It wasn’t what happened during the game that made the 12U Green Hornets’ matchup with Cape St. Clair at Kinder Park on September 19 special, but rather the team’s ongoing pregame ceremony and the spirit of a fallen coach that has inspired the Hornets throughout this season.
Former assistant coach Scott Ward, a longtime resident of Severna Park, died this past August from injuries suffered in a car accident in Georgia, near the family’s new home in South Carolina. The Wards — Scott, wife Jennet and sons Cole, Zach and Jake — lived in Chartwell from 2008-2015 before Scott retired from the Air Force and took a new job in South Carolina. Ward was a veteran of the Air Force who lived in Severna Park while he was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, and he was an assistant coach of the team when his son, Cole, played for the Green Hornets.
In response to Scott Ward’s tragic passing, the 12U Green Hornets have dedicated the season to their former coach and teammate and the Ward family.
Before each game the Hornets line up and form a large “W” on the field, fly the Air Force flag and salute Ward with a playing of taps before playing the Star-Spangled Banner.
During warmups prior to the team’s pregame ceremony, the players take turns carrying the Air Force flag out in front of the group as they take a lap around the field.
Coach Gordy Merritt said the pregame ceremony started as a way to remember Scott Ward and has been fully embraced by the players.
“As tragic as the incident was, I wanted the kids to draw something positive out of it,” said Merritt. “I want the kids to know the meaning of dedicating and paying respects to someone they know…I can’t imagine losing your dad at the age of 12. So I wanted to turn a negative into a positive with the kids, and hopefully that’s what we did.”
On September 19, the Hornets also celebrated their mothers before the game, walking their moms out onto the sideline to recognize the many efforts football mom gives to make each season a success.
Having honored both their moms and their fallen coach, the 12U Hornets, sporting stickers on their helmets with Coach Ward’s name, went out and played an outstanding all-around game against the visiting Cape St. Clair Cougars en route to a dominant 35-0 victory.
Jack Peterson earned game MVP honors for his two touchdowns, while Lala Titow had two touchdowns and Connor Eaton had another as the Hornets scored on all five of their possessions. The offensive line of James Dean, Ryan Harrell, Sean Kearney, Marshall Merritt, Tyler Rueppell, Shane Snyder and Jack Verde dominated the line of scrimmage and enabled Severna Park to march steadily up and down the field.
Defensively the Green Hornets allowed only two first downs and got a sack by Kearney, fumble recovery by Dean, and both a sack and fumble recovery by Brooks Stevens. Strong performances from up and down the roster rounded out the win for Severna Park, which saw fine play against Cape and throughout the season from Parker Diez, Matthew Hong, Miles Young, Kailas Motiram, Jack Guerrisi, Jimmy Patz, Diego Nanney, Paul Isenberg, Owen Moran, Jack Alpert, Anthony Dicks, James Lacorazza and Wyatt Humphrey.
Coach Mark Stevens commended his players’ efforts in the win and reiterated the importance of playing for the memory of Scott Ward.
“As soon as we heard the devastating news, we immediately decided to dedicate the season to Scott and his family,” said Stevens. “It’s important that we remember Scott for all he did for the Green Hornets organization, for both football as well as lacrosse. More importantly, he will be remembered for being such a great guy that everyone loved and got along with. He is missed, but as long as we are coaching, he will never be forgotten.”