Deeper, experienced Eagles raise coach's hopes 1993 Howard County high school football preview Centennial

September 02, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

The return of 24 lettermen, including four starting linebackers, has pushed Ed Holshue's expectations higher in his fourth season as Centennial football coach.

"We've improved tremendously and can be a contender," Holshue said.

The heart of Centennial's team should be its linebackers, including senior Chong Choe (5 feet 10, 175 pounds) and juniors Kevin O'Connor (6-3, 210), Jeff Conner (6-0, 200) and Robbie Hauff (6-0, 195).

O'Connor was a coaches All-County pick and the team's leading tackler last season. Hauff will double as a running back, giving the Eagles good size at that position.

Centennial is equally rich in linemen, especially returning senior guards Dave Almquist and Anthony DiPietro, to whom the Eagles will look for leadership.

Brian Candida (6-1, 200), a returning senior offensive tackle and defensive end, will play a key role.

Junior John O'Connor (6-1, 290), an offensive tackle who missed half of last season with a broken leg, returns.

Senior James Carothers (6-2, 235) is back at defensive tackle, and junior defensive end Chris Cochran (6-1, 185) will start along with junior guard Steve Puckett (5-11, 200).

Eric Frank (6-1, 200) at center has impressed Holshue. "He's improved 100 percent and is a pleasant surprise," said Holshue.

And junior John Cowles (5-10, 205) is up from junior varsity to provide line depth.

Although extremely young last season, the Eagles managed to stay close in seven of their 10 games while posting a 4-6 record. They were 5-5 in each of Holshue's first two years.

One key is whether the Eagles can produce at the skill positions.

"It's encouraging right now," Holshue said. "We'll be throwing and hope for a balanced offense."

Junior quarterback Brian Dowell (6-2, 195) is big and strong enough to make any coach happy.

"He's the best passer we've had," Holshue said.

Junior Dominick Dinisio, up from junior varsity, should be one of Dowell's targets.

At running back, senior James Miller (5-10, 150) has looked good. He'll team with Hauff, who'll play tailback, and senior Don Culbreth (5-10, 180) at fullback. Senior Thearon McQueen is also a running back.

Senior Mark Teeters will play fullback, safety, cornerback and punter. "The guys call him Lysol because he has 101 uses," Holshue said.

Senior Jeff Goldberg will provide Centennial with a kicker if his injured knee improves enough. He's also a safety and fullback.

The defensive backfield will include juniors Joe Lowrance and Kevin Heywood up from junior varsity.

"This will be the first senior class that has gone all the way through our system, so this should be our best year," Holshue said. "We're certainly physically stronger and I think we're faster."

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