Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Terrence Stephens, Quince Orchard

Terrence Stephens, Quince Orchard

This week's Recruiting Spotlight features reporter B.J. Koubaroulis sitting down with Quince Orchard's Terrence Stephens, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive lineman with offers from Maryland, Nebraska, Stanford, West Virginia, Syracuse, N.C. State, Connecticut and Penn State. Stephens, a talented singer, was cut in the early rounds of Fox's American Idol, allowing him to focus on the football field, where the All-Met helped Quince Orchard (14-0) to a state championship and the Post's No. 1 ranking by terrorizing quarterbacks with 10.5 sacks, 56 tackles and two interceptions. Stephens placed second in the Maryland 285-pound state wrestling finals furthering his transformation from a once soft ninth-grader that football coach Dave Mencarini nicknamed "pillow."


Battlefield Girls' Soccer

High-Scoring Duo Could Put Battlefield on the Map
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 30, 2008; E10

In many ways, Battlefield High School forwards Jessica Jewell and Sahar Aflaki share the same story.

They are two of the state's most dynamic and talented forwards, yet most girls' soccer coaches and players outside of the Virginia AAA Cedar Run District have never heard of them.

"No one has really emerged from the Cedar Run on the state level," Bobcats Coach Kevin Hilton said. "I think people look at Battlefield and think, 'That's a pretty good program, but I don't know if it's a great program.' "

If that is to change, Battlefield (10-1) -- a fourth-year program that has never made it past the Virginia AAA Northwest Region tournament's first round -- will rely heavily on Jewell and Aflaki, who have combined for 31 of the Bobcats' 46 goals this season.

Jewell, positioned at defender for her first two seasons of high school, has thrived as a forward, scoring 14 goals last season and recording 15 goals and 10 assists midway through this spring.

The 5-foot-5, aggressive speedster had an assist in Battlefield's 4-1 victory over Fauquier last night, but has yet to receive a college scholarship offer. She is considering walking on at the college level.

"I don't know how she slipped through the cracks, honestly," Hilton said.

Because Aflaki, a sophomore, missed most of last season with an ankle injury, she too entered this season "flying under the radar," Hilton said.

Aflaki has scored 16 goals (with seven assists), including a 30-yard game-winner in the 79th minute of a 3-2 victory over Osbourn Park on April 18.

"Jesse is more 'get into the box and take people on,' and Sahar has a really strong shot," Hilton said. "At least in our district, I don't know if there is a better tandem up top."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spratt Beats Von Flue in Mixed Martial Arts

Spratt Beats Von Flue in Mixed Martial Arts
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, April 27, 2008; D11

Instead of gripping Pete Spratt's left leg on his single-leg takedown attempt, Jason Von Flue stumbled face-first into Spratt's step-back right-handed uppercut knockout blow, which folded Von Flue 1 minute 10 seconds into the main event of Ultimate Warrior Challenge-INVASION -- last night's nine-card Mixed Martial Arts cage-style event at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

"On a couple of his shot attempts, he was ducking under my punches," said Spratt, a 5-foot-9 169-pounder, who bounced back after a controversial loss to Ryan Ford. "I thought the next time he shoots, I'm going to throw low and that's what I did. I caught him on the throat and stopped the blood-flow to the brain."

Spratt (20-11) dominated the fight from the start, taking control on a few erratic right hooks during an early flurry. He followed a left roundhouse kick with several devastating body shots that sent Von Flue (12-9-1) back-pedaling and to the hexagon's canvas three times within the first three minutes.

"I saw the fear and smelled blood and went for the finish," Spratt said.

The event, promoted as the biggest ever MMA event here, drew 4,828 fans and featured a mix of top fighters from organizations such as UFC, Pride, IFL and Bodog as well as locals from the region's top gyms.

It was the second event at Patriot Center, following SMASH -- a Nov. 30 10-card bout organized by local promoters that drew fewer than 2,500 fans.

According to promoters, UWC plans another card at Patriot Center in September.

