Dangerfield finally getting respect City senior tailback focuses on winning

September 17, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Statistics are the measurement of individual success on the football field. Rushing yards. Receptions. Tackles. Interceptions. Sacks.

But City tailback Ricky Dangerfield doesn't get blinded by the numbers on a statistician's sheet. He focuses on the win-loss column.

"I like to help my team win . . . that's all that really matters to me," said Dangerfield, a 5-foot-6, 160-pound senior. "The attention doesn't mean as much as to win.

"When I first came up on this level, stats mattered. But I feel if you give the impression that you are concerned about stats, it makes the other guys on the team feel that you are on a plateau and they won't look up to you. If I keep my mind focused on winning instead of stats, they will follow the same lead."

The success of the Knights' program the past two seasons has made them one of the area's best -- two consecutive years as The Baltimore Sun's No. 1 team; 23 consecutive wins dating to Thanksgiving Day 1990; two Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championships, and a No. 20 ranking at last season's end in USA Today's Super 25.

Dangerfield, a third-year player on the varsity, has played a part, and, so far, his stats have been worth a look. In two games, Dangerfield has rushed for 263 yards and scored four touchdowns, picking up where he left off last season when he led City with 13 touchdowns and 757 rushing yards.

While the running and passing of The Baltimore Sun's Offensive Player of the Year Terrence Suber (Wake Forest) and the receiving of Dwight Banks gained the accolades from City's success last season, Dangerfield did whatever he needed to do to help the team win without fanfare.

"He's definitely a team player all the way," City coach George Petrides said. "I don't think he has ever asked to look at the stats to see how many yards he gained or how many touchdowns he scored. He's the one I want with the ball when we need a touchdown the most."

At the beginning of last season, Dangerfield didn't figure prominently in the Knights' offensive plans with Suber, Banks and running backs Antonio Travers and Trent Green. But as the season went on, although Dangerfield's playing time didn't increase, his effectiveness did.

In a key game at Loyola late last season, Dangerfield carried only seven times, resulting in two touchdowns in a 14-11 victory. It was the Knights' closest margin of victory.

Ten days later in City's 104th meeting with Poly, this time for the MSA A Conference title, Dangerfield had to step up as Travers was slowed by a leg injury. All he did was rush for 109 yards and one touchdown. Final score: City 20, Poly 0.

Dangerfield, who runs a 4.4-second 40-yard --, is earning respect as one of the area's top backs. In the first game of the season against Douglass, he rushed for 160 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-16 win.

Still, the team's performance has been his concern. The sluggish showing against Douglass and the six turnovers in a 26-6 victory over Carver have made both victories a bit less satisfying.

"Right now, we're not playing with motivation," said Dangerfield, a tri-captain. "Here at City, we take our school work very seriously, and the same is true with football, but we're not playing to our capabilities."

Only Dangerfield, Banks and linemen Xavier Logan remain from the 1990 MSA A Conference championship squad. Nothing would mean more to Dangerfield than to complete his career with an unblemished record. That would mean a state Class 3A championship in City's first year of eligibility in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

"I think about it every day," he said. "The three of us [Dangerfield, Logan, Banks] think about it every day. We have some of the best athletes in the state, and if we can get focused, I think there's no one that can stop us."

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