2016 Tri-State Football Standings
2015 Tri-State Football Standings
Banks named Brunswick Head Coach
Roughly two decades ago, as a defensive back on Bowie State’s football team, Chris Banks faced many of the same questions.
Who was the new coach going to be? How will he look at me? Where will I fit in? Will I fit in?
Banks, now 43, had just finished his junior year when the Bulldogs decided to change coaches.
“There’s a lot of stuff you wonder,” he said.
That’s basically the exact same audience Banks faced Wednesday evening when he faced his new players for the first time. He was named Brunswick’s new varsity football coach earlier in the day.
“I know what it’s like to go through something like this. I know how they feel,” Banks said.
The challenge facing Banks — the first black varsity head football coach in Frederick County in 34 years — and the Railroaders is complicated immensely by the timing of his hiring.
With only three weeks to go before the start of preseason practice (Aug. 12), Banks must assemble a coaching staff — will any assistants stay on from last season, easing the challenge? — assess the strengths and weaknesses of players, install a new offense and defense and learn something about opponents with whom he is unfamiliar.
“It is what it is,” said Banks, who sounds up for the challenge. “I think the best thing we can do is not make any excuses and keep going forward. We’ve got to keep this train going.”
This will be the first head coaching job for Banks, who has held assistant coaching jobs at various high schools and colleges, including a two-year stint as a defensive line assistant at the University of Maryland on the staffs of both Ralph Friedgen and Randy Edsall.
Brunswick, the smallest school in Frederick County, is coming off a 4-6 season. The Railroaders are three years removed from their last playoff appearance, a trip to the Class 1A state semifinals in 2012 under former coach Patt Foster, who was 39-38 in seven seasons at Brunswick before stepping down in early June.
Foster is still a physical education teacher at the school and will be a resource. Banks said he was looking forward to speaking with him and picking his brain about the team.
“Chris Banks has an impressive background as a player and assistant coach at the college level,” Brunswick athletic director Jon Jarrett said. “During the interview process, his leadership and magnetic personality were outstanding. We felt like he had the most experience of all of our applicants, and we are excited to have him as the head football coach at Brunswick High School.”
After graduating from Bowie State, Banks wanted to continue playing football. A 6-foot-1, 215-pound safety, he hooked on with the Charlotte Rage in 1996 and then, four years later, the Richmond Speed of the Arena Football League.
“With the field only being 50 yards, the game is really different. It’s a lot faster,” said Banks, a Fort Washington native who went to Friendly High School. “There is only one (player) who doesn’t go both ways” on offense and defense.
After his playing career ended, Banks bounced around to an assortment of assistant coaching positions, including stops at the Naval Academy and the University of Louisiana Monroe, where he worked under Charlie Weatherbie.
Banks most recently served as the inside linebackers coach at Catholic University in D.C., where he had worked since 2012. He said he would still be coaching there had the opportunity at Brunswick not become available.
He is married with three children. His wife, Lisa, works at a Naval hospital in Bethesda.
Banks and the family pulled up stakes in Germantown and moved to Brunswick at the end of February. They heard about the community and fell in love with it right away.
After driving past Brunswick High School for the first time, Banks thought to himself that it might be nice to coach there one day. Now, it’s reality.
“There is a lot of work to do,” he said. “But it can be done. I am just going to have to work a little overtime.”
Ahern resigns at Williamsport
After two years as head coach of the Williamsport Wildcats varsity football team, Vince Ahearn has resigned from his post.
On Tuesday, Ahearn said he was leaving for family reasons and to pursue other opportunities.
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Williamsport nearly qualified for the Maryland Class 2A playoffs last year, just falling short despite a 6-4 record. In Ahearn's first year, the Wildcats were 3-7 as they began to learn a new system.
After two years at Suitland, Ahearn moved on to Frederick, where he spent 17 years as the head coach of the Cadets. He compiled a 71-100 record at Frederick before he took on the challenge at Williamsport, replacing Randy Longnecker.
"(Ahearn) changed the football culture at Williamsport," said Wildcats athletic director Dan Cunningham. "He had this program going in the right direction."
Behind 2014 Herald-Mail Offensive Player of the Year Saavon Brown, Ahearn's Wildcats produced a winning record last year.
Even though school is out for the summer, Cunningham hopes to move swiftly through the process of hiring a new coach. Cunningham is a former head coach at North Hagerstown who knows the importance of having a leader in place to monitor the football program throughout the offseason.
"The position is posted and we have to go through the procedures, but we would like to have a new coach in position as early as we can," Cunningham said. "I think that is important. We are young, and right now the assistant coaches on the staff have rallied around the program."
Note: One of Williamsport's annual opponents, Brunswick, also is without a head football coach. Patt Foster, the coach for the last seven years, resigned on June 9.
2015 TSP Football Standings
MVAL may be coming to an end
By SHELDON SHEALER email@example.com
For more than 40 years, Carroll County has been part of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.
