Ready to go
SMAC teams in 3 classifications prepare for postseason
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