Friday, December 28, 2007

T.C. Williams Basketball

Titans Get Balanced Scoring
No. 18 T.C. Williams 57, Bowie 41
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 29, 2007; E08

Senior forward Anthony Winbush scored 11 points last night in T.C. Williams' 57-41 Wakefield Holiday Hoops tournament championship victory over Bowie -- good enough for what Titans Coach Ivan Thomas called an "off night."

Travis Berry, an explosive 6-foot-2 senior guard who was averaging 16.2 points per game, wasn't in the T.C. Williams starting lineup, and junior guard Edward Jenkins had just four points at halftime.

Without typical production from its top three players, No. 18 T.C. Williams relied on scoring from 10 Titans to extend its win streak to four and drop Bowie to 5-2.

Even with a new, more selfless approach, the Titans might be just as dangerous as last season's 25-4 squad that rode NCAA Division I prospects Mike Davis (Illinois) and Glenn Andrews (Tulsa) to a Northern Region title and a berth in the Virginia AAA tournament.

"These guys don't care who scores," Thomas said of the change in mentality. "They play together. They don't care who gets the glory. These guys are what made us good last year because we had these guys coming off the bench."

Through 29 games last winter, there were only three times that Davis (16.7 points per game) or Andrews (17.6 points per game) did not lead the Titans in scoring, and the tandem combined for 42 percent of the offense.

During its 6-1 start this season, T.C. Williams has used three starting lineups. In the Titans' 86-75 victory over Wise in the Wakefield tournament semifinals, four players scored in double figures.

"It makes the defense on the other side play a lot harder, because if they try to put the attention on us, we can swing it to somebody else and let them do the work," said Berry, who scored nine of his 10 points from behind the three-point line.

T.C. Williams's depth and versatility makes the Titans (6-1, 1-0 Patriot District) the Northern Region's most stable squad during a transition period that has seen nine coaching changes and resulted in a spin-cycle of upsets early this season.

"There's not just one person that has to score for this team," said Winbush, a 6-7 forward who is drawing recruiting interest from George Washington, College of Charleston and Appalachian State. "There's a lot of people that can get it done."

No. 18 T.C. Williams 57, Bowie 41
Holiday Hoops: In its fifth year, the Wakefield Holiday Hoops Tournament has had 24 different teams with four different champions. "I don't like to call up my Northern Region coaching buddies because we see them so much," Wakefield Coach Tony Bentley said. "We try to rotate different looks from different regions."
Three Quarters' Work: Bowie's Dwayne Jackson, a 6-7 guard-forward, scored 15 points in only three quarters, including a three-pointer that tied it at 21 with 1 minute 55 seconds left in the second quarter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kendro Feature

The Son Rises to the Occasion
Urbana Athletic Director Kendro Donates a Kidney to Save Father's Life
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, December 27, 2007; E08

Tom Kendro didn't know what his son was up to.

He didn't know that when nurses were tending to him in an examination room, his son -- Urbana Athletic Director Kevin Kendro -- was on the other side of the door, begging the doctors to take one of his kidneys and give it to his father.

"Even before it was an issue, the son was asking me to do [a transplant] before we were even allowed to do it," said Michael Choi, a physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In 2001, Tom Kendro found out he had idiopathic membranous nephropathy, a rare disorder that results in the dysfunction of the kidneys' filtering system. Little is known about the disorder, which occurs without warning and can result in kidney failure and death.

"I did every test they know of to try to cure it," said Tom Kendro, 63. "I couldn't walk. I was 50 percent, at minimum, weaker than I should be. I was just tired. I couldn't do anything."

In July, both of his kidneys were removed and he was put on dialysis for three months.

"The death rate is much higher with patients on dialysis, no question about it," Choi said.

His name was placed on a regional list for those in need of a transplant and the wait, according to Tom Kendro, could have been up to six years. His son had other ideas.

"I had no idea that Kevin had talked to the doctors behind my back and that he wanted to be the donor," Tom said. "I was concerned with his safety more than anything, and my wife was a banana. Not only did she have me, but now she had him to worry about."

On Sept. 21, doctors at Georgetown University Hospital completed a successful four-hour surgery in which Tom Kendro received a kidney donated by his son.

"Right when they wheeled me back, I wasn't trying to look at him because I could see that he was really upset," Kevin Kendro said. "I was just happy that the day got there."