It appears that relationship is going to end effective June 1, 2015, and it could mean the end of the MVAL all together.
Sources from Carroll County football programs and the supervisors of Frederick and Washington county athletics confirm that Carroll County's eight member schools will leave the MVAL, the state's largest multi-county and most decorated football conferences, at the end of the school year. The reasons for leaving are not clear, and it applies to all sports — not just football. It is uncertain, according to two county supervisors, if the MVAL will even exist next school year.
A phone call placed to supervisor of athletics in Carroll County was not returned as of Tuesday evening.
One coach from Carroll County said a formal announcement on the county decision will be made Wednesday morning.
"I can't stress how disappointed we are of this decision," said Frederick County athletics supervisor Kevin Kendro, who said he was informed of the decision Tuesday morning. "The MVAL is one of the strongest leagues in the state. ... We didn't want to see this happen."
"I'm not sure what this news means for the league," Washington County supervisor of athletics Eric Michael said. "We're just hearing this today. There'll be some discussions in the near future. To me, everything is open again. We might join up (with Frederick County) or we might explore other opportunities."
For years, rumors circulated that the Carroll County schools would break away and form their own league, but those rumors faded each time the geographically aligned MVAL would iron out schedules for the 23 member schools.
Kendro said two weeks ago the MVAL Board of Directors approved a new football alignment that was based on enrollment as opposed to geography.
"It was as fair of a schedule that you can get," Kendro said, reinforcing that the schedule was voted on and approved. "I thought everybody liked it, the three supervisors liked it — apparently Carroll County did not."
Kendro said he did not know who made the decision to withdraw Carroll County from the MVAL, saying it must have been a principals and athletic directors' decision.
One issue that arose this month, according to a football head coach from Carroll County, was satisfying the desires of the coaches regarding football scheduling. Brad Wilson, the Westminster coach, confirmed he did not have an interest in playing most of the Carroll County schools, saying a steady diet of county-based 2A and 1A opponents would hurt his chances of making the football playoffs, which are determined by a point system that takes into account opponents' school size. Westminster is the lone Class 3A school in Carroll County.
There have been 24 schools in the history of the MVAL, of which 23 are members as of the 2014-15 school year. Those 23 schools have combined for 22 football state titles, 23 runner-up and 40 semifinal finishes since the state tournament started in 1974. (In some cases, those numbers include postseason accomplishments of current MVAL members prior to those schools joining the MVAL.)
All of the current 23 members have made at least one playoff appearance in football and have combined for 175 playoff appearances. Seven MVAL teams made the postseason in 2014. South Carroll was the only MVAL team to advance to the state semifinals this year after having a run of at least one football state champion from the MVAL every year since 2009.
"I'm a bit biased, of course, but I think the MVAL is the best conference in the state," Michael said. "You look at the playoffs (in all sports) and we're well represented. Each county has its niche in what it's successful in."
This past fall, the MVAL accounted for 10 team state titles: 3A, 2A, 1A volleyball; 3A and 1A field hockey, 2A and 1A boys soccer; and three cross country team titles. In addition, there were three cross country individual champions, a golf team and an individual runner-up; and runner-up finishes in field hockey and two in soccer. Interestingly, Westminster defeated Linganore in an all-MVAL field hockey state final.
"In education, we like to say that we do things in the best interest of our students," Kendro said. "That applies to athletics. We try to do things in the best interest of our student-athletes. At this point and time, I do not see how (Carroll County leaving the MVAL) is in the best interest of student-athletes."
Kendro said he has an interest in retaining the MVAL for Frederick and Washington counties, but that right now he doesn't know what direction the principals and athletic directors from the two counties will decide.
The MVAL has its roots in the early 1970s and pre-dates the MPSSAA football state playoffs. The original MVAL was started by basketball coaches. The first MVAL football season was in 1973, and the league included Francis Scott Key and North Carroll from Carroll County and Brunswick, Catoctin and Linganore from Frederick County.
In 1974, Boonsboro joined the football league, followed by Middletown in 1975, Walkersville in 1979, and Smithsburg and Williamsport in 1982. The MVAL remained a 10-team league for much of the 1980s until Linganore and North Carroll left for the Central Maryland Conference in 1987. North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown were added to the MVAL in 1989, returning the league to its 10-member status.
In 2003, the MVAL and Central Maryland Conferences merged under the MVAL title, restoring Linganore and North Carroll to the league, in addition to adding Frederick, Thomas Johnson, Urbana from Frederick County and Century, Liberty, South Carroll, Westminster and Winters Mill from Carroll County. In 2004, Clear Spring and Tuscarora joined. Clear Spring left the league after 2008 after five winless football league seasons. Manchester Valley (2009) and Oakdale (2011) are the most recent schools to join the MVAL.
2014 MVAL Football Standings
2014 All-MVAL Piedmont Conference
2014 All-MVAL Antietam Conference
2014 MVAL STATS
Chesapeake Conference Stats