Fall All-metro


December 12, 2007


Players of the year

Tavon Austin


Perhaps the area's most exciting player, Austin is The Sun's Offensive Player of the Year a second straight season. The junior running back with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash already has more career touchdowns (92) than any player in Maryland history. In leading the No. 2 Poets (14-0) to their second straight 1A state championship, Austin showed dazzling moves while being pursued. Austin, 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds, ran for school records of 2,553 yards and 32 touchdowns on 198 attempts. He scored seven other touchdowns for a total of 39. He also scored 12 two-point conversions, giving him an area-high 258 points, and threw a touchdown pass. Austin, who also plays defensive back, caught 17 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns, and scored touchdowns on a punt return, kickoff return, fumble recovery and interception, the latter coming on a school-record 101-yard return. He had four interceptions, as well as 50 tackles and three forced fumbles. Austin, who rushed for a career-high 344 yards against Edmondson this season, has 5,287 career rushing yards, making him only the seventh player in state history to run for 5,000 yards or more. He's fifth on the list and can break the record of 5,920 by Ben Tate, who played at Stephen Decatur and Snow Hill from 2003 to 2005.


Bubba Harris


It's uncertain where the senior linebacker is going to college, but it is certain that he is the area's best defensive player and that he will play major college football. Harris, 6 feet 1 and 235 pounds, was a three-year starter and four-year varsity player who established himself as one of the area's hardest hitters. Harris had 115 tackles, 12 behind the line of scrimmage, had 4.5 sacks, caused four fumbles and broke up three passes. He led a defense that gave up 9.5 points per game while playing one of the toughest schedules in the state. His stellar play allowed the No. 3 Dons (9-1, 4-1) to share the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship with No. 7 Mount St. Joseph (6-4, 4-1). In his career, Harris had 342 tackles (45 for losses), 9.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries, forced seven fumbles, made three interceptions and broke up seven passes. Harris who runs a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, is expected to make a decision soon on college. North Carolina State, Akron, Cincinnati and East Carolina all have shown interest.

Coach ofthe year

Brian Van Deusen

River Hill

A three-sport standout at Atholton in the 1990s, Van Deusen has gone on to become one of the state's top coaches. Van Deusen, 33, was Howard County Player of the Year in football and baseball as a senior (1991-92). He went on to play both sports at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) and just completed his eighth season as the River Hill football coach, winning his first state title, beating Eastern Tech in the Class 2A final. The Hawks' defense posted 11 shutouts to tie the 30-year-old state single-season record, and Van Deusen's run-first spread offense produced more than 4,500 rushing yards and three 1,000-yard rushers. "This has been a special team from the start," said Van Deusen, a former quarterback at Western Maryland with a mind for offense. "These kids have been focused on this season since losing to Friendly in last year's state championship." Van Deusen also credited his coaching staff for the team's success. All of his assistants have been with him since he started in Clarksville eight years ago. In that time, River Hill has gone 75-18 (.806), making the playoffs four straight years, advancing to a state final two straight years and winning five Howard County titles in a row. The Hawks have a 23-game winning streak against Howard County foes since losing, 15-14, at Long Reach on Nov. 18, 2005, and are 39-1 in the county since 2004.

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