Speed from all angles: Falcons' Frye tough to catch

September 22, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

Andy Borland said that the biggest difference between Mark Frye and other great running backs who have played at Severna Park is that "he goes full tilt, 100 mph even on his cuts."

"Most backs stop or slow up to make a cut, not Mark," said Borland, who is in his 22nd year as head coach of the Falcons after serving a decade as an assistant to the late George Roberts.

"Mark is really quick and appears even quicker because of the speed he maintains on his cuts."

That 4.5-second speed (which Borland said is "4.3 when somebody is chasing him") has attracted interest from such schools as Nebraska, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Richmond, Dartmouth, Temple, Rhode Island, Delaware, N.C. State and Maryland.

The scouts and Borland say Frye could play Division I football as a wide receiver, defensive back and/or kick returner, but he also excels in lacrosse and has piqued the interest of a host of college recruiters, including Loyola.

"He may be too light to play inside, but he has tremendous vision of the ball and the field as a receiver," said Borland. "There aren't many kids who can adjust immediately to the ball when it goes up in the air as he does."

The 6-foot, 180-pound Frye, who benches 285 pounds and squats 310, is off to a spectacular start in his senior year.

In the Falcons' first two games, Frye, featured in Bluechip Illustrated as a preseason All-Region back by the National College Recruiting Association, has 356 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns as a running back and kick returner.

Quite a start for the guy who has led the Falcons in rushing since his sophomore season, gaining 1,569 yards on 200 attempts for an average of 7.8 yards.

Frye, who has 23 career touchdowns, was All-County last season, scoring 11 touchdowns and averaging 7.4 yards per carry, gaining 1,003 yards and another 202 yards on 11 pass receptions.

Frye picked up where he left off in the Falcons' home- and season-opening 50-12 win over Queen Anne's. He was pulled early after scoring three touchdowns on runs of 4 and 9 yards, and a kickoff return of 70 yards.

Last week, Frye's second touchdown from 4 yards out with 3:47 left gave the Falcons a 29-26 victory at Thomas Stone in Charles County. Frye carried 14 times for 156 yards, including a 49-yard jaunt, had a 51-yard punt return called back for a clip and picked off two passes from defensive back.

"Those are the kind of games I love, because they're so intense and you feel physically drained afterward with something to show for it," said Frye.

"There was some trash talk going on late in the game and that just makes me play harder."

And he plays hard all the time. He knows no other way because it was taught to him by his father, Mark Sr., a good back in his own time and currently coach of the Falcons' junior varsity.

"My dad started me playing at 8 years old and has taught me a lot, things like the spin move I use," said Frye.

Mark Sr. was an All-County back at Glen Burnie High under Joe Papetti from 1971 to 1973. His senior year, he gained 881 yards, averaging 5.2 yards, and scored 12 touchdowns for the Gophers.

"Mark Sr. was a tough runner, but was more of a power runner, who ran over you while Mark Jr. has the speed to run around you," said Borland.

"I was not as fast as Mark and he's a much better athlete," said Mark Sr., who has tried his best to emphasize the importance of academics to earning that opportunity to play big-time football or lacrosse.

Mark Jr., who has worked hard in the classroom the last two years and has brought his GPA up to an overall 2.00, said he didn't listen at he outset because, "I guess I really didn't think I would be getting a chance to go somewhere and if I had listened I would be a lot better off."

Frye is retaking the Scholastic Assessment Test in October to bring his score up even though he already has met the requirements. He intends to make the cut academically, but the question is, will it be football or lacrosse?

'I don't care, it's his decision," said Mark Sr. "But I wouldn't mind it if he chose football and played at Maryland."

Mark Jr. said, "I'm leaning toward lacrosse, but if a school like Penn State offered me a [football] scholarship, I would be very interested."

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