For River Hill, it's a family affair

Eaddy finds support from Campanaros

Football Notebook

Varsity

December 08, 2006|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun reporter

River Hill sophomore linebacker-wide receiver Leron Eaddy Jr. has lived in the shadow of his older sister, Keisha, who starred on the Hawks' 28-0, Class 3A state championship girls basketball team in March.

"I want to get one-up on her," Leron, 15, said of Keisha, 18, now a freshman playing at Temple. "She's got a state title. Now, hopefully, we can go out and get one."

That task will be tough for the No. 1 Hawks (13-0), who will play Friendly (13-0) of Prince George's County in the 3A state championship game tomorrow night at M&T Bank Stadium. River Hill is in its first championship game. Friendly is seeking its fifth state title.

Leron's mother, LaShavio Nias, is excited for her son, who was 4 when his dad, Leron Sr., died. "Leron and his father were tight," Nias said. "Growing up without a dad was hard."

Leron found a father figure in youth basketball coach Attilio Campanaro, who began coaching Leron and his son, Michael, as fifth-graders. Nias later granted custody of Leron to the Campanaros.

"Til became like a dad to Leron," Nias said of Attilio, an assistant to River Hill football coach Brian Van Deusen. "From the day they met, Leron and Mike were like brothers. Leron's happy living with them."

Leron said living with Michael "is like living with my best friend. I have a great relationship with my mother, who lives 10 minutes away in Wilde Lake. It's the best of both worlds. Now, all I need is to win states."

Determined to play

Edmondson senior linebacker Ben Akalefu showed his toughness as early as age 3, when he took on an ice cream truck and came away with just a broken right leg.

But Akalefu's mother, Janine Ellen Gibson-Akalefu, "never wanted him to play football."

"Knowing how I felt, Ben-boy copied my handwriting," she said. "He signed his own paperwork and played little league football without my knowledge for a while."

Nowadays, Janine supports her son, who has nine sacks in leading the No. 3 Red Storm (12-1) into tomorrow's 2A state final against McDonough (12-1) of Charles County at M&T Bank Stadium.

Beneath his shoulder pads and near his heart, Akalefu wears a photo of his grandfather, George Weathers, who was 97 when he died of cancer. Ben drives the 1996 Buick Century that belonged to Weathers.

"My mother raised me as a single mother," Akalefu said. "My father left before I was born, but my mother and grandparents were there for me. When I play, I'm playing for them."

Cry mercy

Fort Hill (12-1) of Cumberland, which plays 10th-ranked Dunbar (10-3) for the 1A title tomorrow at M&T Bank Stadium, has been so strong in its past four outings that it has played part of each game under the 35-point mercy rule.

In last weekend's 57-14 rout of No. 15 Havre de Grace, the Sentinels held the Warriors to 8 yards rushing, had five tackles for lost yardage, three sacks, intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble.

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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