The quarterback. He has to be mentally and physically tough because the game of football ebbs and flows depending upon how well he plays.
Amid physical chaos in which opposing players are going after him, he must keep his composure.
The quarterback gets most of the glory when the team wins and shoulders most of the blame when it loses.
Several county teams have outstanding quarterbacks this season, headed by Howard's DaLawn Parrish, a preseason All-America.
Glenelg has Sean Lookingbill. Hammond has Tim Spruill. Oakland Mills has Irving Conwell. Each has different ideas about quarterbacking. Each has different strengths and weaknesses.
Parrish's favorite part of quarterbacking is taking control of the // game. His least favorite is losing. "Because the quarterback gets blamed for the loss even if it was the offensive line that broke down," he said.
He thinks the toughest aspect of quarterbacking is reading defenses, and the easiest is using his athleticism to get out of tough situations.
Although most people think of him as a running quarterback, he prefers passing. His best passing day last season was 11-for-16 for 133 yards and one touchdown against Oakland Mills. His longest pass was a 65-yarder against Poly in the playoffs.
The Lions run a play-action passing game that gives Parrish extra time to pick out receivers.
Conwell, the Oakland Mills quarterback, who has an excellent arm, likes the pressure that goes with being the quarterback. "I like people relying on me," he said.
His least favorite part of quarterbacking is when he throws an interception.
He thinks the hardest part is remembering the different fakes and the footwork that are part of Oakland Mills' wing-T offense; the easiest is rolling out and passing.
Conwell, a junior, did not play quarterback last season when he was at Hammond, but did play junior varsity quarterback as a freshman.
Lookingbill thinks that passing and being the offensive leader are the best things about being quarterback. What the strong-armed senior likes the least is that his teammates think he has it easy during practice because the coaches don't allow him HTC to be hit.
The toughest part of quarterbacking for him is keeping his
composure. "You have to learn to forget it when you throw an interception," he said.
The easiest thing for him is passing. He threw a school-record 90-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Cordisco against Oakland Mills last season, and also had his best pass percentage day (13-for-20) against Oakland Mills.
The left-hander is a straight drop-back passer who likes to throw from the pocket.
Spruill's favorite part of quarterbacking is being a leader. His least favorite is reading defenses and remembering all the pass routes.
Hammond runs a no-huddle shotgun offense so Spruill has to think quickly. He says that the hardest thing is knowing where everyone is supposed to be; the easiest is running with the ball.
Spruill runs a 4.45 in the 40-yard -- and is one of the most athletic players in the county. He likes to throw while rolling out or scrambling.
His longest run last season was 44 yards against Centennial. His longest pass was a 52-yard touchdown toss against Centennial. He also returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown against Centennial.
Quarterbacks can't win championships by themselves, but few teams win championships without an outstanding quarterback.
The quarterback position might be why so many people are picking Howard and Oakland Mills to be the two best county teams this season.