could play her last season at Mercy. Stenger played a pivotal role in the Magic's playoff run, helping control the middle of the field in a 1-0 upset of then-No. 2 McDonogh in the quarterfinals before doing the same in a 1-0 shootout win over Notre Dame Prep in the semifinals. After giving 100 percent in a 2-0 loss to Spalding on Sunday, she was packed and ready to go to San Diego, leaving Tuesday.
"The family separated so Jordan could play the season for the team. She led us all season long, and it was unbelievable to watch," Mercy coach Albert Oni said.
- Glenn Graham
Cosh to Harris = TD
Arundel quarterback Billy Cosh has been getting a lot of publicity this season for setting state passing records, but there has to be somebody catching those passes to keep those records falling.
That guy is R.J. Harris, and he just set a state record of his own. The senior wide receiver caught two touchdown passes from Cosh in No. 1 Arundel's win over Meade on Friday night, boosting his career total to 41 and breaking the state public school record of 40 set by former Wildcat Brandon Johnson-Farrell two years ago.
Harris has scored on 21 receptions this season - nearly half of the 43 touchdowns tossed by Cosh - bringing him within two of the state record held by Johnson-Farrell and another former Wildcat, Alec Lemon. He has caught 76 passes for 1,169 yards this season.
Cosh holds 10 state records, including touchdown passes in a career, which he improved to 100 with six against Meade. Cosh and Harris both could break records in their Friday night regular-season finale at home against Southern. Cosh is on the verge of state career marks for most completed passes (he needs 33 to tie) and most passing yards (he needs 24).
- Katherine Dunn
Rivalry games matter
More than just bragging rights will be decided Saturday in two of Baltimore's longest-running football rivalries: City-Poly and Gilman-McDonogh.
When City and Poly meet for the 121st time at noon at M&T; Bank Stadium, the No. 11 Engineers (8-1, 6-1 division) will be looking to clinch at least a share of the Baltimore City Division I title. However, the Knights (7-2, 5-2) need the win to clinch a berth in the Class 2A North regional playoffs, and if they win and No. 9 Dunbar suffers an unlikely loss to Digital Harbor, City could sneak into a share of the division title.
In one of the longest-running high school rivalries in the country, Poly holds the series edge 59-55-6. Last season's 16-13 Poly win broke a three-year City reign.
Gilman and McDonogh have not been playing quite as long. Saturday's 2 p.m. matchup will be the 94th edition. The No. 2 Eagles host the game that will decide the winner of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. The Eagles (8-1) stand alone in first place in the conference at 4-0, but No. 5 Gilman (6-3) is 3-1. A Greyhounds win would give them the title outright because head-to-head competition breaks the tie.
The Greyhounds lead the series 55-33-5, but the teams have traded wins for the past four years, with the visiting team taking the victory each time. Last year, McDonogh won, 22-14, and the past three games have been decided by an average of seven points.
As for the other big rivalry, No. 10 Calvert Hall and No. 12 Loyola extend their series to its 90th year when they meet in the Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving Day at M&T; Bank Stadium. Loyola leads that one 48-33-8.
- Katherine Dunn