The first teams at a glance


December 02, 1993|By Bill Free

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR OFFENSE -- Greg Mihalko, South Carroll, RB, Jr. -- When a football player thinks like Mihalko does, he's bound to be a lot of trouble for the opposition no matter how small he is. "I like to think I punish the tacklers when they try to stop me," said Mihalko (5 feet 9, 170 pounds). It was this mentality that made the versatile Mihalko a force for the Cavaliers on offense. He carried the ball 111 times for 628 yards, had 16 catches for 129 yards, scored nine touchdowns and a two-point conversion that beat Wilde Lake, 15-14, in the season opener, returned a kickoff 75 yards and a punt 80 yards for touchdowns. The touchdown run that will be remembered the most probably came against Westminster in the final game of the season when the Owls had Mihalko pinned for an apparent big loss. He somehow escaped four would-be tacklers with some incredible lateral moves and broke free for a 40-yard touchdown run. Even Westminster coach Jeff Oeming saluted Mihalko for that run. "It was unbelievable," said Oeming. "Mihalko has some great moves. He's a player."

DEFENSE -- Larry Devilbiss, Westminster, LB, Sr. -- This four-year starter clinched the county's top defensive award in the final game of the season against South Carroll (a 14-7 Westminster victory) when he made two brilliant tackles at the 2-inch line to keep the Cavaliers out of the end zone in the second quarter. It was the culmination of a season in which Devilbiss (5-11, 150) amassed 225 defensive points for his superb play. That was 65 more points than anybody else ever had in coach Jeff Oeming's six years at the school. To get an idea of how Devilbiss dominated the defense, the second-most points on the team this season was 101. The hard-hitting linebacker had 71 solo tackles and 46 assisted tackles this season, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries (returning one of them 43 yards) and four tackles for losses and averaged 32 yards punting. Oeming said Devilbiss definitely will play college football, either as a linebacker or defensive back, depending on which school he attends. "Some people just have a knack for hitting people hard no matter how small they are and Larry is one of these people,"

said Oeming.

@COACH OF THE YEAR Jeff Oeming, Westminster -- Even though the Owls fell one game short of a .500 season (4-6), Oeming guided his team to the county championship with a 3-0 record and could have had a 6-4 record if Westminster had not lost by two points to Frederick and Woodlawn. After winning a total of just three games in 1991 and 1992, Oeming made the Owls a respectable team this season against what was another tough schedule that included 3A powers Thomas Johnson and Linganore and always-strong 4A opponent Annapolis. Oeming, who resigned after the season to take a break from football, has the Westminster program headed in the right direction with a lot of talented juniors who started this season returning in 1994. Four starting defensive linemen will be back, as will quarterback Steve Mays and three other offensive starters. Oeming said the Owls "made tremendous improvement all year long."


* Mike Arterburn, South Carroll, Sr., T -- The Cavaliers had the most success moving the ball this season when they ran behind Arterburn (5-11, 225), who was the only holdover from the team's massive offensive line last season. Arterburn has a zest for the game and an ability to block that is hard to match on the high-school level. An excellent trap blocker, Arterburn is a near-certain bet to play college football at some level.

* Chris DeGasperi, Westminster, Sr., RB -- This powerfully built runner (5-10, 190) preferred to run over defenders instead of around them. Coach Jeff Oeming tried to convince him to "dodge people" but DeGasperi never saw the benefit in that. He punished would-be tacklers for a county-leading 963 yards and seven touchdowns on 141 carries (6.8 yards per carry). DeGasperi bulked up in the off-season in the weight room and was bench-pressing over 300 pounds, making him a perfect fit for Westminster's grind-it-out offense. His ability to run inside opened up the outside for speedy Steve Kahler, making Westminster a good enough team to win the county title and come within four points of a 6-4 season.

Jeremy Esworthy, South Carroll, Jr., TE -- A perfect tight end for South Carroll's passing game. Esworthy (6-0, 185) could block, catch the ball, break tackles and run with the ball. He turned in strong games against Glenelg and Thomas Johnson. All his skills were on display on one play against Thomas Johnson when he caught the ball on an out pattern, broke three tackles and rambled for 60 yards. Cavaliers coach Gene Brown said Esworthy has great hands.

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