North County's Howard adds up to success on field, in classroom Record-breaking QB star on math team, too

November 02, 1992|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Statistics come easy to North County's Eric Howard. Sportswriters need calculators to keep up with his numbers, but the record-setting senior quarterback counts just fine in his head.

After firing three touchdown passes Friday night in a 47-14 romp over Glen Burnie (3-6) to set a Baltimore metro-area record for touchdown passes (26) in a season, Howard was off to a math contest Saturday morning.

Howard, who carries a 3.7 grade-point average and goes by his middle name (William is his real first name), has a fascination for numbers on and off the field. He's well aware of the records he is setting for the No. 5 Knights (8-1).

"I'm a member of the school's math team and we have contests with other schools every two weeks at Anne Arundel Community College," said Howard, who is preparing to major in engineering in college by engineering the area's most prolific offense (367 points in nine games).

"We finished seventh [last] week out of 21 schools, and I was fifth in the individual competition. I really enjoy it and I love football, too. I enjoy our offense; it's the best."

North County coach Chuck Markiewicz brought the run-and-shoot offense to Anne Arundel County four years ago while coaching at Meade. One year removed from Meade, Markiewicz started the North County program from the ground floor with the run-and-shoot as the foundation.

"We found a quarterback tonight," Markiewicz said last September after his Knights suffered a 33-7 loss at Annapolis. Howard was a bright spot in an otherwise miserable third game of the season.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Howard replaced Reggie Moore that night. He guided the club into the playoffs, winning six of the last seven regular-season games before a 39-0 loss to Oxon Hill in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Howard played indoor soccer instead of youth football. He turned to football in high school, playing tight end as a freshman. As a sophomore he was the punter, but kept badgering Markiewicz to give him a shot at quarterback.

When that shot finally came as a junior, Howard worked hard to get better --and the stats show he has. Last fall, he finished with 91 completions in 200 attempts for 1,254 yards and nine touchdowns, but was intercepted a county-record 26 times.

This year he has completed 129 of 204 passes for 1,975 yards, the record 26 touchdowns and has been intercepted only seven times. The next record to go should be Johnny Ray's 1990 county record of 2,020 yards passing. Howard should shatter the yardage mark against Broadneck (6-3) on Friday night, and if he throws for 256 or more, he will break the state record, too. Junior Bynum of McNamara High in Forestville set the state record of 2,230 yards in 1990.

"I want all the records if I can get them and I'm doing it in less games," said Howard, who intends to visit the University of Pennsylvania in the near future. Also, he said the University of Maryland has asked for tapes on him.

Markiewicz says Howard played beyond expectations last fall, but now that he's comfortable in the run-and-shoot, what he's doing is no surprise. "Eric loves to throw and sometimes when we get a lot of points, I have to put the [harness] on him," said Markiewicz, who often lets Howard call his own plays.

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