Teams are being carried by their backs Top runners drive county's teams

October 02, 1992|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

The 1992 season is rapidly developing into the Year of the Running Back.

Unlike previous seasons, in which one or two runners -- usually from Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills -- have emerged as the class of the county, backfield stars are popping up all over the league. In the process, most of them are making their teams look like contenders as the season approaches its midpoint.

The workhorse of the bunch has been Paul Brosenne, who has carried Glenelg to a 3-1 start, its best opening month in years. Brosenne, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, has rushed 90 times for 563 yards (6.3-yard average), both tops in the county. He has run for four touchdowns and is averaging 23 carries a game. In the season opener he rushed 30 times for 186 yards in a 17-0 victory over Liberty. Last week, in a 14-6 victory over Oakland Mills, he gained 176 yards on 20 attempts and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 58-yard TD run.

"He [Brosenne] lifted weights all summer, picked up 20 pounds since last year, and came in this year in great shape. No one here has worked harder," said Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell.

Brosenne and the Gladiators will get another hint as to how far they've come tonight when they travel to Howard, which might be the best 2-2 team in the area. The Lions have lost twice by a combined four points, including last week's 3-0 overtime defeat to Wilde Lake.

The Lions have a speed advantage at several positions, but the game could come down to a battle between Brosenne and Howard fullback Guy Smith, who might be the best running back in the county. Smith, also a fine blocker, has rushed for 401 yards on just 50 carries, a league-leading 8 yards per attempt. He has put together three consecutive 100-yard games and has assumed a more important role in the absence of tailback Kirk Wise. Wise continues to nurse a sore shoulder and has not played in three weeks.

Centennial has taken advantage of a soft schedule to bolt to a 3-1 start. While the Eagles are getting outstanding contributions from youngsters like sophomore linebacker Kevin O'Connor (17 tackles, 31 assists, one interception, two fumble recoveries), their MVP thus far has been senior running back Jeremy Odelius.

The 5-8, 150-pound Odelius hasn't been hampered by his slight stature. He has rushed for 329 yards on 69 carries (4.8 average) and scored seven touchdowns and has caught 17 passes for 244 yards and another score.

"He really has an instinct for finding the hole and reading the block," Centennial coach Ed Holshue said. "Last year, we didn't need him on offense because we had people like [All-County back Brian] Kujawa. This year, with the loss of those kids, we told him he had to give it a shot. So far, it's turned out to be quite a good shot."

The same goes for junior Mike Green, who looks primed to be the next great back at Wilde Lake. After a sluggish start in his first varsity game against South Carroll, Green has come on strong. He has 339 yards on 52 carries (6.5 average), including a four-touchdown, 160-yard effort in a 28-27 overtime loss to Southern (AA), the Wildecats' first defeat in three years.

Even struggling teams are getting production from their backfields. Mount Hebron tailback Travis Harriston has rushed 67 times for 431 yards and four touchdowns and has returned a kickoff 82 yards for another score. He's easily been the brightest spot during the Vikings' 1-3 start. And Damian Smith's 162 yards on 29 carries last week against Glenelg served as a sign that 0-4 Oakland Mills isn't dead yet.

NOTES: With last week's loss to Glenelg, Oakland Mills is off to its first 0-4 start since the school opened in 1974. It also took the Scorpions 14 quarters to score their first touchdown. Damian Smith did it with a 3-yard run in the second period. "I've never been so happy about scoring a touchdown in my life. It was like we won the Super Bowl," said Scorpions coach Ken Klock. . . . Hammond (3-1) has scored only 39 points in its first four games, but the Golden Bears have offset the problem with great defense. The defense has recorded two shutouts and has surrendered only 25 points. Junior linebacker Jimmy Jackson has been the leader with 37 tackles, five sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

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