In his return from Albuquerque, former DeMatha wrestler and two-time All-Met Marcus Foran (6-2) was the local favorite, sinking a deep arm-bar that submitted Baltimore's Tenyeh Dixon (2-3) 4:24 into the second round.

Foran spun off a side-mount and caught Dixon's arm and "tried to break it off," said Foran, who threw his hips into the lock, forcing Dixon to tap out. "I've been looking forward to this since the day they said 'Hey, you're fighting in the D.C. area.' "

Herndon-based gym One Spirit Martial Arts went 2-1 with wins from Reshad Woods and Aaron Riley while Reston native and former George Mason wrestler Johnny Curtis dropped to 1-1 in his pro career, falling on a solid right hook knockout blow from Josh Feldman (1-0) 1:07 into the first round.

Woods, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, knocked out Ron Stallings (5-2-1) 1:25 into the first round, narrowly avoiding an arm-bar submission by power-slamming Stallings back to the canvas, leaving him unconscious.

"My instinct just took over," said Woods (5-1). The arm-bar "was really tight. . . . That was the last resort."

Riley (24-10-1) overwhelmed Brazil's Thiago Minu, pounding Minu with a series of hammer-fists, body shots and hooks from a mounted position, earning a unanimous decision.

District native Mike Easton (5-1) followed a series of leg kicks with a devastating right that gave him a first-round knockout of Gerald Levato (5-4).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Brothers Combine Interests, Find Home In UWC

Brothers Combine Interests, Find Home In UWC


Marcus and Marcello Foran always have been close, but until recently, the two brothers from Prince George's County have not had the chance to combine their very different interests.

Marcus, a two-time All-Met wrestler who was inducted into the DeMatha Athletic Hall of Fame in October, always has been the tough guy, according to Marcello, a 38-year-old entrepreneur. "I've always been the businessperson," he said.

The Foran brothers found the perfect event for their combination of tough guy and business savvy in the Ultimate Warrior Challenge -- Invasion, tonight's 10-card, mixed martial arts cage-style draw at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

Marcello, owner and founder of UWC, and Marcus, who is fighting in the event, have "been feeding off of each other for this," said Marcus, 33, a former Special Forces Marine who earned a black belt in traditional Japanese karate while stationed in Okinawa for nearly seven years.

"I'm going to fight in front of everyone [I] knew growing up, and I'm not going to lose in front of them," said Marcus, who was 153-10-3 as a high school wrestler. He competed primarily at DeMatha before graduating from Riverdale Baptist, where he went 35-3-2 and placed third nationally in 1993. "The wrestling has been my biggest asset when it comes to MMA."

Marcus (4-2) spent a month in the Philippines dieting and training for tonight's 185-pound match against Baltimore's Tenyeh Dixon (2-2). Marcus said he expects to use a combination of wrestling, military combat techniques and Japanese karate.

Marcello's preparation for tonight's card?

"I did Carmen Electra's birthday last Saturday at PUR Nightclub, and then I was with Fergie down in Atlantis [in the Bahamas] last weekend," said Marcello, who built his Las Vegas-based business -- Ultimate VIP -- establishing exclusive getaways and experiences for the rich and famous, before stumbling into fight promotion. "I went to support my brother at his first fight in Albuquerque, and I got pumped up. I was like . . . this is going to blow up."

Tonight's main event will be headlined by 170-pounders Pete Spratt (19-11) and Jason Von Flue (12-8-1), and the card includes fighters who previously have competed in organizations such as the UFC, Pride, IFL and Bodog as well as locals from the region's top gyms, including Lloyd Irvin's Martial Arts, Ground Control Academy, One Spirit Martial Arts and the Mario Yamasaki Academy, run by the top UFC referee.

On Nov. 30, SMASH -- a 10-card bout organized by local promoters -- drew fewer than 2,500 fans, a number that Marcello hoped to double by improving the talent level of the fighters involved and by promising appearances by MMA stars such as UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton"Rampage" Jackson and WEC welterweight champion Carlos"Natural Born Killer" Condit.

