There will less chance an unbeaten team will again be denied entry to the Maryland scholastic football state playoffs.
Following a unanimous vote by the state's 23 county superintendents last Thursday, eight schools in each classification will advance to the state playoffs, rathen than the four of previous years.
Thomas Stone might have been the best Class AA team in the state this past season, but never got a chance to prove it because it was in the same region as Annapolis. The Panthers also finished 10-0, but gained the playoff berth because of a better showing in the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association point ratings.
Although strongly supported by the state's coaches, there's no guarantee that choosing two teams from each region will completely quiet all controversies.
"Nothing could ever do that, but this sure gives everyone a fairer chance," said Bill Kyle, Montgomery County's supervisor of athletics. "As long as the best teams get to play for the title, complaints will be kept to a minimum.
Several Montgomery County schools filled vacant football coaching positions last week. Don Contesti has been named to succeed Chuck Packan at Damascus, former Gaithersburg assistant Joe Mencarini replaces Guy Borelli at Walter Johnson and former Richard Montgomery assistant Purcell Tabb takes over for Bill Lindsey at Blair. Tabb will be the Blazers' fourth coach in the past five years.
Sherwood football Coach Bob Stroup has appealed his firing to county school superintendent Wilmer Cody. Head coach at Sherwood for the last 20 years, Stroup was fired after guiding the Warriors to a 5-5 record last season.
It also appears that Roy Lester will return to coach at least one more season at Magruder. Lester directed the Colonels to the state Class B football title last year.
Seneca Valley Coach Al Thomas has been named defensive coordinator for Maryland's all-star entry in the "Big 33" game against Pennsylvania on July 20 at Hershey, Pa. More than 300 Maryland seniors have been nominated for the all-star team. Final team selection will be held on Feb. 23.
Some local coaches question the timing of the game.
"Why hold this game in July when college recruiting is over?" said DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor. "Under NCAA rules, college coaches aren't even allowed to attend, so there's not much chance of helping a player earn a scholarship. If (this game) were held right after the season, some kids could benefit."