The power of two

Separately, Manny Washington and Quentin Bell are quality players

together they're a force to be reckoned with

Football

November 12, 2006|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,special to the sun

Neither one is intimidating physically, but Edgewood running backs Quentin Bell and Manny Washington put fear into the opposition each week.

Heading into Friday's game with North Harford, the pair had combined to rush for 1,917 yards and 24 touchdowns in nine games. Together, they had an eye-opening 8.3 yards per carry.

"I don't see us being as good without them," Edgewood coach Fred Myers said. "They bring spark to the offense that we need and create problems for defensive coordinators. We'd just be average without them."

Bell is 5 feet 10, 150 pounds, and Washington is 5-6, 153. Both stay busy because Edgewood uses the run-oriented wing T offense, essentially a three-back system that can put a defense on the defensive. Washington lines up behind a tackle or will come in motion. Bell is the fullback who starts behind the quarterback. Bell mostly runs inside; Washington usually stays outside.

The Rams often use Washington in their sweeps. They also use him coming out of the backfield to catch passes.

Bell's big plays often come from the inside on draw plays and quick traps.

Both players are good at reading blocks and running with patience.

"I'm more of a power runner, and he is a speed runner; he's a Speedy Gonzales. It's hard for them to stop us," said Bell, a junior.

Opponents have rarely stopped either back this season. Bell entered the North Harford game with 1,072 yards on 115 carries, an average of 9.3 yards per carry. He also had eight touchdowns.

Washington had 845 yards rushing on 116 carries - an average of 7.3 yards per carry - and 16 receptions for 336 yards. The senior also had 19 touchdowns, three on receptions.

Joppatowne was one of the few teams to slow the Edgewood backfield this season, handing the Rams their first loss and ending a 14-game winning streak with a 23-19 victory Oct. 27. They held Washington to a team-high 101 yards.

"Players get concerned with Washington or whoever's hot at the time, and they start worrying about him," Joppatowne coach Bill Waibel said. "Then the other guy gets the ball, and they're not thinking about him as much, and he can break off a big gain."

Edgewood offensive coordinator Chris Johnson said the pair is one of the best he has coached.

"I think Manny really plays much bigger than he is," Johnson said. "He has very deceptive speed and very good vision; he has a ton of moves. Quentin has very strong legs and he also reads blocks very well. I believe that sooner or later they'll hurt you - it's just a matter of when."

Washington transferred to Edgewood this year from Loch Raven and quickly connected with Bell. The running backs became friends and spent plenty of time hanging out, listening to their favorite music, going shopping and often sleeping over.

Neither one seems to care who gets the ball as long as the Rams are winning.

"There's different times when it's his game, and I don't get mad," Washington said. "I just let him have his shot. He does the same thing [for me]. I think of him like a brother. It's like I'm playing with family."

Washington, who was a running back and defensive back at Loch Raven, had little trouble adjusting to the wing T because he'd played it for two seasons in recreation football.

"It's been fun, and I wish we had more games, like the NFL," Washington said. "I don't want it to be over yet. Our team is like a real family; it's the closest team I've ever been on."

Bell, Washington and the coaches said the pair has gotten plenty of help. Edgewood's line has been consistent in its blocking, and wingback Chris Denardi and tailback-wingback Kasene Logan both block well.

"Offensively, we're very confident," Myers said. "They help bring confidence to the team. If you shut down one, you can't shut down the other. You've got to give up something."

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