Well-armed for records

October 10, 1995|By ROCH ERIC KUBATKO | ROCH ERIC KUBATKO,SUN STAFF

The records keep falling, brought down by a young man believed too small and too slow to reach them.

It seems that a week cannot pass without Brian Van Deusen, Western Maryland's senior quarterback, leaving another imprint on the Centennial Conference.

Last Saturday, in a 13-13 tie at Muhlenberg, he became the league's all-time leader in total offense with 4,721 yards while also being its third player to throw for more than 6,000 -- including nonconference games -- in a career.

This gives him nine conference and 20 school records, to go along with the eight passing marks he set in less than two seasons as a starter at Atholton High. And more are within sight, if only he were looking for them.

"It really hasn't been that important to me," said Van Deusen, whose 6,273 yards are 396 shy of the all-time Centennial Conference record held by Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff, the Blue Jays' quarterback from 1978 to 1981. "I never really looked at the records and said, 'These are the ones I want to break.' I just think of it as the whole offense's goals."

This year Van Deusen, 21, has become Western Maryland's leader in four categories and the career conference leader in four others. And the Green Terror is benefiting, too, taking a 3-1-1 record into its next game, Saturday at Dickinson, the seven-time defending Centennial champion.

Against Muhlenberg, Van Deusen threw for two touchdowns in the last 3:13, including one with 12 seconds left. These were the final strokes on another masterpiece: 34 completions for 353 yards.

For the season, he's 126 of 247 for 1,422 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. That makes his career totals 523 completions in 966 attempts for 6,273 yards, 45 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

"He's got so much poise and control under pressure," said senior receiver Derrick Ray.

What he lacks is bulk, though his 6-foot-3 frame has filled out to around 190 pounds. His father, Don, who coached at Atholton until resigning before this season so he could attend more

Western Maryland games, said Brian grew about 5 inches between his junior and senior years in high school.

"He hit a late growth spurt," the elder Van Deusen said.

And he has been coming up big ever since.

The records sneak up on Van Deusen. No advance warning, no on-field celebrations.

He found out about being the conference's all-time leader in passing yardage the day after the Green Terror's 27-7 romp over Ursinus. "I didn't have any idea about that one until I read about it in the paper," he said.

Green Terror coach Tim Keating prefers it this way, saying "this is a team sport."

Keating came to Western Maryland before Van Deusen's sophomore year. The Green Terror was weak on the offensive line and at fullback and lacked a tight end. With a surplus of good receivers, Keating implemented the run-and-shoot offense more out of necessity than to take advantage of his quarterback's strong throwing arm and sound football mind.

Van Deusen had played in only the last two games of his freshman year, but Keating knew right away who would be at the controls. And his decision had little to do with physical ability.

"I had talked to him and he was an impressive young man. Forget the football skills, he seemed to have his feet on the ground," he said.

Van Deusen had some experience with the run-and-shoot. His father used it during Brian's last year at Atholton, and they would stay up nights watching films -- a huge step from playing catch in the back yard of their Columbia home many years earlier.

"I've learned almost everything from him -- how to be a quarterback, how to read defenses, all the techniques in throwing, and choosing receivers," Van Deusen said.

There's one area even his father's teaching couldn't improve. "He's got a major-league arm, a major-league head," Keating said "Unfortunately, God didn't bless him with major-league foot speed."

No discussion about Van Deusen, a .300 hitter on the baseball team, is confined to what he does in uniform. The talk inevitably shifts to his likable personality, his intelligence, his maturity.

Try digging up some dirt on Van Deusen, and you're left with an empty shovel.

"He leads by example, on and off the field," Keating said. "He's got a 3.5 grade-point average in a tough major [math]. He doesn't have any bad habits. I've never heard him use a four-letter word, except 'nuts' maybe. I wish we had a whole team of him."

Senior Dan Coleman is Van Deusen's roommate and the recipient of many of his passes. If anyone would know about his quirks, it's Coleman.

He ponders the question. He comes up with "he's a quiet guy who gets along with everybody."

Van Deusen would like to take a crack at playing professionally, though his limited mobility makes it improbable. More likely, he'll go to graduate school and follow in his father's footsteps as a coach.

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