1997 All-Howard County football team

November 21, 1997|By RICK BELZ

Co-coach of the Year

Doug DuVall, Wilde Lake: Heading into tonight's state semifinal against Friendly, the Wildecats have won 24 of their last 25 games. DuVall, whose coaching specialty is the offensive line, is jovial off the field but intense during games. He delegates a lot of responsibility to his assistant coaches and instills a family atmosphere among his staff and players. He picked up his 200th career win this season, and has a career record of 208 wins and 56 losses in 25 years -- all of them at Wilde Lake. The Wildecats have scored 394 points, given up 48 and have six shutouts. This year's team required a lot of rebuilding. The Wildecats made 22 turnovers this season to 46 for the opposition, a trait of DuVall-coached teams.

Co-coach of the Year

Pete Hughes, Long Reach: No team has ever won a regional championship faster than Long Reach. And the Lightning did it despite moving from Class 1A to Class 2A this season. Hughes has brought the second-year program to unprecedented heights with an 8-3 record by emphasizing defense, his specialty, and installing a family atmosphere. Kids want to play for him. Mild-mannered off-field, on game days he is an intense perfectionist. The Lightning allowed more than one touchdown only three times, and its points-allowed average for 11 games was 10.5. Hughes was a successful coach in North Dakota for several years before returning to his native state and was a longtime assistant coach at Hammond before taking the Long Reach job.

Offense

Player of the Year

Vinnie Rubbo, Oakland Mills, RB, junior: He rushed for a school-record 1,873 yards on 243 carries and scored 21 TDs. His best game was a county-record 354 yards on 47 carries against Howard. Rubbo ran for at least 200 yards in eight of 10 games while leading Oakland Mills to a 7-3 season. He scored five touchdowns against Atholton. "We've never been so one-dimensional," Scorpions coach Ken Hovet said. "Other teams can focus on him and he still gets yardage." The 6-foot, 185-pounder was extremely durable, and he also punted, returned punts and was his team's second-leading tackler from a linebacker slot with 48 solos and 77 assists.

The first team

Jared Albert, Atholton, TE, senior: He caught 12 passes for 250 yards and had a 60-yard touchdown reception against Howard.

Derek Bell, Wilde Lake, QB, senior: He completed 27 of 49 passes for 775 yards and 11 touchdowns in leading the Wildecats to a second straight unbeaten regular season. In 11 games the Wildecats have scored 394 points. He threw a 78-yard TD pass against Milford Mill in a 9-6 state quarterfinal victory and threw for two TDs against Hammond.

Drew Cothran, Centennial, TE, senior: He caught 14 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns. His longest catch was 61 yards for a touchdown against Mount Hebron.

Randy Curtin, Hammond, RB, senior: He rushed for 940 yards and scored six TDs on 167 carries, and caught 12 passes for 121 yards and one TD. His best game was a 130-yard effort in an upset of Long Reach in which he also scored a touchdown and had an interception.

Paul Duffy, Oakland Mills, OL, senior: A captain and a three-year starter, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder helped Oakland Mills to a team total of 2,700 yards rushing.

Benny Franks, Long Reach, OL, senior: This 5-foot-10, 210-pound never-say-quit lineman bench presses 360 pounds and was the Lightning's strongest lineman as he helped lead his second-year team to a regional championship.

Jay Frizzelle, Oakland Mills, OL, junior: The 5-foot-11, 220-pound two-year starter was the Scorpions' best blocker. He pulled on nearly every play and was a team captain.

Garth Herdrich, Wilde Lake, OL, senior: The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder played a critical role on a line regarded as the county's best. He led his team with four fumble recoveries, one for a TD. He could pull, trap or pass block, was a team captain and played despite injuries.

Matt Nelson, Hammond, OL, junior: A 6-foot-3, 260-pound center, Nelson was strong and quick off the ball and a potential Division I recruit.

Jabraille Jackson, Howard, E, senior: His height, 6-foot-4, made the 191-pounder tough to defend against. He caught 20 passes for 192 yards and nine touchdowns. He caught three TD passes and made 17 tackles against River Hill and had a 75-yard interception return for a TD against Mount Hebron.

Gregg Kellett, Oakland Mills, LB, senior: This awesome 6-foot-4, 220-pound two-way player who led his team in tackles with 61 solos and 48 assists. He had three interceptions. He was also one of the best blocking fullbacks the Scorpions have ever had. "He didn't just block you, he pancaked you," said Scorpions coach Ken Hovet. Kellett also rushed 70 times for 641 yards and 13 TDs.

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