In the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's first B Conference championship football game, Spalding finished its historic season in one of the best ways imaginable. Spalding beat Northern Division rival Boys' Latin, 35-10, snapping a losing streak against the Lakers that had hounded the Cavaliers since 1999. Spalding also avenged the season's only defeat, a 20-10 loss to the Baltimore private school. And the Cavaliers did it all on Coach Mike Whittles' birthday.
A key to the game was shutting down Boys' Latin tight end Brian Farrell, who scored on a 70-yard touchdown pass in the first meeting and came up with other plays that hurt the Cavaliers. This time, though, Farrell finished with 35 yards receiving on two catches, thanks to a defensive plan that locked linebacker Mike Whittles on the tight end when he split out and gave Whittles safety protection in case of a deep ball.
"I told Mike, if he goes to the bathroom I want you [with him]," said Coach Whittles. "He did an outstanding job."
In 1999, Coach Whittles took over a Spalding program that needed a lot of help, and with what he said has been great support from his coaching staff and talented and dedicated players, Whittles has turned a team that was often looked down on into a champion.
"Ten years ago if someone said you were going to have a conference championship game and Spalding was going to be playing in it, you probably would have had to medicate that person," Coach Whittles said. "It had nothing to do with kids or the coach. Those kids gave everything they had. People never thought of Spalding football and champion in the same sentence. We've earned the respect of other teams out there. It wasn't always that way. The kids have been laughed at and teased but not anymore. Those days are behind us."
Spalding will lose 12 seniors this spring, but the Cavaliers are familiar with loss; they had to replace nine starters on defense this season and had just one returning starter on the offensive line. Joining the Cavaliers will be part of a junior varsity team that has gone undefeated the past two seasons.