Tuscarora volleyball coach Ricardo Vera and then an update on football and soccer scene with Joe Ferraro

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With his team off to another good start this season, Tuscarora volleyball coach Ricardo Vera is the guest this week on The Final Score podcast.

Vera chats with host Greg Swatek about the depth and talent of his team and why it has a shot to make a run at a state championship this season. He also talks about his background in the sport as a coach and a referee, immigrating to the United States after spending his early years bouncing around South America with his family and why volleyball is such a vastly improved sport in Frederick County.

Plus, FNP sports writer Joe Ferraro stops by to talk about the high school football season and the tremendous impact the weather has already had on it, as wells as the boys soccer scene in Frederick County and how the season might shake out.

The Final Score is presented by PFP (Players Fitness and Performance).

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Walkersville football coach Joe Polce and the challenges presented by storms and heat

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After an opening week dominated by weather interruptions, Walkersville High football coach Joe Polce is the guest this week on The Final Score Podcast.

Polce chats with host Greg Swatek about the major challenges the weather has presented already this season, whether it be storms delaying games or the heat limiting what can be done in practice. Walkersville won its season opener over visiting New Era Academy 46-0. But, like many Frederick County teams, the Lions were forced to come back a day later to finish the victory by storms that rolled through the area. Polce said this has been one of the worst weather years that he can remember when it comes to the rain and the heat.

He also talks about what he likes the most about his team, which is comprised mostly of players who are new to varsity football, and the challenges of replacing 26 seniors, who, over a three-year period, won 36 of 40 games and a state championship.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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Preview of the Frederick County high school football season

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With the start of the high school football season upon us, The Final Score podcast takes an in-depth look at the coming season this week.

FNP sports writers Joe Ferraro and John Cannon and Kyle McFadden, a statewide football reporter, join host Greg Swatek to take a team-by-team look at the 10 public schools and two private schools that play football in Frederick County.

Insight and analysis is offered for every team. Plus, the guys run down who they believe will be the top five teams in Frederick County and who will be left standing at the end of the season across the state.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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Vince Ahearn, Tuscarora High School football head coach

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Just over a week away from the start of the high school football season, Tuscarora coach Vince Ahearn is the guest this week on The Final Score podcast.

Ahearn chats with host Greg Swatek about how his coach style has evolved since the end of last season, a wild 4-6 campaign for the Titans that featured impressive wins and head-scratching losses.

In light of recent allegations and problems on the college level, Ahearn addresses the culture of football and treating players the right way.

Tuscarora will open the season amid high exceptions. The Titans have playmakers in the running and passing game and should be solid along the offensive and defensive lines. What does Ahearn expect from his team? What does he enjoy the most about his job and the start of a new season?

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP). 

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Kurt Stein, Oakdale High School Head Football Coach

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With the start of the high school football season just over two weeks away, Oakdale coach Kurt Stein is this week’s guest on The Final Score podcast.

Stein chats with host Greg Swatek about the growth of his program. The Bears, who about to enter their eighth varsity season, have established themselves as one of the top programs in Frederick County. Stein talks about the biggest strides the program has made since its inaugural season in the fall of 2010 and how he has become a better coach since starting the program from scratch.

Stein also talks about his quarterback’s recent commitment to Division I Kent State and how he expect Collin Schlee to be even better this season, the Bears’ productive offseason and his expectations for the coming season, as well as the culture of football and the practices he implements to make sure his players are being treated properly.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP). 

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Rick Conner, coach of the reining 3A state champion Linganore Football team

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Continuing our look at the upcoming Frederick County high school football season, Linganore coach Rick Conner is the guest on this week's installment of The Final Score.

About to begin his 33rd season as a high school football coach, Conner explains to host Greg Swatek why he is as passionate and energetic about his job as ever and why the first day of practice still feels like Christmas morning for him.

The Lancers won their sixth state title — the most ever for a Frederick County team — with a memorable 28-27, come-from-behind victory over Milford Mill last December in Annapolis.

Conner recalls his fondest memories about that game and the final, game-winning drive and discusses the expectations and challenges ahead for the coming season, among other topics.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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Bobby Humphries, the first-year varsity football head coach at Gov. Thomas Johnson

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Continuing to look ahead at the 2018 high school football season in Frederick County, Bobby Humphries, the first-year varsity head coach at Gov. Thomas Johnson, is the guest this week on The Final Score podcast.

Humphries shares the unique story with host Greg Swatek about how he learned he got the job at his alma mater and outlines his vision for the program. He also talks about how former TJ coach Ben Wright shaped him as a player and a person and why being back at TJ means so much to him.

Coach Humphries was an assistant on the TJ coaching staff last year as the Patriots suffered through a 1-9 season. He talks about what he learned and why this season might be different.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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Jerry Smith, Brunswick High School Football Coach

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With the fall sports season fast approaching, The Final Score podcast begins to take at look at the upcoming Frederick County football season. 

This week, Brunswick coach Jerry Smith joins host Greg Swatek to talk about his team’s remarkable improvement in his first season on the job and expectations for the coming season.

