Jenson's blocks help Rams stay in running

September 24, 1991|By Mike Farabaugh

At 6 feet, 175 pounds, he could be a good running back, but wears jersey No. 60, befitting an interior lineman.

Michael Jenson is Randallstown's best wrestler. He has a state championship plaque to prove it, but on the football field, he mostly labors in anonymity to all but his coaches, teammates and rival scouts.

The rock-like senior is a strong blocker, so he blocks. He is a tenacious tackler, so he tackles. In fact, he never leaves the field, performing on every special teams unit.

If he had his druthers, he would run with the ball. But the team needs him to do everything else, so that's what he does, all the while humming his favorite song, "Don't Worry," by Tony Toni Tone.

That's a good note for the Rams, winners of 16 straight games. They kept that steak alive at Parkville last Friday in a 21-0 victory. Jenson threw key blocks on a pair of Donte Boyd touchdown runs and registered five tackles and two sacks, one of which forced a fumble.

"We are starting to get better and I think we'll be a very good team by the end of the season," said Jenson. "If we all work hard and keep improving, that's the key, we're going to do just fine."

Jenson does not predict a second straight state championship, but he does expect an unbeaten Baltimore County season and a chance at postseason regional play.

Coach John Buchheister would like to have 10 more Jensons on his squad. "He's never a problem," said Buchheister. "You don't have to worry about his academics. He just does his job. You can tell him something and he listens, then tries to do it."

Last year, Jenson played nose guard for the 13-0 Rams. He won his wrestling title at 171 pounds and, in the spring, he ran track, registering personal bests of 22.1 seconds in the 200-meter -- and 20 feet, 1 inch in the long jump.

"That's a unique combination," said Buchheister. "It just proves how versatile Mike is. You don't find many football-wrestler types who run sprints or long jump."

Because of his size, Division I football coaches probably will not give Jenson a second glance, but college wrestling coaches already are standing in the recruiting line.

Last summer, Jenson wrestled for the state National Team, competing in New York. He placed second at the Grand Nationals in Michigan, but did not place at the Junior Nationals in Missouri.

"I wasn't disappointed," said Jenson. "The best wrestlers in the whole country were there."

Mike Jenson lives to compete and competes to live. Typically, he is up at 6:30 a.m. and arrives at school by 7:15. He winds up classes at 2:15 and practice by 5:30.

His other life, homework and music, ends by about 9 p.m.

"I just don't have time for much else," he said. Jenson is by his own admission an "average" student. "I have been trying to concentrate more on my grades this year," he said. "I'm getting mostly A's and B's so far, and I've been doing extra work to get ready to take the SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) in November. I have a tutor for geometry and may take a course at UMBC that prepares you for the SAT exams."

Jenson called the verbal portion of the SATs "unfair" for anyone who has not grown up as an avid reader.

"I always was playing sports and never read that much," he said. "Now, I've learned that I missed out on a lot of vocabulary. There just aren't lists of words to study to learn it all. You have to pick it up by reading. I'm doing more reading now, but it's difficult to catch up."

Jenson keeps pushing himself, a trait he says he owes to his father, Michael Jenson Sr.

"My father is my best role model," he said. "He's a lieutenant in the [Baltimore City] Fire Department, and runs his own construction business on the side.

"I always have believed that you can do anything you set your mind to. I get that from my father."

It also gets him back to football. Jenson believes he can be a

two-sport man in college.

"Everybody wants a 210-pound linebacker," said Buchheister. "Mike can play the outside linebacker position in college, if he gets the chance."

7+ That's all Mike Jenson ever has needed.

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