A proposal to add a week to the football season and double the number of teams qualifying for the playoffs in Maryland will be looked at by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Board of Control next month.
The newest proposal from the state football committee would be considered by the Board of Control along with a similar expansion proposal created last month by the committee that would expand the number of football classifications and teams making the postseason by 50 percent.
John Cox, chairman of the state football committee, said yesterday that the newest proposal was a reaction to growing concerns from around the state about the proposed expansion to six divisions.
At the state football committee meeting yesterday, the committee crafted the newest proposal, which would qualify 16 teams from each of the state's current four classifications -- the top four from each region -- for the playoffs. Region winners would be paired against each other in state semifinal games.
Eight state finalists would play a 14-game schedule that would add a week to their seasons. Opponents of the expansion to six classifications said it watered down the value of a football championship and created divisions that were too small. Opponents of the newest proposal may argue it cuts into the winter sports season too significantly, Cox said.
"There has been, frankly, some mixed reaction" on the six-division proposal, Cox said. "There are certainly some people that wanted to see this go to 16 teams anyway. We thought we would put both in front of the Board of Control and see what would have the best chance."
The Board of Control will meet Dec. 7. If either of the proposals is passed, it would still have to be voted on by the state's superintendents to go into effect next season.
Rockets 0.1 From Playoffs
Richard Montgomery Coach Mike Bonavia had never been as excited for a football season as he was in early September.
The Rockets were coming off their first undefeated regular season in 33 years and first trip to the playoffs since 1985. They had most of their skilled position players back, including the explosive and multi-talented Quentin Smith, and eight starters returning from a defensive unit that shut out four teams.
But just more than two months later, Bonavia is as disappointed as he has been in his coaching career.
The Rockets defeated Walter Johnson Friday, 34-7, to finish the season 8-1 and clinch their second consecutive Montgomery 3A/2A regular season championship. But Richard Montgomery will not be heading to the Class 3A playoffs. The Rockets missed a spot by one-tenth of a point.
"It's disappointing," Bonavia said. "We've seen other teams play, and we really thought we could take this team into the playoffs and really represent the county well."
Teams qualify for the postseason based on a points system. The MPSSAA awards points for each game a team wins and bonus points for the number of victories amassed by the teams they have beaten.
Bonus points, ostensibly strength of schedule points, hurt Richard Montgomery. The Rockets' eight victories came against teams with a combined record of 27-52. Only one of those teams, Wheaton (5-3), had a winning record this year.
Extenuating circumstances caused by the sniper attacks in the Washington area also hurt the Rockets. Montgomery County teams played only nine games, instead of the scheduled 10, and R. Montgomery's cancelled game was against Northwest. A victory over the Jaguars (7-2) likely would have guaranteed a playoff berth.
Richard Montgomery's only loss came to Watkins Mill, a 4A school, 10-7. That game was played immediately after the sniper attacks, giving the Rockets one day of practice outdoors before the contest. Had Richard Montgomery won that game, it would not only have made the playoffs but won the 3A West Region.
Southern Sprints Into Postseason
Southern advanced to the Class 2A playoffs for only the second time in school history, the last being in 1993, when the Bulldogs lost in the championship game.
Propelled by senior sprinter Chris Lee, who powered Southern's track team to its first 2A championship this past spring, the Bulldogs (7-3) will face reigning 2A champion Hereford at home in a first-round matchup.
"This is what we've been pointing toward all year," Southern Coach Russ Meyers said. "We're looking forward to it. There's a lot of schools that would love to be doing what we're doing right now. We expect to win."
Lee rushed for 254 yards in a season finale against South River on Friday in a 39-14 victory. He enters the postseason with 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Staff writer Heather A. Dinich contributed to this report.