After suffering through two winless seasons and 22 consecutive losses, the Railroaders finished 5-5 last season against an independent schedule. How was Coach Smith able to chance the entire vibe around the program so quickly? What did he learn about himself and his players? Who will be some of the players to watch for Brunswick this season?

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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Zac Lowther, Frederick Keys left-handed starting pitcher

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Continuing what's been a summer-long series with the Frederick Keys, left-handed starting pitcher Zac Lowther is this week's guest on The Final Score podcast.

Lowther chats with host Greg Swatek about his hot start to the season. He has already been promoted from Low-A Delmarva and been named the Orioles' Minor League Pitcher of the Month twice this season.

He also talks about growing up in Cleveland, how he developed his sneaky fastball, how he prepares for a start and how he goes about attacking hitters.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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Keys lefty Alex Wells on being chosen to play in the MLB's Futures All-Star Classic, plus Geoff Arnold, the Keys’ Director of PR and Broadcasting

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Alex Wells is having a fine season as a starting pitcher for the Frederick Keys. On Sunday, the left-hander will participate in Major League Baseball’s Futures All-Star Classic that will be televised a 4 p.m. on MLB Network.

Prior to playing alongside some of the top prospects in baseball at Nationals Park, the native Australian chatted with host Greg Swatek about being selected to such a prestigious game, his impeccable control and how he became pitcher.

Plus, Geoff Arnold, the Keys’ Director of Public Relations and Broadcasting, stops by to talk about the team at just past the halfway point of the season.

The Final Score is brought to you by PFP (Players Fitness and Performance).

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Tyler Erwin, Frederick Keys relief pitcher and Carolina League All-Star

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On this week’s episode of The Final Score podcast, Frederick Keys relief pitcher Tyler Erwin stops by to chat with host Greg Swatek about his strong season so far.

Erwin talks about taking over the closer’s role full-time for the Keys, being named a Carolina League All-Star, the deception in his throwing motion and how pitching in altitude in college (New Mexico State) made him unafraid to pitch in so-called hitter’s parks.

The Final Score is presented by PFP (Players Fitness and Performance).

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Dave Ziedelis, general manager of the Frederick Keys

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Frederick is celebrating its 30th year as a minor league baseball town, and next June it will host the Carolina League All-Star Game. On this week’s episode of the Final Score podcast, Frederick Keys general manager Dave Ziedelis joins Greg Swatek to discuss what a game like that means to an organization and a community when the chance to host comes around.

Zidelis, now in his 14th season with the Keys, talks about how his career as a baseball executive began, why he work harder and longer in the offseason, why Frederick is such a great town for minor league baseball and what to look forward to over the next year as the All-Star game approaches.

The Final Score is presented by PFP (Players Fitness and Performance).

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Preston Palmeiro, Carolina League All-Star with the Frederick Keys

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Growing up as the son of a major league baseball player, Preston Palmeiro had a front-row seat to life in the big leagues both on and off the field.

On this week’s episode of the Final Score podcast, Palmeiro shares some of these amazing stories with host Greg Swatek. Who did he get to meet? What did he get to experience as the son of former major league and Oriole great Rafael Palmeiro?

Plus, how did he react to his dad’s fall from grace during the steroid era? What does he think about his dad’s quest to continue playing professional baseball at age 53?

Preston Palmeiro was recently named to the Carolina League All-Star Game as a member of the Frederick Keys. Why is he having such a good season for the Keys? How does he feel about moving from first base to second? What does he think of the minor-league lifestyle?

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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Orioles prospect Ryan McKenna of the Frederick Keys

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In the first half of this season, Ryan McKenna of the Frederick Keys has been one of the best players in all of minor league baseball. He is second in the minors in total hits (86) and presently leads the Carolina League in batting average (.369), on-base percentage (.456), OPS (.979), runs scored (50) and total bases (122). He has nearly hit for the cycle on two occasions.

On this week’s episode of the Final Score podcast, McKenna chats with host Greg Swatek about why he is hitting so well. How has his approach changed? What adjustments has he made? McKenna also discusses growing up in New England, the impact the Red Sox 2004 World Series title had on him, deciding to turn pro instead of going to college in 2015, being named a Carolina League All-Star and the less-than-glamourous, day-to-day lifestyle of minor league baseball.

Plus, what did he think the first time he was asked to sign an autograph? What would he being doing if he wasn’t playing professional baseball.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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FCPS Supervisor of Athletics and Extra Curricular Activities Kevin Kendro on the highs and lows of the past year

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At the end of another successful year for high school sports in this area, Frederick County Public Schools Supervisor of Athletics and Extra Curricular Activities Kevin Kendro offers his perspective on this week’s episode of The Final Score podcast.

Kendro chats with host Greg Swatek about some of the highs and lows of the past year for FCPS athletics. What is working really well? What can be improved? What changes are on tap?

