N. County's `air' apparent

Football: Mike Pfisterer could set new school records tonight for passing yards and touchdowns in a career. State records seem within reach, too, for the junior, a starter since his freshman season.

October 15, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

In revolutionizing the offense in Anne Arundel County high school football during the 1990s with its run-and-shoot, North County, surprisingly enough, has had only one quarterback guide its attack for more than two seasons.

Current quarterback Mike Pfisterer is in his third season at the controls of the county's most exciting offense, and as he sets his sights on school, county and state records, he still has a year to go.

Pfisterer, who is 5 feet 10 and weighs 160 pounds, has thrown for 1,614 yards and 17 touchdowns in the Knights' 6-0 start, which brings his career totals to 3,539 yards with 34 touchdowns.

The junior, who has been starting since the last five games of his freshman year, needs just 71 yards and four TD passes to break the school career records of 3,610 yards and 37 touchdowns set by Eric Howard in the 1991-92 seasons.

Until Pfisterer, Howard was actually the only Knight to start two seasons. Mike Evans saw limited action his junior year in 1995 and started his final year.

Howard's records could fall in Ferndale tonight, when the unbeaten Knights play host to the 5-1 Severna Park Falcons in a crucial Class 4A East region game.

"Mike is a little bit different than the rest, and more mobile than most of them," said Knights coach Chuck Markiewicz. "He's also very strong after working out this summer. And for the first time, we have a quarterback coach in Dave Doy, who has really helped Mike. We're doing things offensively that people do on Sundays [in the NFL]."

The knowledge of Doy, who played at Howard High and then was a standout quarterback at Salisbury State University, has benefited Pfisterer, who is running a college and pro-like offense.

Calling plays at the line of scrimmage out of a no-huddle attack, Pfisterer has a near-perfect touch, having been intercepted just five times while igniting a basic, short-passing game designed to get long yardage.

Pfisterer completes nearly 62 percent of his passes to a fast, sure-handed corps of receivers -- Greg Scott, Nate Randall, Jimal Miller, Dave Bush, Dominic Ferragamp and Jarrod Ross.

Most of Pfisterer's pass completions are the result of his quick release and precision within 10 yards; from there, his receivers take over. The idea is to catch the short one and turn it into another 15 yards or more.

To succeed in such an offense, the quarterback needs to hit his receivers in stride, not make them come back for the ball. Every so often, when defenses relax, he can throw the bomb.

"Mike is very intelligent and reads defenses extremely well," said Markiewicz. "Dave [Doy] has broadened his vision and ability to read and react."

Pfisterer is well on his way to becoming the Knights' sixth quarterback to throw for 2,000 yards or more in a single season, easily a county record.

Starting with Johnny Ray in 1990, all five North County quarterbacks before Pfisterer have accomplished that feat, with Evans setting the school, county and state single season record of 2,996 yards in 1996.

At the rate he is going, by next season, Pfisterer should pass the county and state public school career records of 4,769 yards and 47 touchdowns Arundel's Erik Lipton set between 1994 and 1996.

Pfisterer also is likely to become the 12th member of the state's exclusive 4,000-yard club, which could happen this year.

The overall state records for career yards and touchdowns could be within his grasp next year.

Lucas Phillips, who played at Mount St. Joseph, holds the career passing yards record of 6,286 set in 1993-96, and John Carroll's Al Neville threw the most touchdowns (53) in 1967-69.

With Pfisterer at the controls, an experienced offensive line and fast, sure-handed pass catchers, the records will tumble.

But more importantly, the Knights are back, big-time, as a team.

"This is definitely one of the best offensive teams we have ever had at North County and, when it's all said and done, could be the best," said Markiewicz.

The veteran coach led the Knights to a Class 4A state title in 1994 and five playoff appearances in their first seven seasons before slipping to 3-7 the last two seasons.

Moving up

North County junior quarterback Mike Pfisterer is closing in on school and Anne Arundel County passing records. Where he stands:

North County career passing leaders

Yrs. Name Yds. TD

91-92 Eric Howard 3,610 37

97- Pfisterer 3,539 34

95-96 Mike Evans 3,097 32

94 Earl Sewell 2,237 18

93 Justin Rice 2,032 28

90 Johnny Ray 2,020 16

Anne Arundel career passing leaders

Yrs. Name, Yds. TD school

94-96 Erik Lipton, 4,769 47 Arundel

91-92 Eric Howard, 3,610 37 North County

97- Pfisterer, 3,539 34 North County

95-96 Mike Evans, 3,097 32 North County

96-98 J. Weatherbie, 2,522 23 Broadneck

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