Teams at a glance

September 02, 1999|By Pat O'Malley

Annapolis Fighting Panthers

1998 record: 8-3

Coach: Roy Brown (career, 67-38)

Top players: Rayvon Johnson, Sr., RB; Marvin Charles, Sr., TE-S; Aaron Copeland, Sr., RB-LB; Aaron Fenwick, Sr., FB-LB; Mike Phaneuf, Sr., QB; Travon Williams, Sr., G-DE; Kyle Acker, Sr., TE-DL; Brandon Gulley, Jr., G; Nick Good-Malloy, Jr., T; Mike Melton, Jr., RB; James Forrester, Jr., DL.

Outlook: "We have a good group of returning seniors, but most of them will be starting for the first time," said coach Brown. "It's a matter how fast they adjust." Sure-handed TE Charles (14 catches, seven TDs) and Johnson were two of three juniors named first-team All-County last season. Second-team All-County DB Copeland anchors a defensive secondary with Johnson and Charles. Phaneuf "has the skills to run the wing-T," the coach said. Speed, quickness, hitting, and in Johnson, maybe the metro's best RB, make Annapolis a Class 3A state-title contender.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1998 record: 5-5

Coach: Mike Whittles (first season)

Top players: Darren Johnson, Sr., RB-LB; Joe O'Conner, Sr., T-DE; Sean Emmerich, Sr., QB; Greg Pierce, Sr., T-DL; David Pekitte, OL-DL; Bill Harris, Sr., DB; Zach Hardy, Sr., OL-LB; Frank Bugg, Sr., OL-DL; Isaac Brooks, Sr., RB-DB.

Outlook: A successful youth-football coach, Whittles, 45, gets his first shot as a high school coach. The Cavaliers ran out of equipment with a record turnout and have about 35 varsity players (22 last fall). Whittles has installed the ancient single-wing offense for his Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference campaign, explaining: "We want to take advantage of our size and quickness off the ball from tackle to tackle." Huge tackles O'Conner (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) and Pierce (6-1, 250) lead a veteran interior line expected to open the gate for speedy, punishing RB Johnson. "Batman" Johnson (6-3, 185 with 4.6 speed) ran for 1,178 yards and 13 TDs last year and is also a defensive standout. An All-County LB as a junior, Johnson led the Cavs in tackles (42) and had two interceptions.

Arundel Wildcats

1998 record: 5-5

Coach: Bill Zucco (career, 44-28)

Top players: Tom Dorsey, Sr., G-DE; Danny Nucci, Sr., RB-CB; Jon Tippett, Sr., G-DG; John Udewald, Sr. T; Paul D'Imperio, Jr., QB; Andy Mylnarski, Sr., G-DT; Tyrone Stewart, Sr., WR-DB; Matt Jones, Sr., LB; Andy Price, Sr., T.

Outlook: Zucco pondered retiring but is back for his eighth season as Wildcats' coach and 31st year at the school. Dorsey (6-1, 205), a second-team All-County tackle, was solid on both sides of the ball for last fall's injury-hampered team. "Our entire offensive line, which has good size, returns, along with our quarterback," said Zucco. LB Jones (5-11, 185) is that defender. D'Imperio (6-0, 170), injured much of last season, has come back strong. Big players include tackles Uytlewaal (6-0, 260), Price (6-0, 350) and junior James Matthews (6-1, 315). Arundel could win six or seven games.

Broadneck Bruins

1998 record: 11-1

Coach: Jeff Herrick (career, 57-45)

Top players: Stephan Sharps, Jr., DL; Blaine Fairbanks, Jr., G; Ryan Eslin, Sr., QB; Tony Klapaska, Sr., DT; Nick Klapaska, Jr., DL; Brian Williams, Sr., WR-S; Jeff Britton, Sr., T; Brysean Williams, Jr., LB.

Outlook: The Bruins are coming off the greatest season in school history, their only loss by 49-13 at eventual state champion Friendly in the Class 3A state semis. But an encore is unlikely in the step up to Class 4A, because graduation took a heavy toll. But Herrick began his 11th season in Cape St. Claire with a huge turnout. The Klapaska brothers, Tony (6-3, 270) and Nick (5- 10, 240), LB Williams (5-9, 215) and second-team All-County DL Sharps (6-3, 195) beef up the defensive unit. Herrick, last season's county Coach of the Year, plans two-platoon football again. Britton (6-4, 220) at T and Fairbanks (5-10, 190) at G will push the offense. A 6-4 or 7-3 season seems likely.

Chesapeake Cougars

1998 record: 2-8

Coach: Tom Kraning (career, 35-75)

Top players: Kraig "Bo" Danton, Sr., QB; Mel Guthrie, Sr., LB; Justin McCarthy, Sr., LB; Rob Norris, Sr., DE; Justin Reed, Sr. G; Mike Henson, Sr., DT: Tim Reed, Sr., DT.

Outlook: To take advantage of team strengths, Kraning has gone to the single-wing offense at the urging of JV coach Jim Simms, who has been successful with the shotgun-type snap to the spin-back (QB). Kraning is banking on Danton (6-1, 165), the only junior on the 17th Sun All-County Academic-Athletic team with his 4.12 GPA, to propel the new offense. Junior Adam Hartlove (5-8, 165) will start things at C with two more 11th-graders, RBs John Hackman (5-8, 160) and Keith Ford (5-7, 150), getting the call frequently. G Justin Reed (6-2, 225) will be a key blocker. Defensively, the Cougars are big up front with Tim Reed (6-5, 330) and Henson (6-2, 240). Meade, Annapolis and Broadneck make for a rough start for, likely, another losing season.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1998 record: 0-10

Coach: Brad Wilson

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