Record numbers put Sabelhaus high on recruiters' lists


October 29, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer Rich Scherr contributed to this article.

He began the year rated the nation's No. 1 quarterback prospect in SuperPrep's preseason All-America report. And yesterday, against St. Mary's, McDonogh's Bobby Sabelhaus set a state record for career passing yardage.

But Sabelhaus, 6 feet 6, 225 pounds, says he would trade some of the honors for an undefeated record, instead of the Eagles' present 6-2 mark.

Against Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference foe St. Mary's, Sabelhaus went 14-for-18 for 215 yards, no interceptions and four touchdowns before leaving late in the third quarter of McDonogh's 35-14 win.

He has 49 career touchdowns and 5,611 yards, surpassing by 134 yards the state record established by Al Neville of John Carroll in 1969. Sabelhaus' 337 career completions are 12 shy of the state record.

The record-breaking play, "a Subaru slant," came on a 22-yard slant up the middle to Dennis Badham 1:02 before halftime, as Sabelhaus side-armed the ball 10 yards in the air and Badham took it the final 12 yards for the score.

"I've never felt better in my life. I owe this all to my team," said Sabelhaus, crediting receivers Badham, Dwayne Stukes and Jason Taylor, as well as the offensive line of Harrison Bentley, Vance Row, Lance Clelland, Rick Cober and Albert Gibson.

"I overheard my coach say I needed 22 yards [before the drive]. When I threw the ball I said, 'That's it.' When I came out in the third quarter, I was able to enjoy it."

But some of Sabelhaus' preseason expectations have fallen short, so there is disappointment.

The Eagles took a 14-game winning streak into this season, but lost their opener. Five games later, they lost again. Three days after that, Sabelhaus learned from McDonogh coach Dom Damico that Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz was no longer !B recruiting him.

This after SuperPrep publisher Allen Wallace called Sabelhaus "the best pure drop-back quarterback in the United States."

"Hearing that [about Lou Holtz] hurt a little, but I don't have a big ego. It's not a problem," Sabelhaus said. "You sometimes have ** these high expectations, and sometimes, you're disappointed."

Sabelhaus said he receives an average of seven calls nightly from college recruiters.

"Some of them want an early verbal commitment" before the NCAA's Feb. 8 early signing date, said his father, Bobby Sabelhaus Sr. "That way, they can start lining up receivers and other recruits."

Sabelhaus, a B student with a 1,050 Scholastic Assessment Test score, says Clemson, Ohio State, Maryland, Florida, Duke, Michigan, Boston College and Florida State are his top picks.

Florida State, Virginia, Georgia and Clemson scouted McDonogh's 54-0 rout of St. Paul's in which Sabelhaus was 12-for-18 with 206 yards and three touchdowns.

The Florida schools have contacted him most frequently, he said.

"I talked to [Florida] coach Steve Spurrier for 15 minutes once, and a lot with Florida's recruiter, Ronnie Cottrell," said Sabelhaus, who visited Florida State in early October. He plans to see visit Florida, Boston College and Duke in December.

"Some coaches tell you you're their No. 1 guy and you get a general sense that they care. Others aren't that way."

The suitors are going after Sabelhaus and Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic's Dan Kendra (6-2, 220). Rated No. 3 in SuperPrep, Kendra also has visited Florida State and plans to visit North Carolina, Penn State and Notre Dame.

A fourth-year starter who also plays linebacker, Kendra was rated the No. 1 quarterback in USA Today's preseason Super 25. He had 1,441 career rushing yards for 25 touchdowns and 5,176 career passing yards for 59 touchdowns through seven games.

Notre Dame took Sabelhaus off its list not because Irish quarterback Ron Powlus has three years of remaining eligibility after this year, but because Holtz favored Kendra's quarterbacking style.

"That could actually help Bobby's decision-making, since they're like the top two recruits by some of the same schools," said Damico. "Kendra's a 4.5 guy in the 40 and runs the option well. If he chooses Notre Dame, that just frees up other options for Bobby."

Sabelhaus and the Eagles lost their No. 1 ranking in the Baltimore area after they were beaten, 25-14, by Potomac of Prince George's County. Last weekend's 38-33 setback came against then-unranked Loyola despite Sabelhaus' 239 passing yards for two touchdowns.

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