When the surgery was complete, "The first thing they each asked was how the other one was doing," said Judy Kendro, Tom's wife and Kevin's mother.

Less than a month after the surgery, Kevin Kendro -- one of the youngest ADs in the state at 28 -- was back at work, his BlackBerry buzzing constantly.

In his cramped office, which is decorated with baseball posters and memorabilia, Kevin remembered growing up around sports, remembered all the ground balls he'd taken from his father, how his dad had helped him with his swing and nurtured his talent. Those memories only tell part of the story as to why Kevin volunteered his own kidney for his father.

"He couldn't put his shoes on," Kevin said. "That's the reason that I wanted to do it. I wanted to see him like he used to be."

Sure, the timing wasn't great. The Hawks were in the fourth week of football season and the track, field hockey and volleyball teams had their demands.

"When you are the athletic director, you tend to feel like this is your home," Kevin said, looking around his office. "You want to make sure everything is going well. You live here, basically. It was probably one of our busiest weeks of the year."

In Kevin's absence, the Urbana coaching staff and administration rallied.

Coaches volunteered to pick up some of Kevin's daily duties, which include lining fields, ordering buses, securing officials, scheduling and rescheduling games, ordering equipment, staffing athletic events with game managers and ticket takers, working with boosters, and collecting and reviewing paperwork.

"There was a tremendous outpouring from the community," Urbana girls' basketball coach Chris Krivos said. "They were bringing him food and food to his parents' house in Frederick. There was so much of it, he couldn't even eat it all. He had to bring it into school."

Kevin still is finding letters from students on his desk.

"He was selfless and I think it's incredible how he set an example for the students and teachers to always be giving of yourself," said Urbana senior Allie Taylor, who runs cross-country and plays basketball for the Hawks. "Life isn't just about yourself, it's about how you give of yourself."

Kevin missed a total of eight work days.
"He didn't want to stay away when he had every reason or right to," assistant athletic director Terry Connolly said. "No one would question him being out for two or three weeks and here he is back after one week."
Just seven days after the surgery, Kevin and Tom sneaked into the school's press box to watch the Urbana football team's 28-20 loss to Frederick -- their first outing since the transplant.

"There were a lot of stares at the beginning because what does a guy with one kidney look like?" Krivos said of Kevin. "He came back way too early. He was walking kind of like an old man and everyone knows he is always sprinting from his office to the main office; he's running from his office to the stadium to paint the field. He's always on the go. He was just slow. Everything he did was in slow motion."

Kevin -- a triathlete and marathon runner -- has returned to his training. He plans to run in six events in the new year and already has signed up for the Ironman Florida triathlon, featuring a grueling 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

Tom currently takes about 20 medications a day, including anti-rejection medicine, and is being closely monitored by doctors.

He is walking up to three miles a day and has lost much of the 40 pounds of water weight he gained following the transplant.

"What I learned about my dad is how tough he is because he was still trying to do things even when he was sick," Kevin said. "That's been his mentality: You're sick, you still try."

Boys' Hoops Tournament Preview

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Lee Boys' Basketball

'Goody-Goody' Granger Steps Up
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 22, 2007; E07

Lee senior Alex Granger had never been in trouble at school until Tuesday, when he was issued an in-school suspension for having a cellphone in class. The daylong detention meant he missed the Lancers' basketball game that night and earned some ridicule from his teammates.

"He's a goody-goody," sophomore forward Walter Griffin said of Granger.

Last night, in a 54-47 upset of No. 18 Lake Braddock, Granger was better than good.

The guard scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Lancers (6-1, 1-0) earned their first victory over the Bruins (4-1, 0-1) since joining to the Patriot District in 2005.

Granger made a pair of three-pointers and added two layups in less than five minutes to help Lee rally from an 11-point deficit.

Entering last night's game, Lee was 0-4 against Lake Braddock and had lost those games by an average margin of 22.5 points.

"I'm sure that people still don't know me, but I'm not worried about that," said Granger, who had 19 points this season before last night. "We are one of those teams that we have so many weapons, it's going to come from somewhere."

Granger replaced starter Andres Vitola, who was benched for drawing a technical foul.

Vitola was just one of several Lancers to become frustrated as they failed to score for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter and fell behind, 44-33.

