1998 Carroll County football previews

September 04, 1998|By John W. Stewart

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1997 record: 3-7

Coach: Mike Coons

Top players: Jeff Eyler, Sr., RB/LB; Andy Jenkins, Sr., QB; Charles Linthicum, Sr., OL; Paul Mullins, Sr., OL/LB; Clint Parrish, Sr., SE/DB; Jason Richardson, Sr., RB/DB.

Outlook: For the first time in at least five years, the team will not have a go-to running back -- one good for 20-25 carries a game. That position could be operated by committee, however, with a number of candidates behind the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Jenkins. Linthicum (6-0, 240) anchors the offensive line, and the defensive line will be new. Mullins, an All-County and All-Monocacy Valley linebacker selection as a junior, will be flanked by Brandon Schaffer and Eyler, with Jenkins, Parrish and Chris Lagunas in the secondary. Physically, this is as talented a team as the school has had in recent years, and, as elsewhere, strength and conditioning will be key factors. Last fall, the Eagles were ahead of North Carroll and Brunswick late and lost both times, the county game in overtime. "Physically, we are as talented as we have been in recent years, but the question will be one of mental and spiritual toughness," says Coons. "I don't know how they'll react when they are behind."

Liberty Lions

1997 record: 2-8

Coach: Ken Johnson

Top players: Justin Felmey, Sr., OL/DL; Aaron Hutsell, Sr., QB/DB; Dave Morgan, Sr., E; Chris Peters, Sr., RB/LB; Calvin Stacey, Sr., RB/DB; Drew D'Anthony, OL/DL.

Outlook: The best thing about Hutsell as the returning starting quarterback is the year of learning he had last season. "We're looking for him to bring leadership and stability," says Johnson, pointing out there's no other way to get game experience than actually being there. "Now, nothing he sees will surprise him." The Lions will stick with their basic run-oriented offense, with the pass coming off play action. Improved execution will be the key for a team that last year scored two touchdowns in six games and three in the other four. JV players expected to help right away are running backs Mike Campbell and Ryan Sargent, who will join holdover Stacey. D'Anthony (61, 260) and Felmey (6-3, 240) should give solid two-way line play, and will team with holdovers Jeremy Ruele and Mike Passarello on defense; Peters' strength is as a linebacker, while the secondary should be dramatically improved with the arrival of juniors Sargent, Greg Garey, and Tom Warner. "I feel good about our pre-season, especially the attitude, because this group came in ready to work and is bigger and stronger," Johnson said. His problem is the difficulty in evaluating his squad in how it compares to the opponents. At least he knows his side will be improved.

North Carroll Panthers

1997 record: 2-8

Coach: Bill Rumbaugh

Top players: Jeff Graham, Sr., SE/DB; Jason Howdyshell, Sr., TE/DE; Justin Raynor, Sr., QB; Eric Wilhelm, Sr., OL/DE; Steve Suter, Jr., RB/DB.

Outlook: Both offensive and defensive lines are strengths, because both have some experience and more size than usual. Wilhelm (5-10, 210), All-County and All-Central Maryland Conference last season, excelled both ways. Suter (738 yards, five touchdowns), also All-County, is expected to be the top RB, and Raynor moves up after playing a reserve role as a junior. A solid defensive line and a strong secondary will have to help bring along inexperienced linebackers. Joining Suter, considered the team's best tackler a year ago, and Graham are several backs with some experience, including senior Regis D'Angelo. "The players have worked extremely hard and have the talent to do anything they want," says Rumbaugh. "Now, they have to go on the field and prove it.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1997 record: 4-6

Coach: Gene Brown

Top players: Leroy Eyler, Sr., OL/DL; Mike Jenkins, Sr., OL/DL; David Keefer, Sr., TE/DE; John Luster, Sr., QB; Wayne Matlock, OL/DL; Mike Muller, Sr., RB/DB; Jason Tourangeau, Sr., RB/DB; Scott Warner, Sr., RB/DE.

Outlook: All-County picks Muller and Tourangeau are among 27 seniors on a 44-player squad. Muller, seldom used in the first half of the season, came on strongly to rush for 592 yards and five touchdowns and capped a defensive season with two interceptions in a season-ending win against Westminster. Tourangeau returns as the leading county punter (38.1-yard average). As a back, he had 550 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards, eight touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Luster was the county passing leader a year ago (74-for-169 for 952 yards, with six touchdowns, nine interceptions. On offense, the three -- will work behind an offensive line that is bigger and stronger, topped by Jenkins (6-5, 330). Keefer had the second-best

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