Expect to see a mass of purple and then waves of orange in the stands at UMBC Stadium for Saturday's boys and girls state soccer championships.
The day will bring a rare treat for Loch Raven and Fallston soccer supporters.
At noon, the Loch Raven girls will take on Harford Tech in the Class 1A championship; the boys play Pocomoke at 2:30. When it gets dark, the Raiders' purple will be replaced by Fallston's orange. The Fallston girls will play Winters Mill in the Class 2A final set for 5 p.m., with the boys set to take on Marriotts Ridge at 7:30.
Only seven times since the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association added girls championships in 1989 has the same school been able to capture boys and girls soccer titles in the same year. Centennial won boys and girls crowns in 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1995; River Hill did it in 1997 and 1999, and Century in 2003.
"It's a super time for the school," Loch Raven boys coach Joe Fiedler said. "Our kids are excited and the girls are excited - the two teams are very close with each other and supportive. The state did a nice job for us with the schedule having us play back-to-back games, it'll make it a fun day. Hopefully things work out well."
Loch Raven is rich in soccer tradition - the two teams have combined to win eight titles - but this will mark the first time they have made state finals in the same year. This is the second straight year the two Fallston teams have reached the state title game. Both teams lost in the finals in 2008.
- Glenn Graham
Panthers double up Pointers
In last weekend's regional football semifinal, Pikesville probably faced the most highly motivated team in the entire state tournament bracket: Sparrows Point.
A week earlier, the Pointers had a chance to beat Pikesville on the last play of the regular-season finale, but Panthers linebacker Nolan Hart tipped the ball away from a Sparrows Point player in the end zone to seal a 35-28 Pikesville win.
That brought up Part Two for the Baltimore County rivals: the Class 1A North region opener.
"We knew Sparrows Point was going to come out and be excited, because the week before they lost on the last play of the game, so they knew they could beat us and our kids knew that too," said Panthers coach Jamie Willis. "I told them they're going to come out on top of their game, especially emotionally, and they did. They jumped on us. They threw the ball down two series in a row and went up 14-0."
The Panthers didn't fold.
Shortly after Sparrows Point's second touchdown, quarterback Jeremy Downing wanted to pass on third down and 12, but the Pointers covered his receivers, so he scrambled for a first down that led to Pikesville's first touchdown.
The Panthers reeled off five unanswered touchdowns and went on to win, 42-20, and earn a trip to Thurmont Friday night to meet Catoctin (10-0) for a repeat of last season's regional final won, 50-13, by the Cougars.
- Katherine Dunn