Brown's ground game big boost to North County's run-and-shoot

November 19, 1992|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

North County's Frank Brown gained more yards in a single game this season than he did all last fall at Southwestern.

Brown, who transferred in January, has emerged in recent weeks as the biggest weapon in a run-and-shoot offense that has produced a state-best 427 points.

His school-record 1,604 rushing yards on 164 attempts (9.8 average) and county-record 24 touchdowns are reflected in the team's 10-1 record going into tomorrow night's state 4A semifinal at Friendly High in Prince George's against top seed Crossland (11-0).

A year ago, Brown ran for a little more than 300 yards carrying the ball about three times a game as a junior at Southwestern.

At his mother's urging, he transferred to North County at midyear, moving in with his aunt in the Pumphrey section of Brooklyn Park.

"My mom said it would be a better situation for me in school and football, and it has turned out for the better," said Brown, who has raised not only his rushing statistics, but also his grades.

"It's been a lot of fun and different, and I have coaches who have kept on me about improving my grades."

Brown gained 292 yards on 29 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 64 and 3 yards in the Knights' 34-7 state 4A quarterfinal win over Perry Hall (9-2) on Saturday. Such a game has become a typical effort for the 5-foot-10, 170-pound back.

"I had that big game against Chesapeake, but the one last week was my best because it came in the playoffs," Brown said.

Against Chesapeake on Oct. 9 in a 52-20 victory over the Cougars, Brown set a county and school record with 336 yards rushing. That was 1 yard better than the 335 that former NFL back and University of Maryland star Lou Carter gained for Arundel in a 72-6 romp over Southern-Harwood in 1970.

Both Brown and Carter scored seven touchdowns in their most prolific games to share the county record. The two touchdowns Brown scored against Perry Hall enabled him to tie and break the county record of 23, set by Bob Stach of Southern.

Stach did it in 1965 and 1966, and Dawnie Dorsey of Northeast tied the mark in 1981.

Brown has 144 total points and needs three touchdowns to break the county record of 161, set by Stach in 1966.

"Frank has done considerably better than we expected," coach Chuck Markiewicz said. "In our offense, we hope our ace back gets a thousand, but over 1,600 is a lot more than we thought Frank could get.

"I saw him play basketball last year and could see he was a pretty good athlete, but I did not think then that he was big enough to play ace back. I was a little skeptical the first couple games, but then he exploded."

Markiewicz was used to having Anthony Walker, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound Anne Arundel County Sun Player of the Year, tuck the ball in and carry the load. But Walker, who is on a football scholarship at Syracuse, had only 808 yards last season -- a little more than half Brown's total.

Four-year starter Mike Quarles, the team's No. 1 pass receiver and safety, says players were also skeptical of Brown's ability to fill the role.

"We didn't know what to expect when Coach first put Frank at ace back, but he's ended up helping all of us," Quarles said.

"I played against Frank in youth football. I played for the Andover Apaches, and he played for East Glen Burnie, and you could see he could run, but playing there is a lot different than here.

"The other teams can't afford to key on us and leave him or he will burn you. He's been great, and we are close friends."

Brown also has made friends with his linemen -- tackles Chris Martin and Adam Watkowski, guards Erik Schwink and Jarryn Avery and center Damian Ferragamo -- and though he can't afford to take them all out to dinner the way former NFL star O. J. Simpson used to do, he appreciates them just as much.

"I've been very pleased and, yes, surprised with what I have done this season," said Brown, who hopes to play in college and wants to one day work with children.

"I have to thank my linemen for the yards I've gained this year. Without them, I couldn't have done it."

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