Offense Player of the Year
Aaron Thompson, Mount St. Joseph, senior (6-1, 200): The transfer from Forest Park runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. With 314 carries, 2,325 yards and 37 touchdowns over 10 games (average of 31.4 carries, 233 yards, 3.7 touchdowns), he was tops among all area running backs. His single-season yardage has him third in the state all-time (behind McDonough's Sherron Gudger, 2,741, 1991, and Kent's Bruce Green, 2,388, presently), and his single-season touchdowns tie him for the area lead with Randallstown's Larry Washington (1990) -- two shy of the state record held by Cambridge's Skeeter Nichols (1979). Thompson's average yards per game (232.5) shattered the state record set last year by Mount St. Joseph graduate Archie Wannamaker (216.4 yards). Thompson's seven touchdowns in a 55-48 victory over Liberty tied a state single-game record. "When we ran the straight up [the middle] plays, we'd open the holes, and he'd just hit them so fast," said right guard Ben Dyer, whose team won its third straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown. "He's got the ability to shake-and-bake you, but he can also just drop the shoulder. He's the type of runner you just want to sit back and watch. Sometimes, you're like, 'How did he do that?'"
First team -- offense
Maurice Boykins, Atholton, senior, OL (6-6, 325): He's the biggest guy on this year's All-Metro team, and he's on it for the second straight season. Coach Steve Kelly said of Boykins, who was bigger and stronger this season, "We ran behind him a lot, as you would expect."
Lance Clelland, McDonogh, senior, OL (6-6, 270): Rated No. 15 nationally preseason by the National Recruiting Advisor, Clelland has orally committed to attend Northwestern, turning down several other colleges. With a 3.0 GPA and 1,140 SAT score, he also was being looked at by Boston College, Syracuse, Clemson, Tennessee and Virginia. He gave up no sacks all fall, and, defensively, had 80 tackles (45 solo), five sacks and caused three fumbles.
Ali Culpepper, Dunbar, senior, RB (5-11, 205): Culpepper, a returning All- Metro, has 4.3-second speed in the 40, can bench press 260 pounds five times, and has rushed for 1,262 yards and 15 touchdowns in 10 games. During his career, the four-year starter totalled 4,817 yards and 44 touchdowns. With Culpepper in its lineup, Dunbar was 42-7, with four state semifinal appearances and two state titles. His skills include an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and as a linebacker, he also had 12 sacks and six each in interceptions and fumble recoveries. A 3.0 GPA average and 940 SAT score have elicited full scholarship offers from Michigan State, Northwestern, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Duke.
Ben Dyer, Mount St. Joseph, senior, L (6-4, 275): Dyer, one of just two starters who returned to the Gaels' offense, was adept at pass protection, pulling, and just plain blowing the holes open. "On fourth-and-one, we went right up his [position]," said Thompson. Dyer, who had 69 knockdowns and didn't give up a sack all season, is considering Georgia, South Carolina, Syracuse and also, for wrestling, Lehigh.
Dain Lewis, Wilde Lake, senior, RB (6-0, 185): Chosen second-team All-Met ro last year for his 17 sacks as a linebacker, Lewis caused damage from the other side of the ball this season. His power, speed and ability to dish out punishment as a runner led to 1,571 yards and 27 touchdowns. The three-year starter, chosen Howard County's Offensive Player of the Year, also made 61 unassisted tackles and 53 assists, including 10 tackles for a loss. He had one interception and three fumble recoveries.
Erik Lipton, Arundel, senior, QB (6-4, 200): Lipton, second-team All-Met ro last year, has the dimensions that college recruiters want in a signal caller. He also has the numbers, holding all the major state public-school career records for passing: attempts (522), completions (312), percentage (.598), yards (4,769), touchdown passes (47) and fewest interceptions with 400 or more passes (17). This season, Lipton completed 146 of 248 passes (.589) for 2,056 yards, 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions. And he did it without benefit of a sizable offensive line. Lipton will visit Penn State, Pitt and Miami over the next few weeks.