Then Granger entered and the Lancers outscored the Bruins 21-3 in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

"It's a tribute to him because he hasn't gotten a lot of minutes before this, but he's stuck with it," Lee Coach Mike Harris said.

Lee's fourth consecutive victory helped the Lancers match their win total from last season's disappointing 6-15 finish. Lee is just 13-37 since 2005.

"This means something to the program and the fans," Griffin said. "We want to show them that we are here to work."

As for Granger, he says he has no plans to bring his cellphone back to school.

"I was putting it in my backpack," said Granger, who missed Lee's 54-43 win at Robinson. "But the rule is, if the teacher sees it, you get an automatic suspension. That's the first time I've ever had a suspension. It will never happen again."

Lee 54, No. 18 Lake Braddock 47

300 Club: Lake Braddock Coach Brian Metress was honored before Tuesday's win over Westfield for earning his 300th win in the Bruins' first game of the season. Lee Coach Mike Harris, in his 14th season, won his 290th last night.

Free Throw Woes: Lake Braddock was 15 of 25 from the free throw line and committed 18 turnovers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Washington Post All-Met

Check out The Washington Post's All-Met section.

About This Section
Coaches from more than 250 schools in the Washington area were invited to nominate top athletes from their sports. Selections were made by The Post's scholastic sports staff.

All-Met is a selection of the best high school athletes in the Washington D.C. Metro.

Check out the video.

All Extra Teams
Southern Maryland
Washington D.C.
Montgomery County
Prince George's County
Fairfax County

Monday, December 17, 2007

Edison Boys Basketball

Edison's Wallace Is Serving Notice in Northern Region
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, December 18, 2007; E08

Edison boys' basketball coach Kevin Quinlan called senior forward Kendall Wallace a "quintessential gamer." "A beast and a warrior," Quinlan adds.

He could have included one more: "Streak-killer."

The 6-foot-2 forward scored a season-high 27 points in Friday's 79-74 win at T.C. Williams, which marked the first time a Northern Region team has defeated the Titans since the 2005-06 season.

It is fitting that the Eagles (3-2), still riding the high of Friday's upset over then-No. 8 T.C. Williams (2-1), head to Herndon (1-2) tonight -- the site of another one of Wallace's streak-ending performances.

Last January, Wallace scored 22 points as Edison topped Herndon, 63-60, and ended the Hornets' home-court winning streak at 21.

That win also snapped Herndon's undefeated streak against region opponents that had spanned nearly two seasons and more than 30 games.

"Our saying is that we have 26 strong, including the girls [team], and that's the only people that believe in us," Wallace said of the Eagles' underdog mentality. "All the teams say we can't do this and we can't do that. That's how I get Edison hyped for the game."

T.C. Williams came into Friday's game 51-10 since third-year coach Ivan Thomas took over, including 34-0 in the Patriot District.

Friday's upset made Edison 2-1 against T.C. Williams since 2005. The Eagles are the only Northern Region team with a winning record against the Titans during that time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Boys Basketball

South Lakes Gets Assist From Byrd
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 15, 2007; E09

South Lakes-Herndon has long been one of the area's most storied boys' basketball rivalries.

Before last night's game, first-year Seahawks coach Darryl Branch, seeking to end a losing streak to the Hornets that had lasted more than three years, reached out to the man he replaced -- Wendell Byrd -- in an attempt to quell his own frayed nerves.

The conversation paid dividends, as the Seahawks turned back the Hornets, 68-59, in a packed gym in Herndon.

"I talked to Wendell this morning," Branch said. "He told me he was coming to the game."

Byrd, who coached South Lakes for 23 years before stepping down last spring, was indeed in attendance to watch his former team. But these players are Branch's now, and they knew the importance of the win for their new coach.

"It's big for our coach because it's his first year," said South Lakes forward Jay Bowman, who scored 17 points to go with five rebounds and two blocks. "We just wanted to get the win for Branch."

Branch, an assistant to Byrd for 13 years, earned South Lakes' first win over Herndon since the 2003 Northern Region final, and it was the first win in what Herndon Athletic Director Mike Mahoney called a "new era" in the series.

Herndon also was sporting a new coach in Chris Whelan, a 1996 Herndon graduate who replaced Gary Hall, his former coach.

