December 16, 2007

Offensive Player

Dan Griffin

North Harford

In his third year as starting quarterback, the 6-foot, 180-pound senior smoothly ran the team's triple-option offense and proved to be effective in several ways. Griffin ran for 840 yards on 132 carries and scored 23 touchdowns to help North Harford (10-2) win its first state playoff game in school history.

Griffin made himself more versatile by completing 70 of 119 passes for 1,121 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with 1,961 yards of total offense.

The Hawks needed his help on offense because they weren't as experienced at the skill positions as they were the past two years, when they made the playoffs and lost in the first round. Colleges are looking at him as a quarterback and possibly at other positions such as wide receiver.

"He learned the offense and grew and matured as a player and a leader," North Harford coach Ken Brinkman said. "He had an overwhelming understanding of everything."

Defensive Player

C.J. Townes


Townes, the Mariners' quarterback, might have been even more of a factor on defense.

He was a second-year starter at safety for the Mariners (11-2), who made it to the Class 1A state semifinals. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior led Harford County with eight interceptions (he had seven last year) for 120 yards and made 47 tackles.

Townes scored 11 touchdowns on offense and ran for 1,008 yards (9.6 yards per carry). He also passed for 400 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception.

Coach Bill Waibel said Townes used quickness, agility and intelligence to repeatedly find his way to the ball. Teams didn't want to throw near him, but Townes still made plays and sparked a Joppatowne defense that carried the team.

Several colleges are looking at Townes as a safety or wide receiver.

Coach of the Year

Bill Waibel


Waibel wasn't sure what kind of talent the Mariners had heading into this season, as only three starters returned from last year. Joppatowne lost 26 seniors from the 8-3 team that made the Class 2A playoffs last fall.

The Mariners started poorly this season, committing five turnovers in a 32-17 road loss to North Carroll, but Waibel's team slowly rounded into shape and won 11 consecutive games before losing to Allegany in a Class 1A state semifinal.

Joppatowne relied heavily on its speedy and tough defense and got help from versatile athletes such as C.J. Townes (quarterback and defensive back) and cornerbacks Kelvin and Kevin Harris. The trio combined for 21 interceptions and three defensive touchdowns.

The Mariners' defense held opponents to fewer than 10 points in eight of the season's 13 games and played a big role in the 11-game winning streak. Waibel's run-oriented offense helped the Mariners control the pace of most games.

Joppatowne also relied heavily on sophomores at key positions.

"This was a very hard-working, overachieving group of kids," Waibel said. "I just couldn't wait to get to practice every day."

COUNTY PLAYERS ON MIAA TEAM: B Conference: John Carroll: Ethan Reese, junior; Stephen St. Clair, sopho more; Ben Volker, senior. Note: Player and Coach of the Year were selected by Jeff Seidel after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches. The MIAA team was selected through voting by league coaches. The county public schools and the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference do not select all-league teams.

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