BROOKLANDVILLE — The St. Paul's School varsity football team has a distinct Carroll County flavor.
Mitch Tullai, the Crusaders' coach for the past 39 years, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Maryland College.
That's a good start. But that's not the whole story.
Aaron Bean and his brother, Shawn, Todd Lowe, Brad Read and Ian Seletzky all hail from Carroll County. Their teammates at St. Paul's call them "theCarroll County boys."
All have to follow the same ritual of leaving very early each day for the Baltimore County private school and coming home late. That doesn't seem to bother any of them.
Aaron andShawn Beam climb into Aaron's Jeep Cherokee daily for the 30-minute commute.
Aaron, a senior playing football for the first time, is areserve receiver and defensive back. Shawn, a junior, is a two-way starter as a lineman. Athletics, however, is not why they chose St. Paul's.
"We had gone to Arlington Baptist before that," said Aaron. "We decided to leave there before we decided to go someplace else. Welooked at Gilman, McDonogh and St. Paul's before choosing St. Paul's."
Educational pursuits are where the similarities end for the brothers. Each has a decidedly different approach when it comes to football.
The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Aaron said he just wanted to diversify, since he has played other sports.
Shawn (6-2, 193), however, isa different story. He is intense about football.
"I'm not like him, just try out and make it," said Shawn, who hopes to play lacrosse next spring. "I like to keep my mind focused."
And it appears to be working nicely, thank you. Tullai praises him effusively, saying hejust keeps getting better.
As for the older brother, the coach said he wishes Aaron had been on the Crusaders football team several years earlier.
Read, a 6-0, 165-pound junior, is a starting defensive back and wide receiver. He is similar to the Bean brothers because he looked for education and wound up getting a great shot at sports.
Read said he is able to get more from St. Paul's. He said that thesmall community of the school aids him in a number of ways.
"Coaches do a lot," he said. "You can talk to people. Everyone is close and tight-knit in the St. Paul's community."
Read said that feeling gave him the confidence to speak up when he needed help in different areas.
"It makes you feel much better that you can talk to your coach as a friend and not as a coach," said Read, who leads the team with three interceptions and is from outside of Eldersburg.
Lowe, who would have attended Westminster High School, said in terms of sports alone, he's glad to go to St. Paul's. And that's because of his size.
"I fit in there because there's a lot of kids my size," said the 5-6, 130-pound junior who is a terror on special teams, starts occasionally at linebacker and plays halfback. "We put forth all we can. It's a lot of talent."
Lowe said that he, too, likes what St. Paul's is and what it represents. He said that the Carroll County boys stay together, hang out together and are close. Read said they even went to a recent Van Halen concert.
Lowe said that, despite the problems Westminster High is having in football, he doesn't feel sorry forthe Owls, who are struggling on the gridiron this season.
"It's funny," he said. "There are so many kids that go to that school, and they cannot put together a winning team."
Seletzky, a 5-8, 185-pound athlete who plays offensive end and starts at nose guard, is comingback from a strained knee ligament. He was out for four weeks and reappeared a few weeks ago.
Seletzky, who would have gone to North Carroll, said St. Paul's has given him much more of a shot to play football than he could have received in a public school.
"I get a chance to play," said Seletzky. "I've had a chance since I was a freshman."
Tullai praises each of the Carroll players effusively for their attitude and work ethic. He also said each one is making a difference on the team, which was 6-1 heading into yesterday's important Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference game against Severn School of Anne Arundel County.
And off the field, Tullai said that having the boys on the team -- and in the school -- is a plus for St. Paul's.
"It brings in another dimension," said Tullai. "It makes for a more varied school population. It's more diverse."
SS: COUNTIANS ATPRIVATE SCHOOLS--Aaron and Shawn Bean, Todd Lowe, Brad Read, Ian Seletzky