High School Football Preview

September 05, 1997|By Pat O'Malley

Team-by-team view

Annapolis Panthers

1996 record: 5-5

Coach: Roy Brown (career: 50-33)

Top players: Donnell Foote, Sr., RB-QB-DB; Joe Plattner, Sr., T-DT; Derek Johnson, Sr., G-DG; Mike Donlin, Sr., C; John Paul Williams, Sr., T-DT; Peter Ludlam, Sr., QB-S; Albert Creek, Sr., FB-LB; Cleveland Graves, Sr., LB; DeWayne Hunt, Jr., RB-LB; Henry Downs, Jr., G-LB.

Outlook: Falling off a ladder while painting his house this summer and breaking his pelvis, Brown felt an urgency to be on the field for the start of his ninth season. All-County DB Foote, along with 10 other returnees, dominated Brown's thoughts as he lay in bed during July. "I'm 100 percent now and excited about this season," said Brown, who has a right to be optimistic. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Foote, who covers the 40 in 4.5 seconds, is the man. Foote played QB, RB, WR, CB, DB (four interceptions) and kick returner for the Panthers last season, but Brown hopes to keep him at RB and in the secondary this year. That's if Ludlam (5-10, 170) can produce at QB. The Panthers are strong and seasoned in the trenches with the likes of second-team All-County linemen, Plattner (6-1, 230 pounds) and Johnson (5-10, 215) and the emergence of Downs (5-10, 215). Team speed and size are also pluses. Brown sees the first three games -- Largo and Paint Branch at home, and at Frederick -- as determining the kind of season the Panthers can have. Annapolis can go 8-2 or 9-1 and be a playoff team.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1996 record: 4-7

Coach: John Moscato (first season)

Top players: Ted Calabrese, Sr., QB-DB; Brian Smith, Sr., RB-CB; Alan Creveling, Sr., FB-LB; Sam Creveling, Jr., WB; Nate Kuh, Sr., WR; Mike D'Ambrosio, Sr., FB- LB; Tom O'Conner, Sr., T-LB; Joe O'Conner, So., OL-LB.

Outlook: A father-son coaching duo brings the Cavaliers their third head coach in three years. Moscato, whose dad John Sr., will be an assistant, is coaching his first high school team after running an adult team in Great Britain and youth teams in Middle River, Overlea and Catonsville. "I didn't expect to see as much talent as I've seen," said Moscato. "Our defense will be a strength, and we just might surprise some people in our conference." Reason for Moscato's optimism are returnees such last year's backup QB Calabrese (5-11, 175) and RBs Smith (5-10, 175) and Alan Creveling (6-1, 195). Alan Creveling will team with D'Ambrosio (5-8, 190), Tom O'Conner (6-3, 185) and sophomore David Tekippe (5-10, 210) to give the Cavs a solid group of LBs. Another sophomore in Joe O'Conner (6-4, 285), who Moscato says is "extremely mobile," and Alan Creveling's brother, Sam (5-9, 170) are expected to anchor the defensive line. A .500 season is a possibility.

Arundel Wildcats

1996 record: 7-3

Coach: Bill Zucco (career: 34-18).

Top players: Rob Connolly, Sr., FB-LB; Trevor Baumgartner, Sr., C-DG; Rodney Farmer, Sr., SE-punt ret.; Graham Harris, Sr., G-LB; Dennis Gills, Sr., RB-DB; Anthont Dennis, Sr., DT-FB; Domenic Greco, Jr., RB-DB; Jason Carter, Jr., QB; Jeff Blachley, Jr., DL.

Outlook: After showcasing prolific passer Erik Lipton (Maryland) the past three years, the Wildcats' offense has been grounded, literally. Zucco is wisely adjusting to his personnel and is excited about Connolly (5-9, 175). "Rob will be one of the better fullbacks in the county," said the sixth-year head coach. "He's a punishing runner who can carry people with him." Connolly, Greco (5-11, 175), a second-team All-County DB as a sophomore and Everett (6-0, 190) up from JV will run behind three-year varsity linemen, Baumgartner (6-0, 200) and Harris (5-10, 185). Carter (6-0, 170) has no pressure to be another Lipton and will look deep for the speedy Farmer (6-1, 170). "Defense is still our calling card," said Zucco. "We're not very big, but we won't be pushed around because a lot of guys are also on the wrestling team and are very strong." Zucco sees his team as a sleeper with a 6-4, 7-3 season likely -- and an outside shot at playoffs.

Broadneck Bruins

1996 record: 7-3

Coach: Jeff Herrick (career: 37-42).

Top players: Brooks Barnard, Sr., PK-PT-WR; Jonas Weatherbie, Sr., QB; Earl Downs, Sr., WR-S; Martel Threadgill, Jr., RB; Lehrman Dotson, Jr., WR; Fred Davis, Jr., slot; LaRon Colbert, So., slot; Dorian Watkins, Jr., DB; Dustin Hall, Sr., LB; Jeff Logan, Jr., LB; John Cifolilli, Jr., DL; Walt Wagner, Sr., T -DE.

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