Herndon senior guard Nicco Berry made six three-pointers for a game-high 18 points, but four Seahawks scored in double figures to give South Lakes (3-1) its third straight victory.
Herndon dropped to 1-2.

"This was intense," Branch said. "I love this atmosphere. I would like to play in a bigger venue to get more people into the game, but there's something about playing here."

Bowman scored 11 of 17 points in the first quarter to help the Seahawks take an 18-16 lead. Following three ties and three lead changes in the first quarter, South Lakes never trailed and built a 12-point lead in the third quarter.

Senior guard Curtis Keys added 15 points and A.J. Price scored nine of his 13 points in the second half to fend off a late charge by Herndon, which cut the lead to three with 3 minutes 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

"It's crazy," Price said. "I don't know any other way to explain this. All rivalries are exciting and everyone wants to win, so it's a good feeling to win one."

South Lakes 68, Herndon 59

Not in the Box Score:
Herndon's administration hired 12 police officers to control a venue that had sold out by 6:15 p.m. and was standing room only before the start of the 6:00 p.m. girls' game.

Transfers Help: Herndon got 24 of its points from transfers. Tucker Lucas (O'Connell) scored 10 points and Joey Marentette (Westfield) added 14 points.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hoops Notebook

Court Report This Week in Northern Region High School Basketball
Thursday, December 13, 2007; VA20

Even though the Herndon and South Lakes boys' basketball teams have new head coaches, both already understand the importance of Friday's game at Herndon.

"I'm very familiar with the Herndon-South Lakes game," said Hornets Coach Chris Whelan, who played at Herndon and graduated in 1996.

South Lakes Coach Darryl Branch, who graduated from the Reston school in 1989, played in the rivalry and was an assistant coach for 13 seasons before taking over the program.

"I enjoy the atmosphere at Herndon, having all the people on top of you like that," Branch said. "I remember being over there years ago as a player and just being so hot and having sweat coming off your face, and it hasn't changed as an assistant coach."

Whelan and Branch replaced coaches who built two of the area's most successful programs over the past two decades. Both were coached by the men they replaced.

In 23 seasons, Wendell Byrd posted a 441-153 record and led South Lakes to 12 district titles and six region titles. In 18 seasons, Gary Hall coached Herndon to a 319-146 record en route to six Concorde District titles and one regional title.

Herndon's 68-64 win over South Lakes last December gave Hall his 300th career victory.
"These players have grown up with each other, and they are friends," Whelan said. "We don't want it to become a personal battle. Players always want to show up their best friend on the other team."

Herndon, which had nine seniors from last season's 21-3 team graduate, will have the help of three transfers, Joey Marentette (Westfield), Jared Johnson (O'Connell) and Tucker Lucas (Ireton). Lucas, who scored seven points in Herndon's season-opening 45-38 win at Washington-Lee, is the younger brother of former Herndon star Ricky Lucas (Stony Brook).
South Lakes is led by senior guard Curtis Keys and senior forward Jay Bowman.

"Hopefully, we can handle them inside and use our speed to our advantage," Branch said.

Madison Coach Chris Kuhblank drew up the buzzer-beating play perfectly, and the Warhawks executed the scheme, known as "Dumbo," to perfection Friday. The result: a 66-64 win over Oakton.

With the game tied at 64 with three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Kuhblank called timeout and called the play. Why "Dumbo"?

"We think that everyone is going to [defend] it dumb," Kuhblank said.
Senior forward Scott LeDuc, who led Madison with 17 points, ran toward guard Keith Moyer "screaming for the ball," Kuhblank said.

Moyer instead sent a lob pass to a streaking Collin Flaherty, who tipped in the offering to beat the buzzer. The tip-in gave Madison its third straight victory over Oakton.

"I was really proud of the pass and the catch," Kuhblank said. "It was textbook. That play was executed to a T."

At times during Jefferson's 1-20 finish last season, Colonials Coach Ed Grimm was tempted to bring up some of his junior varsity stars to help the varsity team.

"We just had a [junior varsity] group together that we didn't want to divide up," Grimm said. "We probably could have brought some of those kids up and won two or three more games, but the thinking was that we wanted them to learn how to win first. We bit the bullet on varsity."