While Marcello is content selling tonight's event to the relatively untapped MMA audience in the Washington area, Marcus is focused on a different sort of successful homecoming.

"I never thought I'd be fighting back close to my home town," Marcus said. "At this point right now, I'm more excited. It brings my intensity up, and it brought my training intensity up."

-- B.J. Koubaroulis

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Darin Drakeford, Theodore Roosevelt

Darin Drakeford, Theodore Roosevelt

This week's Recruiting Spotlight features reporter B.J. Koubaroulis sitting down with Theodore Roosevelt linebacker and defensive end Darin Drakeford. Despite not having played organized football before high school, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound second team All-Met recorded a school record 22 sacks last season. Drakeford, the Eastern Board of Officials Defensive Player of the Year, has offers from Maryland and Illinois. Also a basketball player, Drakeford averaged 9.8 points per game and was the MVP of the City Title Game. He helped Roosevelt (19-9) to its first D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title since 1972.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lake Braddock Girls' Soccer

Midfielder Saves Day For Lake Braddock
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 23, 2008; E11

Before last week, Lake Braddock junior Christine Tuebner's goalkeeping résumé was very light, sporting just a few junior varsity starts.

But with the Bruins' starting goalkeeper, Caitlin Landsman, out with a club team commitment and backup Liz Morgan sidelined with an injured knee, Tuebner -- a junior midfielder -- was quickly tabbed as the most qualified goalie for last Thursday's match against Virginia AAA Patriot District rival West Springfield (7-1, 3-1).

"She was terrified, but she answered the bell," Lake Braddock Coach Adam Soos said.
Tuebner made key saves down the stretch to help Lake Braddock (5-3, 4-0) capture this season's most notable girls' soccer upset -- a 3-1 victory over then undefeated and top-ranked West Springfield.

West Springfield is an offensive juggernaut, averaging 3.5 goals per game. It has scored six or more goals in three games this season.

"I was a bit surprised, not because I didn't think we could do it, but because I wasn't sure we had done enough maturation yet to knock off a team with as much talent as West Springfield has," Soos said.

Thursday's victory was the Bruins' fourth in a row following a 1-3 start. The victory could be a sign that Lake Braddock made an early emergence from what was supposed to be a rebuilding period after losing its coach and 13 seniors -- 10 of whom are playing college soccer -- from a squad that won two straight Virginia AAA championships.

The loss of such a core group has required many of Lake Braddock's young players to take on unfamiliar roles while juniors such as Tuebner have filled in the gaps.

"I've been preaching progress by inches," Soos said, "and I think that has been important for an inexperienced group to learn that it all doesn't have to come at once."

Ohio State Gets Another D.C. Area Player

From Josh Barr's Recruiting Blog

Ohio State Gets Another D.C. Area Player

Colleague B.J. Koubaroulis, fresh off a marathon session of interviews for upcoming recruiting spotlight videos, files this report:

Lackey defensive back Darrell Givens verbally committed to play football at Ohio State during an unofficial visit to campus this past weekend.

Givens, a 6-foot, 180-pound speedy corner, recorded 44 tackles, three interceptions, six pass deflections and caused two fumbles, helping Lackey to a 7-6 finish this fall and garnering 20 official offers from the likes of Florida, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Michigan, according to Chargers Coach Doug Lamb.

"Everything I was looking for in a school was at Ohio State. It's a great family environment. The facilities are top of the line and it has a great fan base. They have a great stable coaching staff," said Givens. "When I made the decision I was glad to get it over with. It was like a weight was lifted off my chest."

