1997 All-Anne Arundel County football teams

November 21, 1997|By PAT O'MALLEY

Coach of the year

Roy Brown, Annapolis: For the third time in his nine-year head coaching career, Brown has been named The Sun's County Coach of the Year. Brown (59-35, .628) led the Panthers to county and Class 4A region titles in his rookie season, 1989, again in 1992 and this season, taking Coach of the Year each time. Annapolis just missed becoming the 11th county team since 1960 to go undefeated in regular season when Severna Park upset the Panthers, 21-14, in the final game. The Panthers also lost, 33-14 to High Point, in the Class 4A state playoffs, ending with a 9-2 record. The success came on the heels of Brown, who has maintained the 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame he had as tight end at Arundel High and Western Maryland back in the 1960s, breaking his pelvis in a fall off a ladder while painting his house this summer. Brown was bed-ridden in July but bounced back to lead a special team. The Panthers were a fulfillment of hard work with eight three-year starters. Brown's decision (upon assistant coach Larry Brogden's recommendation) to move Peter Ludlam from runner to quarterback better to use the skills of Donnell Foote was huge. Ludlam passed for a school-record 17 touchdowns. This wasn't Brown's most talented team, but he said: "As far as playing together, this team was the best. They liked each other and were very coachable. It was satisfying to see them reach their potential and erase a few bad memories." Teams that had beaten them in previous years went down, and a win over much-improved Chesapeake proved to be a special victory. Many of the Cougars seniors played JV their freshman year and humbled Annapolis, 52-0. Annapolis blanked the Cougars, 24-0, in a hard-hitting battle, holding the hosts to 30 yards in the second half.

Offense

Player of the year

Tanardo Sharps, Meade, senior, running back: No one has run for more yards in a season and career in Anne Arundel County history than Sharps. He was All-County and All-Metro as a junior and is quite likely the best RB to ever play in the county. The 5-11, 180-pound speed demon (4.4 in 40) broke the county's 33-year old single-season rushing record (1,835 by Gary Thall, Severna Park) with 1,862 yards on 216 carries (8.6 per) scoring 22 touchdowns and 134 points (both school records) this fall to finish with the county career record of 3,627 yards rushing in just two seasons. His 1,765 yards last year gives him the first and third highest season totals in county history. "When you have a back like Tanardo, you give him the ball as many times as you can," said Meade coach Mark Frye. "Tanardo is special with his speed and surprising power." Sharps, who has drawn serious interest from Penn State and Syracuse and is waiting on his SAT score, ranks high in all the county's major rushing categories: season and career rushing (first); 41 career touchdowns (fifth), 22 touchdowns in a season (seventh), 258 career points (fifth); 134 season points (ninth), 290 yards in one game (fifth), and he's also eighth (254), ninth (243), and 10th (238). He owns the county career record for 200-yard rushing games with nine, and the county record for most consecutive 200-yard-plus games, with six this fall. Is there any doubt?

The first team

Brooks Barnard, Broadneck, senior, place-kicker: Barnard set county records for career field goals (17, third highest in state history) and season extra points (44). Automatic on extra points, Barnard kicked a county career record 93 PATs -- second in state history. The slender 6-foot-3, 170-pounder, also set a school record for field goals in a season (five). Barnard, who was a first-team punter last season averaging 35.7 yards per kick, punted for an average of 42.4 yards (public school best) this season. Barnard also had a penchant for booming the ball into the end zone on kickoffs to prevent runbacks.

William Biggs, Meade, senior, guard: Biggs started the season without a set position until coach Mark Frye made him the point guard on counter plays on which Tanardo Sharps got many of his county record 1,862 yards. "William was our strongest player," said Frye. Biggs (6-0, 225) bench-presses 385 pounds and had seven knockdown blocks. His blocking technique earned him a grade of 82 percent efficiency under Meade standards.

Josh Cornett, Severna Park, senior, all-purpose: The versatile Cornett (5-11, 160) made sure the Falcons' first losing season since 1985 ended on a positive note by leading a stunning, 21-14 upset of previously unbeaten Annapolis in the final game. Cornett ran for 132 yards and a TD, had a fumble recovery and interception, as the Falcons finished 4-6. He scored eight touchdowns playing RB (80-for-430 yards,three touchdowns), wide receiver (25 receptions for 447 yards, three touchdowns) and returning kicks (two for touchdowns). Cornett, who was also among team leaders in tackles with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries at his DB position, also averaged 32.7 yards a punt on 30 attempts.

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