Grimm's patience has paid off for Jefferson, which has won its first two games. Senior guard Will Riedel's leaning 12-foot jump shot with less than three seconds remaining gave Jefferson a 41-39 win over Yorktown on Friday and helped the Colonials surpass last season's win total.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stone Bridge Football

Bulldogs 'Scaled Back' Against Potomac
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to the Washington Post (Loudoun Extra)
Monday, December 10, 2007

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Despite going for it four times on fourth down in a 38-0 victory over Potomac in Saturday's Virginia AAA Division 5 state final, Stone Bridge Coach Mickey Thompson thought he'd actually tempered his aggressive nature.

"I thought we scaled it back a bit," Thompson said with a grin. "I mean, we punted, more than once."

Thompson has garnered a reputation for his aggressive style and big-play mentality.

Both were in full view Saturday as Stone Bridge scored on three plays of more than 20 yards and attempted an onside kick.

"If you have that mentality and you expect your players to make big plays, they grow up that way," said Thompson, who went for it seven times on fourth down in a 15-8 loss to Hampton in the 2005 AAA Division 5 championship game.

Stone Bridge (14-1) converted four fourth down tries, including a four-yard run by Virginia Tech-bound star Jeron Gouveia on the Bulldogs' opening possession of the second half that "set the tone that we are still in charge," Thompson said.

Added Gouveia: "I want to get the ball in clutch situations. If it's fourth and short, I'm getting the ball and getting two yards."

Stone Bridge also rushed Potomac (13-1) into two missed field goals and forced a fumble on a punt to set up a 31-yard field goal that gave the Bulldogs a 17-0 lead at halftime.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hubbard Feature

His Father's Son, Westfield's Hubbard Shows His Versatility
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, December 6, 2007; VA20

As he squeezed his 6-foot-6 frame into a desk in his Westfield High School classroom, senior forward Maurice Hubbard was surprisingly comfortable.

It's all part of his "roll with the punches" attitude.

The approach has helped the 17-year-old, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds last season, adjust to his environment after moving three times before he was in the seventh grade.

It's also helped Maurice, known as 'Mo,' shrug off his critics.

"They say I'm selfish and I'm living off my dad's name," said Hubbard, the son of Washington Wizards assistant coach Phil Hubbard.

Maurice talked about the opportunities his dad has created for him, and explained how his father helped him improved his game during offseason Wizards pick-up games at Verizon Center. He talked about how he and his father will break down game tape together.

Then he leaned forward, unfolded his hands and said: "I know he's there helping me, but he can't do everything on the court for me."

Phil Hubbard is one of four players who has had his number (35) retired at the University of Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to the 1976 NCAA championship and helped the U.S. Olympic team win a gold medal that summer in Montreal. He spent 10 seasons in the NBA with Cleveland and Detroit and was an assistant coach at Golden State and Atlanta before coming to Washington.

"There's always going to be comparisons," Phil Hubbard said. "I'm in basketball. He's in basketball, so that's just a natural thing. I think it's very tough, but I think he's handled it well, knowing that there is always going to be some comparison. That's why he's picked the places that he's picked, so that he can get his own identity."

Maurice recently signed a letter-of-intent with Ball State -- a program recently rocked by allegations of racism. Following last season's 9-22 finish, coach Ronny Thompson resigned, citing a racially hostile work environment.

Before choosing Ball State over Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth, Akron, George Mason, and Penn State, Hubbard welcomed his dad's help as the two launched their own independent investigation.

They wanted to see if the school was right fit for Maurice, "whether he is black or white," his father said.

"Is this the right place for my son? Because that's all that matters," said Phil, who used his connections with other coaches, players and journalists to help his son and him come to their conclusion.

"I felt there were more positives," Maurice said.

Maurice hoped to create his own identity or as his father said, "put his stamp on something" when he chose Westfield over local private school powerhouse programs that recruited him before he started high school.

"I was enrolled at O'Connell in eighth grade. I had my schedule and everything," Maurice said. "Me and my dad discussed it and we decided that if you are a good enough player you will be seen [by] private school or public school."

As a sophomore in 2005, Hubbard was a dominating inside presence and helped Westfield to the Concorde District title.

Last season, he was moved to guard, which many believed was to help him attract college recruiters.

But as Hubbard improved his outside shot and ball-handling, Westfield didn't find the same success, evidenced by a 77-42 blowout loss to Herndon in last season's Concorde District final.

