The Maryland high school football playoffs might be expanded next fall if school superintendents okay the change next month, according to Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association.
Presently, each region in classes AA, A, B and C sends one school to the football playoffs; the new plan calls for double that number. However, there are drawbacks.
"It would mean cutting down to a nine-game regular season, or choosing who makes the playoffs after nine game," explained Bill Kyle, Montgomery County's co-director of physical education and athletics. "In Montgomery County, we would want to have the option for the rest of the schools who weren't going to the playoffs to be able to play a 10th game. It might mean rescheduling a few games, but the possible chance for more teams to make the playoffs is something nearly everyone wants.
"We would only be against it if we couldn't get the option to play that extra game."
Sparks added, "The main objection to expanded playoffs in the past has been a reluctance to extend the season. This alternative seems to be a good compromise."
Maryland officials want to end football by the Thanksgiving weekend without starting practice before Aug. 15. For the next two years, Thanksgiving comes later than usual and a 10-game regular season would be possible without starting practice earlier.
Maryland's best public and private senior football players might play Pennsylvania's best in early July in an all-star "Big 33" game in Hershey, Pa., according to Sparks.
"Things are just about set," said Sparks, who credits Meade's Jerry Mears and other state coaches with getting the ball rolling. "They're lining up a sponsor and hope to finalize things soon. They hope to get the best players in the state -- from the MPSSAA, the private schools and the Maryland Scholastic Association (a Baltimore league)."
Perhaps the most surprising start in Maryland high school basketball belongs to Good Counsel, which is 7-0. Long the doormats of the Metro Conference (where the Falcons have lost 20 or more games four of the last six seasons), Good Counsel is beginning to earn respect. Its backcourt of Chris Windlan and Clay Dade compares favorably with any in the area. True, the Falcons haven't faced DeMatha, Gonzaga, St. John's or any of their past league tormentors, but this Good Counsel team could surprise some of the traditional powers . . . Riverdale Baptist's recent nine-overtime 46-43 victory over Arlington Baptist wasn't the longest high school basketball game, but it was close. According to the National High School Sports Record Book, two games have lasted 10 overtimes or longer.
Pat Baker has resigned as football coach and athletic director at Laurel. Baker, who led the Spartans to an 8-2 record this past season, will concentrate on his home improvement company. Baker became Laurel's coach in 1978. Track Coach Mary Phillips has been named interim athletic director . . . Sherwood football Coach Bob Stroup has been fired after 10 years as head coach and 22 in the program there. The Warriors were 5-5 last season.