Lavar Macon sticks out. His smile lights up a room. His aggressive play electrifies a football field.
"Because of the way I tackle with my pads instead of my arms, and because there's always a lot of action around me, one of our coaches [assistant coach Chuck Fales] calls me "Monday Nights," Macon said.
Monday Night Football is prime time; so is Macon.
"He's been our best player this year," Atholton coach Kevin Kelly said. "He's our impact guy. He's done everything we've asked."
The 165-pound senior running back leads Atholton in scoring with 44 points and in rushing with 509 yards in five games. As outside linebacker, he has 22 solo tackles and five assists, even though most teams run away from his side.
"They do run away from my side, but only partly because of me. Part of it is our left tackle, Marcus Boykins," Macon said.
Macon stunned undefeated Wilde Lake in the league opener by running 72 yards for a first-quarter touchdown that gave Atholton a 7-0 lead. The Raiders eventually lost, 21-7.
"He doesn't have great speed, but he has quick feet, and he can put a move on you and leave you looking awful," Kelly said. "Sometimes he's unorthodox. You can't believe some of the things he does with those quick feet."
Macon also has versatility. He can catch and block.
"He made a really memorable block on Wilde Lake's Kyle Leibe, who is a big, tough kid," Kelly said. "He knocked him down on a power play."
Macon is only 5-foot-8, so when he blocks, he hits up under the shoulder pads on most bigger players. "I lifted Leibe up off the ground," said Macon, who bench presses 300 pounds.
Macon does a lot of blocking, because the Raiders employ several running backs in their option offense. Macon usually carries only 10 times a game. His highest number of carries is 17.
"I'd like to carry more often, but I understand that the coach wants to get some other players in there," Macon said.
Macon's favorite game this season was last week's 28-18 victory against Centennial. Macon carried 17 times for 138 yards, including two touchdown runs of 37 and 22 yards. He also made five tackles and had two assists. The victory lifted Atholton's record to the .500 mark for the first time this season, at 3-3.
Memorable past games include a four-touchdown effort his freshman year against Mount Hebron in a JV game.
"I think that's when the coaches first realized I could contribute," Macon said.
Another memorable game was last season when the team's best player, running back Ricky Trott, came up injured for the Homecoming game against Glenelg.
"The coaches told me I had to step it up, and I ran back the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown and had 100 yards rushing."
He has scored three career touchdowns on kickoff returns, including another one against Glenelg this season.
Last season, he rushed for 462 yards. He saw playing time only at varsity linebacker his sophomore season.
"His greatest asset is probably his competitiveness," Kelly said.
He may be competitive on the field, but Macon likes to joke around during practice.
"Cian Oatts and Will Moore are the funniest guys on the team," Macon said. "We try to make practice fun."
Macon is a fan of the television comedy "Saturday Night Live," he likes to ski, and his "pride and joy" is his light blue Baretta GT automobile.
He aspires to play junior college football at Montgomery-Rockville next season.
Pub Date: 10/17/96