The Defense

Football/defense

High School Sports

December 15, 2003

Melvin Alaeze

Randallstown

A 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end who is one of the area's hardest hitters, Alaeze made 14 sacks and 50 tackles. The junior had two sacks in a 14-7 win over Hereford, whom the Class 3A state semifinalist Rams held to 24 rushing yards in ending a 26-game winning streak and a run of 49 consecutive Baltimore County wins. Alaeze recorded five sacks in the Rams' 18-15 victory over Bel Air in the Class 3A North region title game.

Kevin Barnes

Old Mill

Barnes, an instinctive and aggressive defensive back who was one of Anne Arundel County's best, helped lead the Patriots to their fifth straight Class 4A playoff berth. Though opposing quarterbacks often avoided throwing to his side of the field, Barnes, a 6-2, 170-pound senior, still managed to make plays, using his speed and quickness to intercept three passes, break up six more and make 61 tackles. Barnes, who is headed to Maryland, tested well in offseason combines, clearing more than 30 inches on his vertical leap and running a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash.

Kyle Bloomfield

Broadneck

Bloomfield led the state runner-up Bruins and Anne Arundel County with eight interceptions while anchoring one of the top defenses in the area. The 6-0, 170-pound senior returned two of his interceptions for touchdowns. An excellent cover defender, Bloomfield usually drew the opponent's top receiver, and used his speed and smarts to rise to the challenge. As good as he was as a sure tackler in the secondary, Bloomfield, who made 50 tackles, was equally adept at knowing when to come up and provide run support to the Bruins' solid defensive line and linebacking corps.

Ryan Burns

South Carroll

The rangy, 6-5, 215-pound senior had a nose for both the quarterback and the ball, finishing the year with 13 sacks, 72 tackles and four fumble recoveries. The defensive end's play was one of the main reasons the Cavaliers went a school-record 11-2, won their first regional title and reached the Class 2A state semifinals. Burns has good speed for a big man and a non-stop motor that allowed him to make plays all over the field.

Tom Farmer

Eastern Tech

Farmer, a 6-4, 190-pound junior, allowed only once touchdown reception on his side all season, and was particularily effective in the Mavericks' big games. Three of his 11 interceptions came in two games against Hereford, with one of them in the end zone. Farmer grades out as a potential Division I recruit. Whether he goes to college as a receiver or a defensive back remains to be seen, though. He had a penchant for coming up with acrobatic catches - often made against double-teams - and had 14 receptions for 273 yards.

Justin Frederick

Glenelg

A second-year starter at middle linebacker, the 6-1, 220-pound senior made 167 tackles, 94 unassisted, including 14 for lost yardage. He also had three sacks. Frederick returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown and recovered a fumble, as Glenelg won its second straight Howard County League crown and reached the Class 2A South region title game. The Sun's Howard County Defensive Player of the Year, he produced one-third of his team's total tackles. Coach John Davis, in his eighth year, considers Frederick the best linebacker he has ever coached.

Chris Gillyard

Loyola

The relentless, 5-11, 205-pound senior is a tenacious, hard hitter. He made 40 tackles as a defensive back to go with three interceptions. Also a running back, Gillyard rushed for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns. Gillyard had his best offensive game against Archbishop Curley, rushing for 203 yards and four touchdowns. He also played well defensively in that game, making a touchdown-preventing tackle.

Nathan Irby

Dunbar

As a hard-hitting defensive back, the junior returned three of his nine interceptions for touchdowns. As a punt returner, he scored another touchdown. As a running back, Irby rushed for more than 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns. Irby also had 21 receptions for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns. Irby rushed for 302 yards and two touchdowns in the Poets' 1A South regional, 30-22, victory over previously unbeaten Poolesville of Montgomery County.

Tyler Moyer

Broadneck

He was a pleasant surprise and a welcome addition to Broadneck when he transferred from the state of Washington, where he also played football and wrestled through his sophomore season. The 6-1, 230-pound Anne Arundel County Defensive Player of the Year led the state finalist Bruins (13-1) to the winningest season in county history. With a knack for tracking down the ball carrier and delivering the big hit, the senior made the transition to linebacker from defensive end and made 86 tackles and four sacks. His relentless pursuit from sideline-to-sideline figured big for a defense that yielded 8.2 points per game (5.2 in the regular season) and had a school-record five shutouts.

Jeremy Navarre

Joppatowne

A physical specimen at 6-4, 235 pounds, Navarre was in on everything during the Mariners' run to the Class 1A state championship.

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