High School Football Preview

September 05, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1995 record: 5-5.

Coach: Mike Coons (career record: 15-55).

Top players: Bobby Bollinger, Sr., TE/LB; Brad Stonesifer, Sr., QB; Mark Plank, Sr., OT/DT; Domenic Mallardi, Sr., OT; Brent Cowan, Sr., DE; Aaron Ward, Sr., C/DE; Jason Stultz, Sr., CB; Mitch Plank, Sr., LB.

Outlook: At 5-5 last year, the Eagles enjoyed their finest season under eighth-year coach Coons. Carrying that success over to this year's team is the next challenge. "Last year, we got over expecting to lose. The kids also learned the importance of preparing and when our preparations didn't pan out, they were angry," Coons said. With 14 seniors in the program for all four years and every junior on the roster in his third, Coons is expecting to see some continuity. "This year's team has a totally different personality. It's a very blue-collar team," Coons said. "We'll need to see some early success to be successful." Much of the flash of last year's offense -- second in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League in total yards -- has graduated, most noticeably running back Cortney Woodyard, who finished with 1,176 yards and six touchdowns. That's where the workmanlike approach this year's team has taken comes in. "We may not be quite as talented athletically this season and don't have Cortney Woodyard out there, but we'll have three kids carrying the load," Coons said. Whoever does the running will have senior fullback Ryan Day leading the way. The Eagles also plan to throw the ball plenty with Stonesifer replacing Jordan Chiaruttini at quarterback. He'll look to Bollinger and senior split end Jess Brossoit, who saw time last season. Tackles Mallardi and Mark Plank should provide Stonesifer with protection along with giving the running game plenty of room. "We showed in scrimmages we can definitely move the ball up and down the field. The question is whether we'll get in the end zone," Coons said. The defense will focus around Bollinger at middle linebacker. "He'll get to you and knock you down. He's an explosive kid," Coons said. There's some youth up front with more size than years' past. Cowan does return at an end position with Mark Plank (5-10, 230) big and quick in the middle. Stultz and junior Scott Glover will take control in the secondary.

North Carroll Panthers

1995 record: 1-9.

Coach: Bill Rumbaugh (career record: 2-28).

Top players: John Etzel, Sr., QB; Tim Hackler, Sr., OG/LB; Vince Hackler, Sr., TE/LB; Shane Lettau, Sr., SE/CB; Scott Ryan, Sr., OT/DT; Dan Sullivan, Sr., LB; Adam Crowl, Jr., HB; Rick Brown, Jr., HB; Eric Etzel, Jr., RB.

Outlook: There are subtle signs that show the North Carroll program is starting to turn the corner. In each of Rumbaugh's four years since taking the job, turnout has increased with 82 players coming out for the three teams -- varsity, junior varsity and freshmen -- this season. For the first time, Rumbaugh has a defensive line (average weight 200 pounds) that looks like a defensive line. There's also plenty of young talent on the varsity this season that enjoyed success on last year's 5-3 junior varsity. "Our goal this season is more of an intangible. It's all about attitude. When we step on the field, we're going to expect good things to happen. That's something new," Rumbaugh said. Rumbaugh will have six underclassmen starting on both sides of the ball, including a new set of junior running backs to join John Etzel, a two-year starter at quarterback. After years of pounding the ball inside with big, strong runners, this year's trio -- Adam Crowl, Brown and Eric Etzel -- has the speed and elusiveness to run away from people. The Panthers will look to establish the running game, but also won't be afraid to throw with Lettau and Chad Crowl providing more speed at their split end positions. Ryan and Tim Hackler anchor the offensive line with Vince Hackler another target and good blocker at tight end. Defensively, the strength and experience is with the linebacking corps led by the Hackler brothers and Sullivan. Ryan, senior Scott Fischer and junior Ben Fleming, last year's county heavyweight wrestling champ, are the mainstays up front with Lettau the standout in the secondary at a cornerback spot.

Liberty Lions

1995 record: 8-2.

Coach: Ken Johnson (career record: 86-43).

Top players: Ryan Pagels, Sr., QB/SS; Justin Barnowski, Sr., HB/CB; Josh Denning, Sr., HB; Luke Vriezen, Sr., TE/K/LB; Ottis Roebuck, Sr., OG; Bill Marriott, Sr., OG; Jon Felmey, Sr., SE/CB.

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