Montgomery County has suspended Walter Johnson football coach Butch Worden for two games for using two ineligible players. Worden will miss the season finale against Poolesville on Friday and the season opener next fall, and the team will have to forfeit its first four games from this season, all losses, for using the players.

The Journal newspapers first reported the story. The suspension precludes Worden from working with the team in the preseason. If Worden were to leave and become coach at another county high school, the suspension would not be lifted, according to Duke Beattie, the county coordinator of athletics.

Worden, whose Wildcats are 0-9, also received official reprimands from the county and the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association as well as other penalties, though Beattie declined to comment on the nature of those penalties. No decision has been made on whether Worden will coach at Walter Johnson next year, according to Susan Amos, the school's athletic director.

One ineligible player was in his ninth semester of high school sports (essentially making him a fifth-year senior). Montgomery County rules forbid players from retaining their eligibility after playing eight consecutive semesters. The other player did not live in Walter Johnson's district.

"It is the responsibility of every coach to make sure that their players are eligible," Beattie said. "That is a function of their jobs that cannot be ignored." Attempts to reach Worden last night were unsuccessful.

Tap Goes to DeStefano

Mark DeStefano has been named boys basketball coach at Walter Johnson High, replacing Bill Morris, who left coaching to become the school's assistant principal.

DeStefano had been an assistant at Springbrook and Kennedy, and he coached the Springbrook junior varsity last season.

"Mark has great basketball knowledge," Amos said. "He has been coaching in the county for a long time, and we were very impressed with him. It was definitely a promotion for Bill [Morris] to become assistant principal, but I can tell he misses coaching already."

Amos said DeStefano, named last month, was chosen from among 18 applicants.

Last season, the Wildcats finished 12-11 under Morris and lost in the Maryland 3A West region quarterfinals to South Carroll, 73-60. . . .

Eleanor Roosevelt senior Delonte Holland, expected to be one of the area's top basketball players this season, has made an oral commitment to play for Rhode Island, Roosevelt Coach Glenn Farello said yesterday.

Holland, a 6-foot-5 forward, averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game last season, and is considered one of the most athletic players in the region. He had planned to wait until the spring on a college commitment, but changed his mind during his recent official visit to Rhode Island, Farello said.

"He brings a lot to the table," Farello said. "He can play the point guard position all the way to the five [center], so he's very versatile."

Holland has yet to meet the NCAA's minimum academic standards for receiving an athletic scholarship, Farello said.

Holland is the second player from Prince George's County to choose Rhode Island. Forward Andre Scott of Greenbelt, who is attending a prep school in Tennessee, made a commitment to the Rams last week. Both players are expected to make their commitments official by signing a national letter-of-intent during the early signing period beginning Nov. 10.

Headed to the Hokies

Fairfax High wide receiver-defensive back Mike Daniels has orally committed to attend Virginia Tech. Daniels, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior, has caught 18 passes for 372 yards (20.6 average) to help the fifth-ranked Rebels to a 9-0 start.

Daniels selected the Hokies over Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Wake Forest. He is the third area player to commit to Virginia Tech in the past two weeks, joining Oakton senior free safety-fullback Chad Cooper and DeMatha linebacker Mikaal Baaqee.

"I really liked the direction Virginia Tech's program was going in," Daniels said. "I went down to see them play Syracuse [a 62-0 Virginia Tech victory on Oct. 16] and that left a huge impression."

Daniels said his Fairfax teammate, running back Brandon Royster, has narrowed his choices to Virginia and Virginia Tech. Royster, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, is considered one of the top running backs in the country. He has rushed for 1,400 yards this season, second among Virginia area public school players. It marks the fourth straight season in which Royster has rushed for at least 1,000 yards.

Staff writer Josh Barr contributed to this report.