Ready to go

SMAC teams in 3 clas­si­fi­ca­tions pre­pare for post­sea­son

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­

On Nov. 15, 2002, the Calvert Cava­liers wel­comed the Gwynn Park Yel­low Jack­ets for a firstround Class 3A South Re­gion play­off game.

Four­teen years later, Calvert’s foot­ball pro­gram is fi­nally host­ing a play­off game again. The Cava­liers earned that right when they de­feated the Lackey Charg­ers in the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale last week, 17-14, to earn the sec­ond seed in the 2A South Re­gion play­offs.

When the game kicks off at Calvert at 7 tonight, the op­po­si­tion will again be Gwynn Park of Prince Ge­orge’s County. The game is one of four in which South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence pro- grams will com­pete in with their eye on ul­ti­mately on ad­vanc­ing to play for a state cham­pi­onship at Navy-Ma- rine Corps Memo­rial Stadi- um in An­napo­lis.

Also in the 2A South, de­fend­ing 2A state cham- pi­ons and top-seeded Patux­ent will host SMAC ri­val Lackey at 7 to­inght. North Point, the third seed in the 4A East, will travel to sec­ond-seeded An­napo­lis tonight for a 7 p.m. kick, while at 1 p.m. Satur­day, McDonough will travel to Sur­rattsville to bat­tle the Hor­nets of Prince Ge­orge’s County in a 1A North matchup. McDonough is the re­gion’s No. 3 seed.

But at Calvert, the Cav- aliers will be look­ing to re­visit his­tory. In 2002, Calvert opened the play- offs with a de­ci­sive vic­tory over the Yel­low Jack­ets and then hosted even­tual 3A cham­pion Seneca Val-

ley of Mont­gomer y Coun- ty in the state semi­fi­nals the next week. Calvert head coach Rick Sneade ex­pects Gwynn Park to be a stout chal­lenge for his team.

“They have a lot of good ath­letes all over the place,” he said. “They pre­dom­i­nantly want to throw the ball. They spread things out and want to throw the ball a lit­tle bit. We’ve been work­ing on try­ing to de­fend the pass, con­tain their ath­letes on the perime­ter. You’re con- cerned that one blown cov­er­age or a kid get­ting away could be an easy, quick score.”

A year ago, Calvert (9-1 over­all in 2016) was play­ing in its first play­off

game since 2002. Then, the Cava­liers trav­eled to play county ri­val Patux- ent and left on the down­side of a 9-7 de­ci­sion. The Panthers pro­ceeded to win three more games and a state cham­pi­onship. Calvert was left to wait a year to get an­other shot. The jour­ney starts with Gwynn Park (9-1), and the Cava­liers hope the jour­ney is a long one.

“We’re pretty ex­cited to be able to play some­body from out­side the con­fer- ence,” Sneade said. “Last year was our first year in the play­offs and we went back to Patux­ent. They’re ob­vi­ously in the re­gion so you have to beat them to get out of it, but we’d love to play a team that’s a lit- tle dif­fer­ent, a team that we don’t see ev­ery week. There’s a lot at stake with that. Us be­ing a SMAC school, there’s a ri­valry be­tween SMAC and P.G. teams. There’s a lot on the line to go out and rep­re­sent SMAC.”

Calvert will also hit the post­sea­son with plenty of mo­men­tum, com­ing off last week’s win at Lackey.

“That was huge,” Sneade said. “For us to play as well as we did against a great team like Lackey was ex­tremely im­por­tant. It was a great mo­ment for us and our pro­gram.”

At Patux­ent, the

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