The two discuss the Central Maryland Conference, which just completed its third full year and expanded in the last year to include Washington County schools. What lessons were learned from the unfortunate incident between the Frederick and Linganore girls basketball teams, and what steps are being taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Was this the most challenging spring season ever when it came to the weather and the schedule? Plus, a word of tribute is offered to a pair of titans in FCPS athletics who are stepping away, Catoctin athletic director Kevin McMullen and Urbana girls soccer coach Chuck Nichols.

The Finals Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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State champion TJ Baseball and Frederick girls, Oakdale boys champion track & field teams

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On this week's special episode, streamed live on Facebook, members of the three champion teams from the spring sports season in Frederick County share their success stories.

First, the Thomas Johnson baseball team chats with host Greg Swatek about winning its first state championship since 2002. How did senior outfielder Jack Maruskin feel when a fly ball fell into his glove for the final out in the Patriots’ 3-2 victory over Huntingtown in the Class 3A championship game last Saturday at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen? How does coach Billy Gross get his team to play so well in the postseason every year? What makes senior infielder Jacob Berry such an integral part of the team?

Then, the Frederick High girls team reflects on winning their second consecutive 3A team championship at the state outdoor meet at Morgan State. Could senior sprinter Jaida Smith, who posted record times in defending her titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as winning the long jump for the first time, scripted a better finish to her high school career? How did a willingness to step outside of her comfort zone help senior Hannah Meredith, who placed in the 100 and 300 hurdles, as well as the triple jump? And how does coach Rob Dixon plan to keep the team competitive after a talented group of seniors depart?

Finally, the Oakdale boys track team explain how its tremendous depth led to it winning its first outdoor team championship at the state track meet. What is coach Dave Lillard’s philosophy for building a team to win a state championship? How did senior George Stultz feel about breaking through to win the triple jump? What did junior Haran Nadarajah learn over the course of the season that led him to winning the 300 hurdles for 2A boys? Are the Bears poised for more success in the future?

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP). All three segments were broadcast on Facebook Live and available to watch there.

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Dan Englestad, Mount Saint Mary’s University's new mens basketball coach

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Dan Englestad, the new men’s basketball coach at Mount St. Mary’s, is the guest this week on The Final Score podcast.

Englestad chats with host Greg Swatek about the hectic transition into his new job, his deep connections with the Mount basketball program and what the team might look like next season.

For the last five seasons, Englestad was the coach at Southern Vermont College, where he turned the Division III Mountaineers from a one-win program the season before he arrived into a 25-win program in just two seasons. How was he able to able to resurrect that program so quickly and does he expect the same type of turnaround at Mount St. Mary’s? Is Mayhem here to stay?

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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The Mount's New Men's Basketball Coach and FredCo Tennis Tournament

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Maryland Sports Access Editor-in-Chief Kyle McFadden swings by the studio to share his first impressions of the new men’s basketball coach at Mount St. Mary’s, Dan Engelstad, after being the first to report his hiring. What type of coach does he and host Greg Swatek think Engelstad will be? What challenges lay ahead for the program?

Plus, with the county tennis tournament coming up this weekend, Urbana coach Jon Walton stops by to talk about why the Hawks have enjoyed such a sustained period of success for the boys and girls teams. Hear about the players that have made the Urbana boys so successful this season and what Coach Walton is looking forward to in the upcoming county, regional and state tournaments.

The Final Score Podcast is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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05/05/04/18 - Rick Leonard, newly-drafted offensive tackle for the New Orleans Saints

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This week on the Final Score podcast, Middletown’s Rick Leonard shares the story of how his dream come true.

Leonard was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 127th overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL draft last Saturday, becoming the first Middletown football player to ever get drafted.

He chats with host Greg Swatek about the moment he learned he was going to be drafted, as well as the entire process that culminated in that moment.

Leonard started for two seasons at right tackle on the offensive line at Florida State University. He was recruited there as a defensive lineman after being named the Defensive Player of the Year in Maryland during his senior season at Middletown. How difficult was it for him to change positions? How did he develop his non-stop motor and work ethic, two characteristics the propelled him into the NFL? How much has he though about living in New Orleans and being teammates with a future Hall of Famer in Drew Brees? What will he buy once he signs his contract?

But first, FNP sports writer Joe Ferraro stops by to share his thoughts on Leonard being drafted and the strength of Frederick County football, as well as the upcoming spring playoff season.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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04/26/18 - Michael Higgs, coach of the unbeaten Oakdale Boys Lacrosse team

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On this week’s episode of The Final Score podcast, Oakdale boys lacrosse coach Michael Higgs chats with host Greg Swatek about why his first season on the job is going so well. The Bears are the only unbeaten lacrosse team in Frederick County this season. They are 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the Central Maryland Conference Gambrill Division. They have already toppled traditional Frederick County powers Linganore (for the first time) and Urbana and have their sights firmly set on winning a state championship in Class 2A.

Why has Oakdale been able to win so many close, low-scoring games? What Higgs’ learning curve been like as a first-time head coach? Who are the players that make the team tick? All of those questions are addressed. Plus, Greg offers a quick rundown of the upcoming championship season for Frederick County sports.

The Final Score is presented by Players Fitness and Performance (PFP).

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