Before Wilde Lake marched through the Class 1A playoffs to its second straight state championship and second straight undefeated season, the Wildecats took care of business at home by mastering the county for the third straight year.
The Wildecats, who haven't lost in thecounty since 1988, primed themselves for the playoffs by recording six shutouts against their seven county opponents.
In light of that dominance, Wilde Lake leads the Howard County Sun's All-County team with eight selections.
Five are from the defense that surrendered barely 100 yards a game -- linebacker Brent Guyton, nose guard Tony Farace, tackle Blaize Connelly-Duggan, cornerback Andre Martin and punter-safety George Bradford.
Offensive tackle James Easterly and center Cedric Benning and running back Damon Hamlin, who figured heavily in the Wildecats' five-touchdowns-per- game average, lead the offense.
Lost somewhat in Wilde Lake's accomplishments was Oakland Mills, which, after a 1-3 start due in part to injuries and a rough early schedule, quietly put together a fine season. The Scorpions won their last six regular-season games to go 6-1 againstthe county, made the Class 2A playoffs, then lost to Allegany, the eventual state champion in the first round.
Losing to elite teams was nothing new to the Scorpions (7-4 over
all). They also lost to Wilde Lake and Linganore, the 3A titlists. And their first loss came against North County, which made the 4A playoffs.
Like Wilde Lake,the heart of Oakland Mills was its defense, which surrendered only 74 points in the county and only 308 rushing yards to 10 regular-season opponents (1.2 yards per rush). Defensive tackle Hakim Jones (47 tackles, four sacks) and inside linebackers Monte Spencer (57 tackles, two fumble recoveries) and Justin Wethington (53 tackles, two sacks) led the unit.
Atholton, Hammond and Centennial each had three selections.
Atholton, which unveiled the run-and-shoot offense to eclipse last year's 3-7 record, succeeded behind quarterback Brian Van Deusen. The Raiders went 4-3 in the county, 6-4 overall, and have Van Deusen to thank for it. He completed 142 of 283 (50.2 percent) of his passes for 1,644 yards and 18 touchdowns, both school records. Receiver Brian Smith (43 receptions, 465 yards, eight TDs) and offensive lineman David Keyser also were key contributors.
Hammond went 4-3 and placed 270-pound junior offensive tackle Danny Boone on the All-County roster. He could be the league's dominant lineman next year. Defensively, tackle Brian Holmes (42 tackles, four sacks, two fumble recoveries) and back Keith Chance (101 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries) led a unit that gave up 78 points in the county and recorded two shutouts.
Centennial had a disappointing 3-4 record against the league, but the Eagles will graduate three outstanding players. Fullback Brian Kujawa led the team in rushing (737 yards, 6.9 per carry), receiving (144 yards) and scoring (eight touchdowns). Linebacker Charlie Stewart was the premier defensive player (37 solo tackles, 115 assists). Brian Reid gave the Eagles consistent field position by averaging 50 yards on 32 kickoffs. He also kicked a 39-yard field goal in a 30-15 victory over Glenelg.
Howard andGlenelg, each 2-5 in the county, have two selections. Offensive lineman Adam Eldridge helped the Lions average 176 yards rushing (4.8 yards per carry). Seventy-two percent of Howard's offensive yards came on the ground. And safety Kirk Wise (62 tackles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, one for a 70-yard TD) was the most valuable defensive player.
Wide receiver Ryan McKibben (37 receptions, 411 yards, five TDs) was Glenelg's bright spot on offense. Linebacker-safety Joe Goldberg (105 tackles) filled the same space on defense.
1991 HOWARD COUNTY SUN ALL-COUNTY FOOTBALL TEAM
Player .. .. ...School ..Class ..Pos.
Brian Van Deusen Atholton Senior QB
Damon Hamlin Wilde Lake Senior RB
Brian Kujawa Centennial Senior RB
Guy Smith Howard Sophomore RB
Brian Smith Atholton Senior WR
Ryan McKibben Glenelg Junior WR
Danny Boone Hammond Junior OL
Cedric Benning Wilde Lake Senior OL
David Keyser Atholton Senior OL
James Easterly Wilde Lake Senior OL
Adam Eldridge Howard Senior OL
Brian Reid Centennial Senior PK
Player .. .. ..School ..Class ..Pos.
Tony Farace Wilde Lake Senior DL
Hakim Jones Oakland Mills Senior DL
Brian Holmes Hammond Senior DL
Blaize Connelly-Duggan Wilde Lake Senior DL
Brent Guyton Wilde Lake Senior LB
Monte Spencer Oakland Mills Senior LB
Justin WethingtonOakland Mills Junior LB
Charlie Stewart Centennial Senior LB
Andre Martin Wilde Lake Senior DB
Kirk Wise Howard Junior DB
Keith Chance Hammond Senior DB
Joe Goldberg Glenelg Senior DB
George Bradford Wilde Lake Senior P
Player of the Year: Brent Guyton, Wilde Lake
Coach of the Year: Doug DuVall, Wilde Lake