High School Football Preview

September 05, 1997|By Mark Hoeflich

Harford County

Aberdeen Eagles

1996 record: 10-1

Coach: Kevin Reilly

Top player: Eugene Burston, OT-DT, Sr.; J.D. Dyson, RB-DB, Sr.; Henderson, RB-LB, Sr.; Matt Kunkel, LB, Jr.; Brian Sappington, TE-DE, Sr.; Jermaine Skinner, QB-DB, Sr.; Rob Whitley, LB, Sr.

Outlook: The Eagles, who move up to Class 3A, have a lot of the pieces necessary to win a third straight county title. Henderson and Dyson are a versatile backfield duo who combined to rush for over 1,200 yards a year ago. And Skinner, much improved after starting just two games a year ago, has the ability to both run and pass. The defense features 14 returners and a lot of speed, led by Henderson (60 solo tackles, 73 assists), and Whitley (29 solo, 33 assists) at linebacker.

Bel Air Bobcats

1996 record: 2-8

Coach: Bruce Riley

Top player: Justin Amrein, RB-LB, Jr.; Kyle George, RB-S, Jr.; Phil Hunter, RB-DB, Sr.; Adam Rafalski, QB, Jr.; Matt Tracey, OG-DE, Sr.; Mike Vesely, WR, Sr.; Steve Yuhas, OG-DT, Sr.

Outlook: The Bobcats do not have a standout on either side of the ball, but Riley has enough experience at the skilled positions to expect improvement. Riley will use a multi-set offense and more attacking defense. With increased depth, Bel Air shouldn't wear down late in games.

C. Milton Wright Mustangs

1996 record: 7-3

Coach: Steve Harwood

Top player: Ben Adams, TE-LB, Sr.; Scott Adams, TE-DE, Sr.; Joe Brown, OL, Jr.; John Cost, DT-OG, Jr.; Nick Jones, TE, Sr.; Dave May, RB-SS, Sr.; Brian Rodriquez, OT-DT, Sr.

Outlook: The Mustangs missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years last season, so there is a renewed focus this year. Just two starters return on offense, yet there is depth at running back and the usual size on both lines, particularly with Rodriquez 248) and Brown (6-3, 315). The defense has a noticeable increase in speed, especially at linebacker. An Oct. 23 matchup at Aberdeen likely will decide the county title.

Edgewood Rams

1996 record: 6-4

Coach: Fred Myers

Top player: Randy Buskin, RB, Jr.; Phil Early, TB-LB, Sr.; Jerome Easter, WR-S, Sr.; Mike Griffin, QB, Sr.; Alan Jordan, FB-LB, Sr.

Outlook: The Rams are especially quick, and Myers hopes that makes up for the lack of size on both lines. A swift offense begins with Griffin, whose agility creates problems for defenses. Early and Jordan are the primary figures on defense.

Fallston Cougars

1996 record: 5-5

Coach: Dave Cesky

Top player: Dan Bohley, OT-DT, Sr.; Jeremy Burns, OG-DE, Sr.; Jermaine Gilliam, WR-S, Sr.; Gene Liebel, RB-LB, Sr.; Gary Shaw, QB-S, Sr.; Lane Young, TE-DE, Sr.; Jeff Groszkowski, WR-S, Sr.

Outlook: Injuries could slow the Cougars, but they figure to be a threat once at full strength. Liebel, who rushed for 1,040 yards last season, is the focus of the offense, and the offensive line brings more experience. A quicker defense, particularly in the secondary, will get tested right away in the season opener against Poly.

Harford Tech Cobras

1996 record: 0-10

Coach: Tom Nelson

Top player: Namron Bibbins, DB, Jr.; Brian Brooks, OG-LB, Sr.; Jason Hughes, FB, Jr.; Paul Kuhn, QB, Sr.; Aaron Miles, DB, Jr.; Travis Payne, TE-LB, Sr.

Outlook: First-year coach Nelson will keep things simple as the ,, Cobras continue to promote the game. Bibbins is one bright spot; he intercepted seven passes last fall.

Havre de Grace Warriors

1996 record: 4-6

Coach: Tom Marron

Top player: Jason Bauer, OT-DT, Sr.; Robert Brodeur, C, Jr.; Mike Grimsley, QB, Sr.; Matt Grissom, TE, Sr.; Mike Meade, RB, Jr.; Sam Smith, FB, Sr.; Brad Spence, OG, Sr.; Justin Thomas, FB, Sr.

Outlook: Marron's hard-working group has a lot of balance but, with a thin bench, must avoid injuries. More size and experience on the offensive line means the Warriors will push the run, led by Meade (500 yards in 1996). Better strength on the defensive line should make the Warriors stronger against the run.

John Carroll Patriots

1996 record: 4-7

Coach: Bill Mackley

Top player: Scott Collins, K, Sr.; David Faby, OG-DT, Sr.; Mike Iacchi, DB-RB, Sr.; Mike McComas, OT-DT, Sr.; Scooter Monroe, RB, Jr.; Andy Quinn, SE-DB, Sr.; Brian Smith, OG-LB, Sr.

Outlook: The Patriots need everything they can get from their starters because there's little help beyond them. A healthy Monroe, who led the Patriots with 860 rushing yards a year ago, is essential to the offense. Sophomore quarterback Mike Leatherman needs time to develop.

Joppatowne Mariners

1996 record: 5-5

Coach: Greg Komondor

Top player: Frank Alderman, OG-DE, Sr.; Mark DeAlencar, OT-LB, Sr.; Chris Keels, FB-LB, Soph.; Kory Keels, QB-S, Sr.; Jason Roe, C-DT, Sr.

Outlook: With the loss of seven two-way starters, the Mariners do not have a real strength on either side of the ball. Kory Keels returns after running for over 1,000 yards and throwing for another 500 yards a year ago. The defense has seven starters who were used sparingly a year ago and will be hard pressed to match the unit that allowed only 15 points a game in 1996.

North Harford Hawks

1996 record: 1-9

Coach: Fred Foster

Top player: Bill Farrell, QB, Jr.; Sean Jackson, OG, Sr.; Andrew Rutherford, OT, Sr.; Ed Teague, RB-LB, Sr.

Outlook: First-year coach Foster hopes to bring some life back to the Hawks' program. A more up-tempo offense is expected to steadily improve around Farrell's passing skills, while a small and youthful defense will play more conservative.

Pub Date: 9/05/97

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