Straight ahead still works fine for Satterfield Dundalk running back uses old stiff-arm style

October 14, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Dundalk's John Satterfield strikes the stiff-arming, high-stepping Heisman Trophy's pose every chance he gets.

"I love stiff-arming," said Satterfield, 17. "I learned it in the recreation leagues, mostly because I was big and slow and just had to run over people."

At 6 feet 2 and 194 pounds, Satterfield is bigger than ever -- despite the fact that he "doesn't like" lifting weights, and until recently, never had a steady weight-training regimen.

Yet, Franklin coach Claude Darr says "he's like a hit man on a seek and destroy mission" as a linebacker.

"I've seen him in three games, and defensively, he hits with a load," Darr said. "I mean he just hits people and lifts them right off of their feet -- and he does it legitimately."

And with legitimate, 4.3-second 40-yard -- speed, as a running back, Satterfield no longer has to rely on a straight-ahead, bowl-them-over style.

But old habits die hard.

"I try to be shifty sometimes, but being big, I try to use that, too," said Satterfield, who averages eight yards a run and 11 points a game for the Owls (5-1 overall, 4-0 in the Baltimore County 3A-4A league).

"I see a defender in front of me, and I just know I can move the ball outside," he said. "But once I get there, it's an automatic reaction. I just stick out my arm, lock my elbow and about 98 or 99.9 percent of the time, the stiff-arming works."

Satterfield's hunch is confirmed by his numbers. He hasn't rushed for less than 100 yards in any of the Owls' victories.

With 75 carries for 634 yards, Satterfield ranks 14th among area rushers. His 66 points, including 10 touchdowns, have him 10th among the area's leading scorers.

Who can argue with his success? Dave Dixon, his coach, can.

Dixon's philosophy is simple. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but not necessarily straight through or over another player. Satterfield says his style tends toward the extreme, as he chooses either to overpower an opponent or demonstrate his athleticism.

"He likes to razzle-dazzle and work on the tacklers, but with his power, he doesn't have to do that," said Dixon, a first-year coach who uses a multiple wishbone offense behind a line that averages 255 pounds. "He's shifty, he's big and he can get out of the grasp easily, but I'd like to see him cut up the middle sooner, use his blocking."

Satterfield says he works well with center Ray Brown (6-3, 280), guards Mike Forbes (265) and Larry Watts (240) and tackles Tom Kuhn (285) and Mike Fearson (280).

"I can count on them," Satterfield said. "With my speed and their size, a lot of times, I can get through a hole without being touched."

Satterfield realized his talents early, playing football for the Edgemere Falcons in Sparrows Point. His workout routine before high school consisted only of push-ups, and running on a track near his home in Turners Station.

"I can do about 80 good push-ups in a minute," said Satterfield, who is being sought by schools like Penn State and Lafayette. "I've started lifting [weights] a lot more, but whenever I've tried in the past, I've always been able to bench-press my own weight or more."

Satterfield never ran competitively before he competed in the 100-meter -- and on the 400 relay team as a Dundalk sophomore. He also had not played organized basketball until arriving at Dundalk.

Yet he excelled in both.

"It was really his first year of organized ball and he made second-team all-county," Dundalk basketball coach Andrew Pons said.

"He averaged 22 points, with a high game of 40 points. He's strong, quick and he's just a natural athlete with a lot of innate ability."

"When he came here as a freshman, I though he was a good back, but he lacked confidence," said Dixon, who assisted Rick Zentz for five years before he took over this season. "He didn't have that juking ability that he has now, and I didn't think he'd be able to do the things he can do. I certainly didn't think he'd be the great runner he's become."

Since losing, 22-8, to Wilde Lake, Satterfield's ability has anchored Dundalk to four consecutive wins, including a victory over an Eastern Vocational Tech squad, which last week defeated former No. 9 Randallstown.

In the Owls' most recent victories over Dulaney, 22-0, and Franklin, 28-6, Satterfield had three touchdowns in each game and a combined 285 yards.

"With the exception of Wilde Lake," Dixon said, "I've taken him out of every game early, to keep the score respectable."

Dundalk sits on top of the league standings, ahead of No. 11 Woodlawn, No. 12 Perry Hall and EVT (all at 4-1 against the county) and Randallstown (2-2 county).

Next up, however, are games against Parkville, Perry Hall, Woodlawn and Randallstown.

"As hard as John's been working already," Dixon said, "he's going to try a little harder against the tougher teams, and I'm looking forward to it."

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