Carroll County Team-by-team Capsules Local Sports: High School Football Preview

September 08, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1994 record: 2-8. Coach: Mike Coons (career record: 10-70).

Top players: Cortney Woodyard, Sr., HB/CB; J.T. Chiaruttini, Sr., QB/S; Scott Compton, Sr., FB/LB; David Norwood, Sr., OG/LB; Tim Puckett, Sr., OG/DE; Eric Stonesifer, Sr., C.

Outlook: Last year the Eagles were expecting to turn the corner after two straight three-win seasons. With the emphasis more on wins and losses, they instead dropped to 2-8. This time around, Coons has his team taking it one day at a time.

"I made a pledge to myself not to say anything about winning and losing and just talking about getting better and improving every day. I think they've taken to that," the seventh-year coach said. "We thought last year was going to be a breakthrough year and myself and the coaching staff may have overdone that. This season, whatever we are today, we're going to be better tomorrow -- that's how we're approaching it."

The offense will rely on Woodyard, a 5-foot-6, 155-pound halfback who makes defenders miss. Last season, he carried the ball 62 times for 412 yards and finished with four touchdowns -- including a punt return. "He's the guy carrying the mail this year. I'd like to have him touch the ball 20 times a game combined with carrying the ball, catching it and on returns," Coons said. "He's a jitterbug, water bug-type runner who finds places where there's not. Our offensive linemen know if they can just sustain a block and stay on it awhile Cortney will find a way to get through."

There's more to the Eagles' offense with Chiaruttini returning at quarterback and showing improved mechanics. Compton, an honorable mention in the county last season at fullback, led the team in receiving with 14 catches for 337 yards and four touchdowns. The offensive line -- anchored by Stonesifer and Puckett -- doesn't have a lot of size, but makes up for it with intelligence and quickness. Some size was added with the addition of Brian Watkins, a 280-pound tackle who transferred from South Carolina last spring.

Puckett is the only two-way player on the line, also playing defensive end. Senior Ted Daigle and juniors Mark Plank and Brett Cowan also will play up front defensively. "The ends are the key to our defense this season. If they can make you run inside, we got the kids who can tackle in there. The ends will need to contain," Coons said. Norwood, Compton and Bobby Bollinger are the linebackers with Chiaruttini (strong safety) and Woodyard (corner) working double duty in the secondary.

Liberty Lions

L 1994 record: 4-6. Coach: Ken Johnson (career record: 78-41).

Top players: Bill Shaffer, Sr., FB; Tyrone Ellis, Sr., SE/LB; Josh Denning, Jr., HB/LB; Jim Smutek, Sr., C; Gaelen Cross, Sr., G; Ryan Pagels, Jr., QB; Scott Taylor, Sr., LB; Steve Bartosik, Sr., DT; Justin Barnowski, Jr., CB.

Outlook: There was no secret as to what the Lions' strength and weakness was in 1994. The Lions scored 38 points against Westminster and racked up 46 more against Frederick only to come up with two losses. "We figured if we could have been 10 percent better on defense we would have had won three more games. The key for us this year is going to be defense, we need to improve," Johnson said.

The offense loses the county's leading rusher from last season, Brandon Scarborough, who transferred to Milford Mill for his senior year. There still remains plenty of weapons to keep the offense moving. "The offense is a confident well-oiled unit," Johnson said. Shaffer and Denning will pick up the slack running the ball out of the wing-T and Pagels has a big-play receiver in Ellis. Last season, Ellis caught 12 passes for 275 yards with four touchdowns. Pagels, another threat to run the ball, completed 30 of 75 passes in 1994 for 570 yards and six touchdowns. He'll need to cut down on the nine interceptions he threw last year. The line returns Cross, a first-team All-County selection, at guard and honorable-mention Smutek at center. Look for the Lions to throw the ball a little more with Pagels looking more comfortable after a solid sophomore campaign. Johnson said he was doing a great job of finding the different reads and making good decisions. Junior tight end Luke Vrizen is another target in the Lions' potent attack. He'll also handle the punting and kicking duties. And what about the defense? Johnson said the Lions have upgraded their strength and speed at every position. He's particularly impressed with what he's seen from his linebacking corp. Three linebackers return in Denning, Ellis and Taylor with Mount Hebron transfer Jim Sawyer also expected to contribute. Bartosik returns to anchor the line at tackle. Ryan Jones, who started out as a quarterback, is one of the team's strongest players at end. Barnowski will handle one cornerback spot with Jason Wilder at the other and Dave Johnson at safety.

North Carroll Panthers

1994 record: 1-9. Coach: Bill Rumbaugh (career record: 1-19).

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