1998 Howard County football previews

September 04, 1998|By Rick Belz

Atholton Raiders

1997 record: 4-6 overall, 3-6 league

Coach: Kevin Kelly (career, 18-12)

Classification: 2A

Top players: Sean Aaron, Sr., RB/LB; Mike Souder, Sr., C; Matt Adams, Sr., G; Mike Berman, Sr., T; Matt Pearce, Sr., T; Derek Pace, Sr., WR.; Neal Halloran, Jr., QB; Alex Carey, Sr., WR; Craig Smith, Jr., TE/DL

Outlook: Atholton lost five of its last six games a year ago and suffered heavy losses to graduation. With just 17 players in uniform, the Raiders are struggling to field a team. "I have concerns about finishing the season," Kelly said. "It looks like a tough year. We're limited. It's the fewest players I ever remember." Kelly blames this year's participation glitch, in which he has only five juniors, on redistricting that occurred when River Hill opened two years ago and athletes were siphoned off. "We lost a lot of our athletes then." Aaron, an All-County LB and RB, is a bright note for the Raiders.

Centennial Eagles

1997 record: 6-4 overall, 5-4 league

Coach: Ed Holshue (career, 86-90)

Classification: 2A

Top players: Tom Fisher, Sr., OT/DE; Eric Holzman, Sr., C; Mike ** Von Paris, Sr., G/DT; Jeff Plank, Sr., TE/LB; Matt Deuchler, Sr., RB/LB; Don Swann, Sr., QB; Josh Wallace, Sr., FB/S; Chris Tiedemann, Sr., WR/LB; Ryan McCrone, Sr., FB/ LB; Jared Hess, Sr., DE; Drew Maurer, Sr., DB; Adam Hall, Sr., NG; Craig Brunstetter, Sr., OT/DT; Brian O'Connor, Soph., E/CB

Outlook: Centennial hopes the momentum of winning four of its last five games last fall carries over. But with just six returning starters, that will be difficult. Holshue is comfortable with the skill positions, especially Deuchler at TB, Swann at QB and Tiedemann at WR. "We'll be able to throw and catch this year, and Deuchler is agile. We scrimmaged Aberdeen well and are quicker than I thought. Defensively, we'll be respectable," Holshue said. "But we have little depth on the line." Holshue was lucky to pick up Brunstetter, a 6-2, 230-pound transfer from Rockville. The Eagles are hoping to match last season.

Glenelg Gladiators

1997 record: 4-6 overall, 4-5 league

Coach: John Davis (career, 6-14)

Classification: 1A

Top players: Zach McQuigg, Jr., QB/S; Mike Rice, Sr., TE/DE; John Clark, Sr., HB/NG; Maurice Mohammed, Sr., HB/DE; Clint Furr, Jr., FB/LB; Joe Caruso, Sr., C/DE; Jason Johnson, Sr., OT/DE; Spence Baxter, Sr., OL/DL; Matt Thrasher, Sr., FB/LB; Shawn Matthews, Sr., RB/DB; Chris Hertel, Sr., OL/DL; Casey Matthews, Sr., OG/LB; Alex Lendrim, Sr., OL/DL; J. T. Smart, Soph., WR

Outlook: Glenelg returns five offensive starters and five defensive starters from a team that lost its last three games. The Gladiators expect to be tougher and stronger but smaller. Their weakness will be defense -- as it was last season. McQuigg passed for 1,200 yards a year ago. "We should finish in the middle of the pack," Davis said.

Hammond Golden Bears

1997 record: 5-5 overall, 5-4 league

Coach: Joe Russo (career, 117-84)

Classification: 1A

Top players: Matt Nelson, Sr., C/DT; Calvin Wilmer, Sr., RB/DB; Jeff Carlin, Sr., QB; Charles Spinks, Jr., DL; Mark Lazarofsky, Sr., WR; Jared Zillmer, Sr., CB; Scot Holmes, Sr., OT/DT; Jason Maxey, Soph., QB/LB; Kevin Schwartz, Soph., FB/LB; Jamal Stewart, Soph., RB/LB; Jeff Frye, Soph., DB; Brian Brewer, Soph., OG

Outlook: The Bears are young. Russo plans to start five sophomores -- four on defense. "They're my super-sophs and are as good as any around," Russo said. Offensively, he'll operate with a slot-I formation and double tight end. "We'll be stronger offensively. Running back will be our strength. Calvin [Wilmer] is one of the top four backs in the county." Wilmer also is a good punter and kick returner. Nelson (6-3, 260-pounds) was All-County.

Howard Lions

1997 record: 5-5 overall, 4-5 league

Coach: Vince Parnell (career, 23-37)

Classification: 2A

Top players: Gerald Smith, Jr., RB; Jon LaRoche, Sr., QB; Garret Staples, Sr., C; Joey Tortella, Jr., G; Nick Hughes, Sr., G; Anthony Aceves, Sr., TE; Matt Shourds, Sr., RB; Patrick Carroll, Sr., SE; Jose Monzon, Jr., RB; Brian Carey, Jr., OT/DT

Outlook: The Lions return 15 players who saw a lot of action. The team's strength will again be offense, where RB Gerald Smith carried 137 times for 1,169 yards and 14 TDs. He also caught six passes for 112 yards and two TDs and returned 15 kickoffs for 619 yards and one TD. Smith returned punts for 400 yards and three TDs and scored 124 points. QB Jon LaRoche is also a big reason for Howard's success offensively, because he threw 14 TD passes. The Lions return their offensive line intact, except for one player. Howard hopes to control the ball more this season instead of depending on big plays. To improve, however, the Lions must bolster their defense. They scored 269 points but gave up 271 points. "We have high expectations that we can compete with everyone in the league," Parnell said. "We have a good group of seniors and were competitive with everyone but Wilde Lake last season." The Lions are hoping to challenge for a county title this season.

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