Givens has been clocked at a 4.46-second 40-yard dash and "He's got those big long arms and he's real lanky and I know that's what a lot of people look for in corners," Lamb said. "He was down there for the spring game and there's 70,000 people there and he came in and he's standing next to [the nation's top high school recruit] Terrelle Pryor and Lamar Thomas and guys that he knew and they are yelling his name and cheering for him. ...Playing every single game and possibly playing in the national championship, I'm sure, went into the decision."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Campanaro to Wake Forest

From Josh Barr's recruiting blog at Washingtonpost.com

More On Campanaro/Wake Forest
Colleague B.J. Koubaroulis caught up with River Hill junior Michael Campanaro, who orally committed to play football at Wake Forest during an unofficial visit to campus this past Saturday.
Campanaro, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back/wide receiver/defensive back, chose the Demon Deacons over offers from North Carolina, Northwestern and Akron because "the spread offense is what I was looking for," said the All-Met who totaled 2,310 all purpose yards and 30 touchdowns last season. "They are going to let me run the slot and run the ball. That's what I do at River Hill and that's my strength."
Campanaro, Howard County's Player of the Year, helped River Hill (14-0) to its first state championship last fall and has 3,955 career yards and more than 50 touchdowns -- both school records.
As a defensive back last fall, Campanaro had 51 tackles and three interceptions and as a punt-returner, the diverse threat averaged 25.9 yards per return.
"I felt like a lot more schools were close to offering, but even with all the offers in the world, Wake was going to be the school to go to," Campanaro said.

Woodbridge Girls' Soccer

An Unlikely Save Delivers Overtime -- and the Win
Senior Forward Smith Comes Out Strong for Vikings:
No. 9 Woodbridge 1, Forest Park 0

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, April 20, 2008; PW09

Woodbridge senior goalkeeper Heather Harvey rolled over and snapped her head back to see the result of her poorly timed slide tackle near the edge of the penalty box.

She watched with great concern from her spot on the grass, expecting that Forest Park senior forward Lauren Agyekum's 10-yard shot in the 60th minute -- the Bruins' first shot on goal -- would be the winner in Friday's meeting.

Instead, Harvey saw teammate Kathleen Smith step in front of the empty net, where she cleared Agyekum's offering.

The unorthodox save forced overtime, where Smith again shined, this time on offense, assisting on the goal that gave ninth-ranked Woodbridge a 1-0 home victory.

"I just stayed in front of the goal and prayed," said Smith, who booted away Agyekum's low-rolling shot.

Woodbridge (7-1, 3-0 AAA Cardinal District), last season's district and Northwest Region champion, won its sixth straight and earned its third shutout of the season.

Forest Park fell to 5-2-1, 1-1-1.

"She's my hero for saving that ball," said Harvey, who finished with five saves. "We have a really good connection because we've been playing together for so long, so I can always count on her to get my back."

Smith's defensive play in regulation made way for her game-winning assist in overtime: a 35-yard right-footed free kick that deflected off of junior Rihana Williams's head before junior forward Shondel Archer toed the ball to the front right corner of the net in the 88th minute.

"The ball came from behind me, and it was in the air, and I just started poking because I knew we needed the goal," said Archer, who awkwardly tipped the ball home with her right foot.

Woodbridge used a series of passing drills between midfielders Williams, Katie Douez, Casey Burdette and Ashley Evans to control the pace and stall Forest Park's high-scoring trio of Alex Maddox (six goals this season), Stephanie Damren (four goals) and Delaney Tomczak (four goals).

The pace, however, also disrupted Woodbridge's offensive flow as the Vikings failed to create quality chances for their forwards, earning four shots on goal and three corner tries.

"I just don't think we played sharp tonight," Woodbridge Coach Scott Kerns said. "We were giving it up with poor passing and poor touches."

The Vikings' only quality chance of the first half -- Brianna Nottingham's give-and-go finish from Kellsey Costello-Mays -- was waved off in the 34th minute, when Nottingham was ruled offside.

"We weren't connecting, and our first touch was off, but we fought," Smith said.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mike Olson Commits to Wake Forest

From Josh Barr's Blog...

Another Stone Bridger Is ACC Bound

While the Thompsons wait to reach their decision, a teammate has made his choice, reports colleague (and Stone Bridge pom-pom waver) B.J. Koubaroulis, who passes along this report:
Stone Bridge junior Mike Olson orally committed to play football at Wake Forest.

Olson, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound linebacker, accepted his first official offer after visiting the Winston-Salem, N.C. campus last weekend.

