Owls' RBs running the show DeGasperi, Kahler go inside, outside

October 01, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

The fullback likes nothing better than to run over people. Up the middle, whoever gets in his way -- tough luck.

Out of pads, the halfback doesn't look like he belongs on the field. It isn't until he gets around the corner and eventually finds the end zone that people take notice.

Chris DeGasperi and Steve Kahler stand 5 feet 10, but there's little comparison after that -- aside from the fact they are key components in the Westminster Owls' backfield.

"Chris is a strong boy who loves to pound it up the middle," said Kahler.

"I don't think too many people would think I'm a football player -- I'm not that big. I try to stay away from the inside stuff and get around the corner. Once I get outside, I have some decent speed to get around the corner."

DeGasperi weighs about 190 pounds, and Kahler generously says he's around 140. It's the contrast that makes things work as the Owls, who are riding a two-game winning streak as they prepare to play host to Central Maryland Conference foe Thomas Johnson tonight.

Last week's 24-0 shutout win at North Carroll proved it.

With the Panthers' defense looking to clog up the middle to stop DeGasperi -- who the week before had rushed for 167 yards on 14 carries in a win against Meade -- Kahler found plenty of running room to the outside. He finished the night with 151 yards and second-half touchdown runs of 39 and 44 yards.

"It's great to have two good backs in Chris and Steve," said Westminster coach Jeff Oeming.

"Chris had the big game the week before so we knew going in that North Carroll would be looking to focus on the fullback. That's where Steve stepped in. He gives us another dimension with his speed and ability to get around the corner. He's one of the fastest running backs we've had in awhile."

DeGasperi leads the county in rushing with 404 yards on 48 carries for an 8.4 average.

When he's not on the football field, chances are you'll find him in the Westminster weight room or mowing lawns. He has his own lawn-care business with about 20 regular customers.

"Last week before the game I mowed seven lawns," he said. "I mow between 15 and 20 lawns a week, but it's really tough getting them all in this time of year. I hate to tell people I can't do it, so I do my best to squeeze everyone in. It just can't rain during the weekends this time of year."

Throughout the winter, DeGasperi will guarantee anyone that he can be found lifting weights at the school from 6 to 7:30 every weeknight. He bench-presses 300 pounds.

"There's nothing better than running over someone who I know I probably wouldn't be able to run by," he said.

"That's when all the lifting really pays off. In the past, I kept my head down and just tried to plow ahead, where this year I'm keeping my head up and looking for my blocks. That's been a big key, too."

When spring rolls around, Kahler dominates in another sport -- track and field. Last season, he finished second in the Class 4A zTC state meet in the mile. Though track likely will be his ticket to

college, football is the sport he enjoys most.

Right now, his mind is on beating Thomas Johnson. Going into the game, he has rushed for 326 yards on 49 carries for a 6.7 average and three touchdowns.

"I've been playing football for around 10 years," Kahler said. "In track, all the pressure is on one person. Football's a team game and I just like the contact."

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