Nearly two months have passed since Wilde Lake High School won its second state football championship, but the Wildecats' program still feels the effects of its most successful season in school history.
Seven Wilde Lake seniors, notably running back Raphael Wall and defensive back Ricky Rowe, are mulling over full college scholarship offers.
And Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall has been selected as the Maryland team's head coach in the sixth annual Big 33 football game, played each summer in Hershey, Pa. It will take place on July 27, pitting Maryland's top 33 high school seniors against the best 33 from Pennsylvania.
The football season wound up for Wilde Lake on Nov. 30, whenWall scored a 4-yard touchdown in overtime to lift the Wildecats to a 13-7 victory over Damascus. Wilde Lake completed a 13-0 season.
But the season never really ended for DuVall. He returned last week from a weeklong American Football Coaches Association convention in New Orleans, and has already begun selecting players for the Big 33 game.
In between those chores, DuVall and his coaching staff have been working with college recruiters and the Wilde Lake players they arepursuing.
Students can begin signing national letters of intent on Feb. 6. DuVall said when all the final decisions are made, the scholarship money doled out to Wilde Lake players should approach $500,000. That would be a school record.
"We've had some great years, like in 1975, when we sent Eric Sweigard to the Naval Academy, Chuck Johnston to West Point, Butch Rayfield to the Air Force Academy and EricBrooks to Kentucky," said DuVall. "But this is probably going to be our high point."
Wall and Rowe, the most recognized Wilde Lake players this year, head this year's list:
* Wall, who rushed for morethan 1,500 yards, averaged more than 10 yards a carry and scored 28 touchdowns in the regular season, has narrowed his choices to Tennessee, Rutgers and Maryland. He also had offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan and Clemson. DuVall said Wall is leaning toward Maryland.
* Rowe, the strong safety and leader of a Wilde Lake defense that surrendered just 29 points against the county, has been offered full scholarships by Penn State, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland. DuVall said Rowe is leaning toward Penn State.
* Joe Guyton, the county's premier cornerback last fall, has been offered full scholarships by Villanova, East Carolina, Delaware, Temple and Towson State.
* Oba McMillan, Wilde Lake's top receiver, is weighing offers from Princeton, Brown and Johns Hopkins. Princeton and Brown are Ivy League schools, which don't offer athletic scholarships but rather grants based on financial need. Hopkins is a Division III school. Division III schools don't offer athletic scholarships. McMillan, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is top-ranked in his class, has impressed all three schools with his ability as a wide receiver.
* Center Len Cotter is considering similar offers from Cornell and Lehigh.
* Offensive linemen Darius Waters and Drew McCallum have been offered full football scholarships by Bowie State and Delaware State, Division II schools.
DuVall said the key to heightened interest inWilde Lake players revolves around players like Wall and Rowe, who've drawn significant college interest since their junior seasons.
"They're (Wall and Rowe) the marquee players," DuVall said. "The nice thing about them is they draw other people (recruiters) in.
"You like to say you expect this, but you never know," he added. "It's likemarketing. You hope they like what they see, but you have to get them off the sidewalk and into your store. This year, the recruiters also saw good juniors like (linebacker) Brent Guyton and (quarterback) Phil White. They'll be back next year."
DuVall, who plans to returnfor his 18th season next fall, also credits the Wildecats' unbeaten season and the program's strong reputation for producing the high level of college interest.
In the past 11 seasons, Wilde Lake has wonor shared eight county titles and has won two state titles. The Wildecats won their first state crown in 1985.