"He was ready to take [the offer] because, when he went down and visited, he really liked it," said Stone Bridge football coach Mickey Thompson.

Olson had been to junior days at N.C. State, Virginia, Boston College and Syracuse, without receiving an official offer, but the Demon Deacons expressed interest in Olson during Thompson's visit to Winston-Salem with his twin junior sons - quarterback Patrick and defensive end Zach.

"I came back and told him he needed to go down there and visit," Thompson added. "He really liked Wake, so he went ahead and pulled the trigger."

Olson recorded 103 tackles (71 first hits, 32 assists) and four sacks and helped No. 6 Stone Bridge (14-1) win the Virginia AAA Division 5 title this past season.

Olson is the third Stone Bridge junior to commit to an ACC school. Previously, defensive end Brian Slay picked North Carolina State and offensive line David Wang chose Virginia Tech.

Recruiting Spotlight-Thompson Twins

Thompson Twins Video

I have begun a new venture with The Washington Post, profiling the top returning football recruits in the Washington D.C. Metro area.

All videos produced by Atkinson and Co.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Recruiting Spotlight/Brian Slay

Brian Slay, Stone Bridge/N.C. State

I have begun a new venture with The Washington Post, profiling the top returning football recruits in the Washington D.C. Metro area.

All videos produced by Atkinson and Co.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Girls' Soccer-Chantilly/Colonial Forge

Bristol Is Down, Far From Out
Chantilly Star Roughed Up, but Returns to Set Up Goal in Tie

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 2, 2008; E04

Chantilly junior Cortlyn Bristol's first two possessions in last night's 1-1 tie with visiting South County ended with the All-Met lying facedown in the grass after absorbing a body check and a slide tackle from the Stallions' defense.

That's the kind of aggressive treatment the William & Mary-bound midfielder has earned after scoring 37 goals in her career and five of No. 6 Chantilly's seven goals this season.

"I don't like getting taken down," said Bristol, who left the game in the 23rd minute with a bloody elbow and then was carried off the field in the 29th minute with an injured left ankle and did not return until the second half. "If someone pushes me, I get up and go 150 percent and being taken down twice like that is major."

Six minutes after returning to action, Bristol delivered a 35-yard right-footed offering off a free kick to midfield companion Katie Menzie, who converted the header near the right post for a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute.

The goal helped the Chargers (2-0-2) rebound after No. 3 South County (3-0-1) dominated the first half, as seven Stallions combined for 10 shots, five going on goal. South County also had seven corner kicks in the first half, compared with zero for Chantilly.

South County freshman midfielder Kelley Johnson scored in the 72nd minute to tie the game, which ended after regulation because both coaches agreed not to play the extra periods in order to rest their players for upcoming district games.

"I was nervous because I didn't want to miss it," said Johnson, who corralled teammate Alex Reed's offering and scored on a right-footed shot in full stride.

A Sense of Urgency

The drills at Colonial Forge practice are different this spring.

The good news is that they're shorter. The bad news?

"The drills are a little bit more intense, so each drill might not last as long," Eagles Coach Melissa Backus said.

With a 4-1 victory at Massaponax last night, the No. 10 Eagles (3-0) showed off their renewed focus following last season's 18-3-1 campaign, which ended with a 3-1 loss to Centreville in the first round of the Virginia AAA tournament.

It was the program's first state tournament berth. "I think they weren't ready for that experience, going that far in the playoffs," Backus said.

Now, with four college-bound seniors -- midfielder Sarah Strand (Virginia Military Institute), defender Caitlin Hickey (West Virginia), defender Jordan Zarone (James Madison) and goalkeeper Jamie Alcala (Pfeiffer) -- Colonial Forge is playing with a hunger that is fueled by the looming graduation of its star-studded senior class.

"Everyone is pretty conscious of that fact that our senior class is pretty talented and that, when they go, there are going to be some big shoes to fill," Backus said.

The Eagles already have avenged their loss to Woodbridge in last season's Northwest Region championship game, handing the Vikings a 2-0 defeat in their season opener and following that with a 2-1 victory over North Stafford.