1996 All-Carroll County football teams

November 22, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham

Player of the Year

Dante Partlow, Westminster: The Owls' senior running back was a threat to go the distance every time he touched the ball this season. Partlow's good vision got it started, his ability to cut against the grain followed, and then came the quick acceleration that often found him past an opponent's secondary before they knew it. He finished the season with 1,263 yards on 147 carries and 12 touchdowns. His 96-yard touchdown run against Frederick was the county's longest, and he had five others of more than 40 yards. "He's had a lot of long ones," said Westminster first-year coach Frank Mantinaos earlier in the season. "He does have the excellent speed, but also has pretty good size, as well. Just as important, he has a great awareness of where to make his cuts." Partlow was at his best in the second half against North Carroll, bringing the Owls back from a 28-0 halftime deficit with touchdown runs of 80, 79 and 49 yards. He added another touchdown in overtime and finished the night with 259 yards -- but the Panthers still won, 35-34.

First team -- offense

Ryan Pagels, Liberty, senior, QB: A leader on the field and in practice, Pagels was instrumental in turning the Lions' program around the past couple of seasons. The three-year starter completed 28 of 55 passes for 397 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 56 times for 236 yards and five more scores. He brought all the intangibles -- working hard in practice, being vocal and keeping the offense focused -- a coach looks for in a quarterback.

Adam Crowl, North Carroll, junior, RB: Exploded onto the varsity this season, finishing with 1,016 yards on 176 carries and 10 touchdowns. Panthers coach Bill Rumbaugh said what separates Crowl from a lot of other good running backs is his acceleration. "He was at full speed in about two steps," Rumbaugh said. He scored a 34-yard touchdown on the last play of the season against Liberty to reach the 1,000-yard rushing plateau.

Josh Denning, Liberty, senior, RB: The Lions fullback was quick to find the holes, and his low-to-the-ground running style made bringing him down difficult. His second efforts often provided plenty of extra yards for the Lions. He finished with 946 yards on 132 carries and 15 touchdowns. Denning had three catches for 30 yards.

Brian Tozer, Westminster, senior, RB: Every successful halfback needs a big fullback in front to lead the way. Enter Tozer. In his first football season, Tozer was a physical presence as a blocker and also had his share of success running the football, finishing with 545 yards on 91 carries for the Owls -- including 100-yard efforts against Woodlawn and Linganore.

Shaun O'Neill, South Carroll, senior, WR: One big play after another came from O'Neill, whose speed and size made life difficult for opposing cornerbacks. The 6-foot-2 O'Neill caught 36 passes for 602 yards and seven touchdowns, adjusting to the ball well, often jumping over defenders to make a grab. He also completed two passes for 141 yards and a score on an end-reverse play the Cavaliers had success with.

Kevin DeCarlo, Francis Scott Key, junior, TE: When senior standout Bobby Bollinger went down with an injury in the season's first game, Key coach Mike Coons went to DeCarlo to fill the void at tight end. The 6-4, 215-pounder responded with 26 catches for 316 yards and four scores to earn first-team All-Monocacy Valley Athletic League honors. DeCarlo caught a pass in every game for the Eagles this season and was also a fine blocker.

Luke Vriezen, Liberty, senior, TE: The Lions' leading receiver with 14 catches for 241 yards, Vriezen also was a key to the Lions' running game with his good blocking ability. Sweeps always went to his side, and he was good at sealing off would-be tacklers to help send the Liberty runners around the corner. Vriezen, who caught two touchdown passes, brought a lot of intensity.

Chris Duvall, South Carroll, senior, OG: "Quick, strong, tough," is how South Carroll coach Gene Brown described his lead blocker. "We ran behind him on our traps, put in a lot of isolation situations, and he pulled on our sweeps," said Brown. "He was a workhorse for us." Duvall also had a solid year on the defensive line for the Cavaliers, and was on the field for every offensive and defensive snap this season.

Tim Hackler, North Carroll, senior, OG: A backup quarterback last year, Hackler told coach Bill Rumbaugh at the beginning of rTC the season he just wanted to play somewhere on offense this season. He learned left guard quickly and thrived. Hackler continually provided the big blocks in the Panthers' inside trap play and sweep, turning into a fine technique blocker.

Bill Marriott, Liberty, senior, OG: After playing left tackle as a junior, the 6-2, 200-pound Marriott added size and speed to make a smooth transition to the important left guard position in coach Ken Johnson's wing-T offense. Marriott supplied the key block to open holes for Liberty's running game.

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