If Kevin McLeod has is way, the MPSSAA will grow by one member between now and the 2010 football season.
McLeod, the football coach at Silver Oak Academy, confirmed Thursday at that the school has applied for membership in the MPSSAA with hopes to join the organization in time for the 2010 football season. McLeod said the school is also looking to join the Monocacy Valley Athletic League and the Carroll County League within in the next year. MPSSAA football director Lynn Carr confirmed Silver Oak's application but indicated it was more likely the school would be admitted for the 2011 football season.
Silver Oak, located in Union Bridge, near Westminster, is an academy of at-risk students. It opened this past school year with 15 students, yet fielded a varsity football team with a six-game schedule. McLeod expects the school to grow to 50 students by the end of February. Students are sent to Silver Oak either through adjudicated court cases or through social services.
McLeod has assembled a six-game schedule for 2010 and is looking to fill four dates (the weekends of Sept. 4, Oct. 8 and 29, Nov. 6). Silver Oak meets the MPSSAA Standards of Competition. However, if Silver Oak is admitted to the MPSSAA, it will be forced to revamp its current schedule, which includes three games against non-sanctioned Christian schools and one club team.
Silver Oak certainly will not be the first non-traditional school to join the MPSSAA, if it is accepted. In fact, since the academy follows the same basic educational guidelines, it likely will be accepted into the MPSSAA. As for non-traditional MPSSAA schools, Maryland School for the Deaf was an MPSSAA member for a brief time in the 1970s. More recently, juvenile offender facilities Victor Cullen Academy and Charles Hickey School were MPSSAA members from the mid-1990s until both facilities closed in the early 2000s. Hickey is the only non-traditional high school to qualify for the playoffs, losing in the state quarterfinals all three times.
The new lights planned for Southern's facility are coming just in time to shine brightly on a pair of rising prospects.
Current juniors Davonte Burke, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound running back/defensive back, and Hunter Riggs, a 5-10, 180-pound outside linebacker, are starting to get recruiting interest, according to coach Russ Meyers. Burke was an all-county selection last year and is receiving early I-A interest for his big-play ability. Last season he had 10 touchdowns of 50-plus yards, through rushing receiving and kick returns. Burke and Riggs are scheduled to attend the Nike Combine at Old Mill and the Maryland Junior Day. Riggs may opt for the Nike Combine in Pittsburgh, instead of Old Mill, Meyers said.
In other Southern news, the boost club recently finished a new field house at the stadium to house home and away locker room, public bathrooms, coaches offices and an officials room. The field house was the first of three major improvements planned for the stadium. New lights should be installed prior to the season and a year from now Southern is scheduled to replace its grass field with turf, similar to many other Anne Arundel County schools.
Cambridge-South Dorchester, once the model of consistency in the Bayside Conference, is in the market for its third head coach in less than a year.
Athletic director Sandy Woolfolk said that the job posting for a new coach closed Thursday, and the selection committee will start interviews in early February. Woolfolk said the plan is for the selection committee to rank-order the applicants for the principal by March. Woolfolk said it is a priority that the next head coach be in the school, therefore she said a hire likely will not take place until April when the principal has a chance to assess the teaching openings.
Cambridge-S.D. seemed to be on steady grounds with Jake Coleman has head coach entering his fifth season last year. However, just days prior to the start of camp, Coleman resigned. Montre Jenkins was a one-season fill-in last year.