1996 All-Anne Arundel County football teams

November 22, 1996|By Pat O'Malley

Coach of the Year

Brad Best, St. Mary's: The Saints have come a long way in eight years under under Best, and this was the crowning season. St. Mary's (with 220 boys in an enrollment of 550) is No. 1 in The Baltimore Sun poll for football for the first time after going 8-2 and winning a share of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title (3-1 league) for the second straight season. Six of their 10 games were against ranked teams. "I have to admit, I never expected us to move up to the A Conference when I first started, let alone win the league," said the 38-year-old Best (53-27, .662), the first from St. Mary's to be named football Coach of the Year. "And if anyone said a few years ago that we would be the No.1-ranked team in the metro area, I would have laughed." Not so long ago, the Saints were struggling in the old Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference and defunct Tri-County League, going 3-7 in Best's inaugural season. A former college assistant at New Mexico State and Shippensburg (Pa.) State, Best inherited a team that had gone 1-8 in 1988 under ex-Washington Redskin Dave Crossan, but has not had a losing season since his first. Jumping from the C to the A Conference (then MSA) in '93, people did laugh, and St. Mary's was 2-3 in league play -- but 7-3 overall. In the first year (1994) of the MIAA A, that record slipped to 1-4, 5-5 before last year's tri-championship club, which was 4-1, 7-3. Depending on what happens in Thanksgiving's Loyola/Calvert Hall game, the Saints will again be tri-champs or co-champs. Knowledge of the game, coupled with an exceptional ability to communicate with young players, and a blue-ribbon weight program has enabled Best and his veteran staff to build a quality program.

Team selection

The Baltimore Sun 1996 All-Anne Arundel County football team was selected by staff writer Pat O'Malley after consulting with The Sun staff and area coaches.

Pub Date: 11/22/96

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