Taylor, Quarles no small measure of teams' success

LITTLE GUYS MEAN A LOT

November 20, 1992|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

It's often said that little things win ballgames, and in terms of high school football at Annapolis and North County, that's definitely true.

The county's top two football teams, both 10-1 and headed for semifinal action in the state 4A playoffs this weekend, boast a little guy who plays big both ways.

Shawn Taylor, a running back/cornerback, will lead sixth-ranked Annapolis into Gaithersburg (10-1) in Montgomery County at 1 p.m. tomorrow, and Mike Quarles, a slot back/safety, leads North County into Friendly High in Prince George's County at 7 tonight against top-seeded Crossland (11-0).

Taylor and Quarles are 5 feet 6 and 150 pounds, but their contributions have been immeasurable.

The two may play in contrasting offensive schemes -- Taylor in the Panthers' ball control and Quarles in the Knights' run-and-shoot -- but they have a common bond.

Both are outstanding athletes who possess something coaches

can't teach -- quickness -- and they know how to win.

"Probably pound for pound, Mike is the best player in the county," said North County coach Chuck Markiewicz of Quarles.

The same can be said for Taylor, of whom coach Roy Brown says "it's amazing that he hasn't gotten hurt because he never leaves the field."

Taylor has rushed for more yards in a season (1,296) than any back in Annapolis history. At cornerback he averages six tackles game.

Brown sees Taylor's size as beneficial.

"It's an advantage because he's hidden from linebackers who often don't see him until he's by them," Brown said.

"The advantage is," Taylor said, "it makes me more maneuverable. The disadvantage is that I don't have the weight to run people over."

Taylor, who also participates in gymnastics, played well his sophomore season, but ran into academic problems and transferred to Old Mill last year. He didn't play football.

"I promised my mom that I would do better in school if we moved back to Annapolis and we did," said Taylor, who may enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps after high school. "It's been a very satisfying year."

His play has led the Panthers to the postseason for the first time since 1989.

"We're glad he came back and I'm recommending him for the Rhodes Trophy for all that he has done for us," Brown said, referring to the Annapolis Touchdown Club award for the county's top player.

Quarles, a four-year varsity starter, also could be considered for the trophy after setting a metro-area record for receptions (62 and counting) in a single season while anchoring the fourth-ranked Knights' secondary, where he has three interceptions.

In North County's 34-7 quarterfinal victory over Perry Hall on Saturday at Dundalk Community College, Quarles literally covered the secondary from sideline to sideline and his knack for being around the ball was evident.

"People look at my size and say, he can't do anything, but I prove them wrong," Quarles said.

When receiver Damon Martin went down with a season-ending knee injury, Quarles emerged as quarterback Eric Howard's prime target.

In a 60-8 rout of Meade on Oct. 23, Quarles grabbed a career-high 11 passes.

"I really like catching the ball more than anything else I do, but it doesn't matter if I get the ball or not, as long as we win," said Quarles.

"As a slot back, I get to do some free-lancing, which makes it fun and exciting in our offense."

What could be a lot of fun for Taylor and Quarles would be one more victory each to set up the first all-Anne Arundel County state football final.

"I would love that," said Quarles, whose team's only loss was by 20-19 to Annapolis the third week of the season.

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