Aberdeen's Demont Blackmon is proof that bigger isn't necessarily better, even in high school football.
The Eagles' pint-sized powder keg has exploded for 22 touchdowns this season -- almost twice as many as anyone else in the Harford County prep league. He has scored 133points to lead the Eagles (9-1) into the state championship Class 3Aquarterfinals.
When Blackmon gets his hands on the ball, he'll do anything to score.
"He's like catching a greased pig," North Harford coach Lauren Lydic said.
"On one play against us, he ran to one side, then turned around and ran all the way around the other side. I told my kids, 'If you don't catch him just stand still -- he'll be back.' "
Although Blackmon, who also led the Eagles basketball team in scoring, has been listed as tall as 5 foot 7, that is generous by about three inches. He tips the scales at 137 pounds.
But he can run the 40-yard -- in 4.3 seconds.
"He's fast and he's elusive, and because of his size people can't find him," Aberdeen coach Macon Tucker said.
"He's always been an exceptional athlete as far as speed. He's able to go and play big-man sports, because he has the ability. He has that athleticism."
On a team with little varsity experience, Blackmonhas led the march toward the playoffs. He can -- and does -- do justabout everything. On land and in the air, he can eat up yardage in no time.
He leads the league in receptions, with 40 for 680 yards, and scored a pair of touchdowns in last Friday night's 24-14 win overHavre de Grace. The first came on a 64-yard pass from quarterback Tito Coley. The second TD came on a 63-yard pass.
Running as a tailback out of the Delaware Wing-T offense, Blackmon is second in the county in rushing, averaging 8.8 yards per carry. He has amassed 955 yards on the ground. He has also run back three interceptions for touchdowns.
Tucker has thought of playing Blackmon at fullback or quarterback. The senior is versatile enough to play anywhere on the field -- except the line.
"He has it all -- other than size," Tucker said. "If he were probably 3, 4, 5 inches taller, they would all be here.Everybody in Division I would be looking at him."
Blackmon wants to play college football. Among the schools he is considering are Morgan State, Widener and North Carolina State.
But he knows his sizewill keep away the offers from major powers. That doesn't seem to bother him.
"When I get to college, I want to get playing time," he said. "I know I might not get a lot of playing time because of my size. But if I get into the right program, I'll get a chance."
Tuckeragreed that Blackmon could succeed in the right program, even in Division I. His best bet would be a run-and-shoot offense, Tucker said. "They can put him in the slot and throw the ball to him. If he's in open space, there's nobody gonna pick him up."
College coaches looking for a tailback will certainly pass on Blackmon simply because of his size. But Blackmon knows others have succeeded in sports geared toward big men -- even professional sports. Among his role models are the diminutive Barry Sanders of the Lions and Spud Webb of the Pistons.
"I try to get bigger," said Blackmon, whose 11-year-old brotherJustin is already 5-foot-4, 155 pounds. "I eat and I lift weights, but it's my heart that puts me into it.
"I rely on God to give me the power to do what I do."
That inner drive and ability to focus on his goals have helped Blackmon accomplish so much in his high school career. It has also helped him play through some personal adversity.
In a six-week stretch in late winter of his freshman year, Blackmon lost three close family members, including his father. His uncle died first, and his grandmother followed a week later. Then his father died March 30.
Tioford Blackmon coached the second of his three sons in Little League baseball for three years. He started Demont in football at age 8 and basketball at 9. This year, Blackmon said, he will try to play baseball for his school team for the first time.
Blackmon thinks about his dad often, especially when he spends time with his own 2-year-old son, Demont Jr., and when he plays the sports his father helped him learn.
"My dad is still with me in everythingI do," Blackmon said. "I feel like he's watching over me."