It certainly is no surprise that Randallstown's Larry Washington is the Player of the Year for The Evening Sun 1990 All-Metro football team.
Washington was cited in the preseason as the premier player to watch, and week by week he kept getting better, leading the No. 1-ranked Rams to the state Class 4A championship. When the dust settled last Saturday, Washington had rushed for 2,275 yards and 34 touchdowns. State-wide records are not kept, but it is believed that both those figures are new standards.
"I've been watching high school football since the 1930s and I think Washington is the best I've ever seen," said veteran Chesapeake-BC basketball coach Lefty Elliott.
"Larry inspires everyone," said All-Metro teammate Brad Topchik. "I know if I mess up a block, Larry's going to cover up for me by breaking a tackle or cutting back to avoid being tackled."
Washington has scheduled visits to Tennessee and Clemson, and he'll probably visit Miami and Maryland.
"Larry finds holes to run through and, when they aren't there, he makes his own," said Randallstown coach John Buchheister.
Buchheister, who shares Coach of the Year honors with Wilde Lake's Doug DuVall, has a career record of 109-32 after this season's 13-0 finish. He took over the Rams this year after guiding Milford Mill for the previous 12 seasons.
"There was a lot of uncertainty with Coach Buck coming in, but we knew we had the talent," said Topchik. "The more we knew about his system, the better we felt about our chances."
DuVall, whose career record is 138-37 after guiding the 13-0 Wildecats to the state Class 2A title, draws praise from his players, too.
"He is like a father figure to the whole team," said Wilde Lake fullback Ben Casella. "He not only teaches you football, but he teaches you the facts of life, what happens out in the world."
Joining Washington in the first-team All-Metro backfield are North County quarterback John Ray, Wilde Lake running back Raphael Wall and Forest Park running back Obie Barnes Jr. Ray passed for 2,220 yards in the run-and-shoot offense installed by coach Chuck Markiewicz. Wall ran for 25 touchdowns and 1,538 yards during the regular season for the state champion Wildecats and Barnes led the MSA A Conference with 1,560 yards rushing.
The area's leading receivers are Glenelg's Juan Dorsey (61 catches) and Perry Hall's Kevin Loewe (50).
The offensive line averages 251 pounds, led by Forest Park's Joshua Austin (280 pounds). Maryland, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Louisville are among the schools interested in Austin. He's joined on the first team by Topchik, C. Milton Wright's Daryl Smith, Loyola's Ron Strauss and Wilde Lake's Darius Waters.
Atholton's Joe Yankle is the first-team place-kicker. He did not miss a field goal in four attempts, beating Liberty with a 27-yarder. His longest was 40 and he consistently kicked off to the 5-yard line.
The first-team defense also boasts size up front (263 3/4 pounds). City's Ernest Rhoney, at 290 pounds, is one of the area's most highly recruited linemen ever. He's taking his visits to Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee and Maryland. Rhoney is joined on the first-team defensive line by Aberdeen's Byron Turner, Severna Park's Marcus Coates and Poly's Jelani Rucker.
The linebacking corps features four hard hitters. Gilman's Jamal Cox, Oakland Mills' Korey Singleton, McDonogh's Jermaine Johnson and Loyola's Reggie Thornton are considered Division I college prospects. As a running back, Singleton led the area in rushing during the regular season (224 carries for 1,817 yards).
The secondary boasts Wilde Lake's Ricky Rowe, Poly's Lenard Marcus and Gilman's Keith Kormanik.
Cardinal Gibbons' Wally Lowery is the first-team punter (43.8-yard average for 21 attempts).
Washington, Kormanik and Rhoney were first-team selections last season. Wall, Yankle, Turner and Cox were second-teamers in 1989. Barnes and Loewe were honorable mention picks.