Fall All-metro Varsity

Football

December 13, 2006|By LEM SATTERFIELD

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Defensive Player of The Year

Defense

Ben Eaton

Gilman

The No. 1 worn by Eaton was in many ways symbolic, including that he entered his final high school season as the area's lone returning All-Metro first-team selection. And the 5-foot-11, 225-pound senior lived up to his reputation, coming off a junior season on a Gilman squad that outscored its last six opponents, 158-7, and finished as the area's No. 1-ranked team and No. 12 nationally by USA Today. From his position as a middle linebacker, Eaton helped the Greyhounds this season to a share of their eighth Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title in 10 years under coach Biff Poggi. Eaton led Gilman in tackles with 123 -- 23 for lost yardage. Eaton also made seven sacks and had three interceptions for the Greyhounds, who finished in a three-way tie for the league title with McDonogh and Loyola. Eaton scored 11 touchdowns as a fullback, one on a 15-yard reception that sparked a come-from-behind, 36-35 overtime victory over Cumberland Valley, Pa. Eaton also was a strong blocker for running back John Pagliaro, who averaged nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns during a stretch of four straight wins. When Pagliaro was injured during a game against Loyola, Eaton responded by rushing for all three touchdowns in the first half of an 18-10 victory. A B-average student who can bench-press 350 pounds, Eaton has drawn interest from North Carolina and Wake Forest for his linebacking skills, and Duke, Temple and Connecticut for his blocking ability.

Offense

Tavon Austin

Dunbar

"Tavon is the best high school running back that I've ever seen, to this point, this year, or for that matter, any year," Fort Hill coach Barry Lattimer said. "He understands the game, he's elusive, hard to tackle, has great field vision, and his feet never stop."

Austin rushed for 1,701 yards and scored 32 touchdowns in only his second year of high school football. The sophomore led the No. 10 Poets to an 11-3 record and a berth in the Class 1A state title game, where they defeated Fort Hill of Cumberland, 38-23, for the program's fourth state crown. Five of Austin's touchdowns were pass receptions, one was a 96-yard kickoff return and another was a 60-yard return of a fumble. Also a defensive back, Austin had six interceptions and raised his career touchdown total to 53. Austin, 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds, had two of his best games on consecutive weekends - in a 38-22, victory over Forestville of Prince George's County in a Class 1A South regional game, and in a 26-20 win over Elkton of Cecil County in a state semifinal. Against Forestville, Austin rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns, returned a fumble for a score and had three interceptions. Against Elkton, Austin ran for the game-winning 33-yard touchdown - his fourth score of the game - on a fourth-and-nine with 1:45 left.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Brian Abbott

Loyola

Abbott guided a Loyola squad with no stars and a 15-year-old sophomore quarterback to a share of the program's third Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title since 1997 and to its second crown during his five seasons at the school. Abbott raised his record at Loyola to 41-14 and his overall mark to 94-34 in 13 seasons, counting two MIAA B Conference championship seasons at St. Paul's. "Some people have said this team overachieved, but I disagree," said Abbott, 40, whose Dons (10-1) tied a single-season school record for victories, won their fourth straight game against rival Calvert Hall and defeated four-time state champion Dunbar. "They met the expectations they set for themselves through trust and faith in one another." The Dons shared the MIAA A Conference title with McDonogh and Gilman, beating the former and losing to the latter. Loyola capped its season by winning for the 18th time in its past 22 meetings with Calvert Hall, improving its record to 46-33-8 in the 87-year-old Turkey Bowl game. Abbott credits Loyola assistant Brant Hall, a former star quarterback for the Dons, for helping to mold sophomore offensive leader Leon Kinnard, who rushed for 11 touchdowns and passed for 11.

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