"I'm always trying to help my team," Hubbard said. "If it's inside, I'm going to help; if it's outside, I'm going to contribute that way, too. If the coach tells me to stay inside, then I'm going to stay inside because that's what we need."

Hubbard will be called upon this season to be an inside and outside threat.

It's the same versatility that earned him a reputation of being selfish and that makes Westfield one of the top teams in the Northern Region.

In addition to Hubbard, Westfield returns starters Jamie Richardson, a 6-foot-2 guard, 6-5 forward Jon Gaston and point guard Brian Kennedy.

"Right now, I see us as at the middle of the pack because we have a lot of work to do," said Hubbard. "We have the talent to be at the top, but we just have to bring it together."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

O'Connell/Woodson Basketball

O'Connell Finds Much to Cheer About After Win
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 5, 2007; E08

After last night's 71-52 boys' basketball victory over visiting W.T. Woodson, Bishop O'Connell Coach Joe Wootten stood at the front of a classroom and read from the stat sheet.

Huddled near Wootten, sitting in a cluster of desks, the third-ranked Knights clapped in unison each time they heard a statistical category that they'd won.

After dominating nearly every facet of the game, including a 36-17 rebounding advantage, the clapping soon turned to a constant applause as Wootten continued.

"It's going to be a special year," said sophomore guard Kendall Marshall, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half and added seven assists.

Marshall, who has orally committed to North Carolina, is one of perhaps three Division I-bound players for O'Connell -- a program that has won three regular season Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles, one tournament title and four state titles in Wootten's nine seasons.

Georgetown-bound guard Jason Clark scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half to help the Knights to a 36-15 halftime lead, and 6-foot-11 senior center Frank Ben-Eze (Harvard) scored all nine of his points in the second half.

O'Connell built a 19-9 first-quarter lead and pushed its lead as high as 27 in the third.

"If I give it to Kendall, I know he can do something," said Clark, who had three assists. "Giving it to Frank, I know he can do something with it, and they know if they give it to me, I can do it, too."

Clark, Kendall and Ben-Eze each carried the Knights at different times, and 10 Knights scored as O'Connell shot 26 of 50.

"That's what's so good about Jason, a four-year varsity player," Wootten said. "He's really committed to making this about the team."

Ben-Eze, who played limited minutes because of a stress fracture in his right shin, is in his second season with the Knights after moving from Nigeria, and Marshall is one of five sophomores.

Woodson junior guard Stephen Stepka led all scorers with 23 points and hit all five of his three-point attempts in the second half.

No. 3 Bishop O'Connell 71 No. 19 W.T. Woodson 52 Craig's List: With one available date on his schedule last March, Woodson Coach Doug Craig asked his rising seniors to create a list of schools they wanted to play. "I told them, 'Anyone you want to play.' . . . They asked for O'Connell. These guys believe they can play with anyone" Craig said. Boardroom: O'Connell's coaches stressed offensive rebounding in practice heading into this game, and the Knights did not allow Woodson one offensive rebound in the first half.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Westfield Football

Glennon Leads Westfield Rally
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, December 2, 2007; D09

CHESAPEAKE, Va., Dec. 1 -- In the past six seasons at Westfield, Coach Tom Verbanic has consistently led the Bulldogs to the top of what many consider Virginia's toughest district, the AAA Concorde -- home to six of the past 11 Division 6 state champions.

He's posted a 68-6 record, won two region titles and one state title.

But after a 24-21 victory at previously undefeated Oscar Smith in a Div. 6 state semifinal Saturday, Verbanic was hard-pressed to think of a tougher opponent than the Tigers.

"I haven't seen a team this good," said Verbanic, shaking his head as a smile of relief peeked out from under his graying mustache.

Second-ranked Westfield (14-0) needed late-game heroics from 6-foot-6 N.C. State-bound senior quarterback Mike Glennon to overcome a Tigers attack that included single-game playoff records for completions by a quarterback, passing yardage by a quarterback, catches by a wide receiver and receiving yards by a wide receiver.

Oscar Smith sophomore quarterback Phillip Sims completed 26 of 43 passes for 480 yards and all three of his touchdowns to University of North Carolina-bound receiver Todd Harrelson (15 catches, 354 yards, 3 touchdowns).

