Def. Player of Year
John Norsworthy, Arundel, Sr., linebacker: On a team that took pride in delivering punishing hits, Norsworthy (5-10, 180) was the "hit man" and ring leader with an average of 13 tackles a game for the 10-1 county and region champion Wildcats. The three-year starter, who is the lone first-defense repeater and near-unanimous coaches choice as the best defensive player, also led his team in sacks (11). If a count was kept on hammer hits, Norsworthy wins hands down and a host of county ball carriers will attest to that. Hard-nosed may be too nice of a description. "Hitting is our game and nobody hit harder than John from start to finish," said coach Bill Zucco. "You knew you were hit when he hit you." Norsworthy, who also ran for 561 yards and five touchdowns as a short-yardage man, always seemed to be in the middle of the action. "I love it when it's just me and the guy with the ball," said Norsworthy, who hopes to play junior college football.
Richard Allen, North County, Jr., down lineman: Allen (6-3, 230) anchored the Knights' defensive line with nearly 90 tackles, two fumble recoveries (caused another) and five sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown. Opponents tried to run away from him. Developing into a Division I prospect this season, Allen, who has 4.7 speed, also impressed on the offensive line.
Bill Clyburn, Arundel, Sr., cornerback: A prototype of a position that demands versatility, Clyburn combined the qualities of a defensive back and outside linebacker. Clyburn (6-3, 185) was in on nine tackles a game and covered both big receivers as well as the little, fast guys.
Rickey Crawford, Glen Burnie, Soph., end: Crawford (6-2, 190), who started as a freshman, is the only sophomore on the first-team defense. With the quickness and agility to turn sweeps inside, Crawford can put the heat on an opposing quarterback. His 15 sacks (one short of county record set by Severna Park's Ron Green in 1993) led the county. Crawford, who has 26 sacks in two seasons, was in on 80 tackles on a defense that gave up 20 points a game.
Sean Doordan, St. Mary's, Sr., down lineman: An expert at filling the gaps, Doordan (5-10, 220) usually drew the attention of more than one blocker. If he didn't make the tackle for the county's top defense (only gave up 96 points in 10 games), his drawing a crowd freed up a teammate to make the hit.
Toney Fowlkes, North County, Sr., strong safety: Teams often threw on the side away from Fowlkes out of respect, but backs had trouble avoiding his punishing hits. Quick to read and come up to the action, Fowlkes averaged nearly 10 tackles a game, and had two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and a blocked punt.
Brandt Hager, Annapolis, Sr., linebacker: A bright spot on the Panthers' first losing team (4-6) since 1983, Hager (5-10, 170) was the team leader in tackles (eight per game) and fumble recoveries (five). Hager also led on the other side of the ball with 858 yards rushing and scored eight touchdowns. "Brandt was our most consistent player," said coach Roy Brown.
Jimmy Henson, Severna Park, Sr., down lineman: Henson (5-8, 230), second-team All-County last year, provided senior leadership on a very young Falcon team as a solid, two-way lineman. A lead blocker at offensive guard for the county's second leading rusher, Henson also anchored the defensive front with over 50 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a blocked field-goal attempt.
Brian Judy, Spalding, Jr., punter: Perhaps the Cavaliers' best and busiest player as a running back, linebacker and punter, Judy (5-9, 165) kept his team competitive. He averaged 34.9 yards a punt and rushed for 700 yards and seven touchdowns. On defense, he was in on over 80 tackles.
Mike McKnight, Arundel, Sr., back: A sound three-year starter, McKnight (5-8, 155) was second in the county in interceptions (eight), returning one for a touchdown, and finished his career with 13 picks. His intelligence in the classroom (near 4.0 GPA and over 1,500 on the Scholastic Assessment Test) carried over to the football field where he was like a quarterback in the secondary.
Marvin Mobley, North County, Jr., linebacker: Talk about creating havoc on an opposing offense. That was this linebacker's specialty with 86 tackles (assisted on 45 more), two fumble recoveries, including one for a game-winning touchdown against Chesapeake, and forced two other fumbles. Quick and strong (6-0, 180), Mobley also had two sacks and a blocked punt in eight games.
Damion Moss, Meade, Sr., back: With a county-leading 11 interceptions (returned two for touchdowns), Moss (5-10, 180) was the Mustangs' rally killer. A three-year starter, his 15 career interceptions is one short of the county record. His 4.5 speed and 32-inch vertical jump made this state long jump champion (last spring) one of the metro area's premier defensive backs. Moss caught 10 passes at receiver for the 4A state semifinalist.