Football

All - Carroll County

High Schools

December 09, 2003|By Rich Scherr

COACH OF THE YEAR

Gene Brown

South Carroll

In his 12th year at the helm, Gene Brown led the Cavaliers to their finest season in school history. They finished 11-2, captured Carroll County and Monocacy Valley Athletic League Piedmont Conference championships and advanced to the Class 2A state semifinals.

Making the feat all the more impressive is the fact that South Carroll hadn't made the state playoffs in 15 years and never had won a postseason game.

Brown, who was named the Baltimore Ravens High School Coach of the Year Sunday, and his staff found success by catering to the strength of the players. Possessing a wealth of talent in the passing game but not particularly deep in the backfield, the Cavaliers continually threw out of the shotgun. The results were overwhelmingly successful, with South Carroll scoring at least 48 points five times.

During one stretch, the Cavaliers won nine straight -- never by less than 19 points -- and were ranked as high as No. 4 by The Sun.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

T.J. Swanson

South Carroll

When it comes to generating offense, Swanson may be the best there ever has been in Carroll County. The senior shattered several county records by completing 150 of 283 passes for 2,451 yards and throwing for 28 touchdowns against just nine interceptions.

Despite his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, Swanson also showed his mobility and speed by rushing 134 times for 813 yards and 15 touchdowns. In his first full season at quarterback, after earning second-team All-Metro honors at safety a year ago, he directed an offense that scored at least 30 points 10 times and more than 40 on six different occasions.

After getting a taste of the quarterback position as a sophomore, Swanson showed vast improvement in just about every aspect of the game, making good decisions, reading coverages and consistently showing off one of the strongest throwing arms in the state.

On top of that, Swanson is an honors student being recruited by schools in the Ivy League and elsewhere.

FIRST TEAM

Jeff Baumiller

North Carroll

Baumiller may not be the county's fastest receiver, but his intense work ethic, textbook technique and soft hands set him apart from the crowd this season. Consistently finding soft spots in the defense, the 6-4 junior had 35 catches for 595 yards and three touchdowns.

Josh Berman

Westminster

Berman was a standout on Westminster's offensive line all season, even while injured. After starting the first eight games at center, the senior was forced to play guard for the final two weeks after breaking the ring finger on his right hand. Despite playing with a cast, he helped the Owls to wins over Liberty and North Carroll.

Danny Bridges

Francis Scott Key

Bridges was a dominating presence on the offensive line for the Eagles. At 6-4, 280 pounds, the junior often manhandled opposing linemen, helping to create huge holes for a running attack that piled up more than 2,300 yards. Most of the time, the team's backs ran to Bridges' side.

Brandon Costley

Westminster

The speedy senior running back was a workhorse for Westminster, carrying the ball 202 times for 1,146 yards and 15 touchdowns. In a 30-6 win over Liberty, he carried 42 times. A repeat first-team pick, Costley also played some wide receiver for the Owls and was a standout strong safety on defense.

Nate Eyler

Francis Scott Key

Only a sophomore, Eyler already is beginning to show his immense potential. Though just 190 pounds, he became a dominant force on both the offensive and defensive line. Using his quickness and strength, Eyler helped open holes for the county's best rushing attack.

Chris Luette

South Carroll

With exceptional speed and the ability to run precise routs, this senior was South Carroll's top deep threat, catching 47 passes for 757 yards (16.1 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. He excelled in the Cavaliers' playoff win against North Hagerstown, hauling in two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

Pat McCormick

Liberty

This standout lacrosse midfielder showed that he's just as talented on football field, establishing himself as a talented possession receiver with 40 catches for 427 yards.

Mike McDonald

South Carroll

This center was an important part of an offense in which 99 percent of the snaps came out of the shotgun. This 185-pound senior was accurate on snaps all season and showed himself to be a standout blocker, especially in pass protection, helping the Cavaliers to become an offensive force.

Nick McGinnis

Westminster

Though McGinnis didn't have a ton of kicking opportunities, he made the most of them, hitting two of three field-goal tries - with a long of 40 yards - and 13 extra points. The senior also used his strong leg to excel on kickoffs, collecting nine touchbacks.

Ryan Mullen

South Carroll

The 5-10, 180-pound senior wide receiver used the three-step slant to feast on defenders all season, collecting 41 catches for 632 yards (15.4 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. In a win over Walkersville, he had eight receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

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