Nick Brown is in step on Overlea's line

November 19, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Nick Brown hardly looks the part of one of Overlea's most experienced offensive linemen -- but he has been in the trenches since he first put on cleats at age 7.

That's where he established his explosiveness off the line, drilling his opponent in the chest with the full force of his body. One of his favorite weapons is a forearm shiver, and he has an ability to keep his opponent off balance.

All this despite being only 5 feet 9, 148 pounds.

"I didn't have the speed to be a running back, and I've never had the desire to be one anyway; they get hit too much," said Brown, 16, a junior. "I like being the guy who's doing the hitting, and I'm usually a lot quicker than whoever I'm up against. If they gain too much ground on me, I just cut 'em -- just chop 'em down at the legs. It's nothing illegal."

Coach Terry Ward remembers Brown as a freshman as "a real little guy" who was feisty enough to make the varsity squad.

"He's just a tenacious blocker, and he's got everything you need technically," said the fourth-year coach, who has second seed Overlea making its seventh straight playoff appearance, facing third seed Damascus (10-1) in tomorrow night's 2A state semifinal at Dundalk Community College.

"Nick pulls very well and can take out any linebacker. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with intelligence."

Brown, a guard, is the smallest member of a junior-dominated offensive line that includes his counterpart, Bill Butts (5-9, 226), as well as center Mike Knoedler (6-4, 258) and tackle Scott Small (5-8, 287).

The largest lineman is senior tackle Bill Brown, 6-6, 300 pounds.

Bill Brown is the foil to the smaller Brown, to whom he is not related. Bill Brown never played football before his freshman year and struggled initially.

"He came in as this real big kid, but he had to develop his skills," Ward said. "But now I think he's reached a point where his maturity level has really improved, though he's got a few little things to work on, like his foot speed. But I absolutely think he's a Division I player."

Brown has received notice from Morgan State.

He leads a talented group, behind which running back Tyrese Barmer has accumulated 1,412 yards and 20 touchdowns. Barmer, an All-Metro pick last year, has 3,076 yards and 37 touchdowns in two seasons.

"This is an important year for me as far as college scouts are concerned," said Knoedler, who has played football since he was 5. "I've made a lot of progress under Overlea's coaching staff."

Barmer has said that his 216 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 20-0 quarterfinal shutout of Wicomico were a result of the communication with his offensive line.

Bill Brown said: "That was probably my best game of the year. I was just so focused because this is my last year."

What the Falcons can expect against Damascus is a defensive line that has only one player -- Jim Kerr (6-0, 225) -- who weighs more than 200 pounds. But it's a quick, cohesive group that makes few mistakes. It was not penalized against Glenelg last week in a 36-6 quarterfinal victory.

"We have a nice team with a lot of skill and we're out to prove that a Baltimore County team can hang," said Knoedler. "Last week, we beat an Eastern Shore team, and this week, we want to go even farther."

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