The gaudy numbers went for naught, however, thanks to Glennon, who led his team on a 63-yard scoring march by completing 8 of 10 passes, capping the drive with a five-yard pass to senior receiver Randy Johns that put the Bulldogs up by three with less than three minutes remaining.

Oscar Smith fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Westfield ran out the clock.

"We saw them on film all week and it was 'wow,' " Verbanic said of a Tigers squad that some recruiting observers expect to send 11 players to the Division I ranks. "What we did was we really just hung in there."

Oscar Smith (13-1), which held its previous two playoff opponents to an average of six points, allowed the most points it had all season.

"They are by far the best team we've played all year," said Glennon, who completed 18 of 34 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a one-yard score.

Westfield converted only one of 11 third downs, but on a fourth and six at the Oscar Smith 16-yard-line, Glennon found senior receiver David Kruchko for an 11-yard gain on an inside slant route that kept the game-winning drive alive. Westfield had failed on two previous fourth-down conversion attempts.

Senior defensive back and running back Brian Kennedy led the Bulldogs in tackles (10) and rushing yards (52). He scored on a 49-yard run at the start of the second half to put Westfield up 10-7 and on Oscar Smith's ensuing possession, Kennedy picked off Sims to stymie an eight-play, 66-yard inside the Bulldogs 19-yard-line.

"Brian Kennedy is a little undersized, but I think he is one of the best high school players in the state of Virginia," Glennon said of the 5-foot-8, 162-pound senior. "He's the heart and soul of our team."

Up Next: Westfield (14-0) will face Woodbridge (9-4) in Saturday's Div. 6 state final at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium at 4:30 p.m. No. 2 Westfield 24, Oscar Smith 21 Pickett's Power: Westfield wide receiver Johnny Pickett had nine catches for 180 yards, including an 83-yard bomb from Mike Glennon that set up the quarterback's one-yard touchdown run for a 17-7 lead with 2:43 left in the third quarter.

Mixed Martial Arts

Wiuff's Elbow Shot TKOs the 'Ironman'
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 1, 2007; E07

Travis "Diesel" Wiuff delivered a vicious left elbow that triggered a flow of blood from the left eye of Travis "The Ironman" Fulton and ended their match last night in front of 2,452 fans at SMASH, the first mixed martial arts event at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

"He's got over 200 wins, so I didn't want to do anything too risky," said Wiuff, whose elbow blow gave him his third victory over Fulton (181-44-9, 56 technical knockouts) 3 minutes 27 seconds into the second round of last night's main event. "He's a legend in the sport and it didn't matter that I beat him twice before. He's 'the Ironman.' "

Wiuff's 14th technical knockout, delivered from a full-mount position, pushed his record to 48-11.

In his professional debut, Johnny Curtis of Manassas used an arm triangle to choke out Bill Clifford (5-3) 1:44 into the first round of the ninth and final bout on the undercard.

"I think the guy was a little more scared than he should have been, but I'll take all the respect he wants to give me," said Curtis, 37, whose wrestling resume has brought him that kind of respect.

Curtis, a graduate of Fairfax High School, was a two-time all-American wrestler at George Mason before graduating with a degree in government and politics in 1993.

Though he fell short in his quest to become an Olympic wrestler, the former U.S. national team member -- a towering presence at 6 feet 3, 233 pounds -- won't rule out a career in some form of fighting.

"Right now this is just a glorified hobby," said Curtis, a husband and father of four who runs a tree removal service in Manassas and earned first-round submissions in three amateur fights since August. "I'm hearing that they might do this again. If they have another event here, I really see the numbers picking up."

Jimmy Lange Enterprises and Ice Promotions, both key parties in recent boxing events held at the Fairfax campus, promoted last night's event and are considering making Patriot Center the hub of combat sports in the metro area.

"I don't think people around Virginia have been exposed to real good MMA like this," said Lange, a veteran professional boxer from Great Falls who will appear in his fifth boxing match at Patriot Center on March 29. "If you put on a good show anywhere, it will gain traction."

Jackie Kallen, head of Ice Promotions, expects mixed martial arts to catch on in Virginia.
"Boxing is being outdrawn by MMA in many cities," said Kallen. "This is the first one [in Northern Virginia]. Is it worth doing it again at this large of a venue? We'll look at the numbers and see what happens."