Co-Players of the Year:
Erin Henderson, Aberdeen
The numbers were impressive enough for Aberdeen's senior quarterback and linebacker: 84-for-155 passing, with 1,580 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions; a team-leading 883 yards rushing with eight touchdowns; a team-leading 138 tackles to go along with two interceptions.
But in evaluating the Maryland-bound Henderson's season, it's also the intangibles the 6-foot-3, 225-pound four-year starter brought to Aberdeen that made him special.
"He was our centerpiece, our leader," said wide receiver Devron Galloway.
The Eagles followed their quarterback's lead to the program's first state title.
Trailing 20-0 to Edgewood in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs, Henderson completed passes on fourth down three times to lead the Eagles' comeback. Two weeks later against South Carroll in the state semifinals, Henderson scored the only touchdown in a 6-0 win.
Finally, Henderson, visibly limited by a sprained ankle, threw three touchdown passes, including the tying one with just over two minutes to play and the eventual game-winner in overtime, to lead the Eagles back from an 18-point deficit to defeat Potomac, 33-25, in the Class 2A state championship.
T.J. Swanson, South Carroll
When watching the 6-3, 210-pound senior quarterback this season, it was very easy to forget that Swanson was a first-year varsity starter at that position.
Showing a strong arm, quick feet, remarkable poise in the pocket and impeccable decision-making skills, Swanson shattered school records by completing 53 percent (150-for-283) of his passes for a state-leading 2,451 yards and 28 touchdowns, and rushing for 813 yards and 15 touchdowns.
"He just had a phenomenal season," said Cavaliers coach Gene Brown. "When you're involved in 43 touchdowns in the season, that's remarkable. He had some good people around him, but the quarterback certainly starts the damage."
His combined 3,264 yards of total offense rank second on the state's all-time single-season total yardage list - 130 yards behind leader Keith Ricca (3,394) of St. John's Prospect Hall.
An A student, Swanson earned second-team All-Metro honors last season as a defensive back. He is receiving interest from a number of Division I-A and I-AA schools.
Coach of the Year: Joe Harbert, Aberdeen
When Harbert was hired as the Eagles' head coach four years ago, the then-26-year old told people he'd probably make his share of mistakes, but that he would learn from them.
Apparently, Harbert is a quick study.
In his first three seasons, Harbert's Eagles, beset by injuries and a number of close losses, won a total of 13 games. This season, Aberdeen won 12, including the biggest victory in school history.
The Eagles scored 26 unanswered points to capture a thrilling, 33-25 overtime victory over Potomac in the Class 2A championship, the program's first state football title.
The game, which the Eagles trailed 25-7 with 5:00 left in the third quarter, was emblematic of the way Aberdeen played all year.
With the urging of their passionate and intense coach and buoyed by the needed adjustments in the game plan, the Eagles stuck together no matter how large the deficit - the Eagles also trailed Edgewood 20-0 late in the second quarter in the first round of the playoffs.
Harbert and defensive coordinator Kevin Reilly - who the Aberdeen head coach said "knows more about football than anybody I'll ever know" - deserve a lot of the credit.
Harbert, whose team's 12-1 season included a share of the Harford County championship and the 2A East crown, instilled focus, pride and confidence within his team.
Joe Akers, Hereford
The highly recruited junior preseason All-American is being looked at by colleges nationwide for his prowess on both sides of the line. At 6-2, 310 pounds, and with a 40-yard dash time of 5.0 seconds, the returning All-Metro selection used quick feet, good hands and overpowering strength to dominate the opposition. Rarely coming off the field, Akers, a member of two state championship teams, will be among a number of returning seniors to next year's Bulls.
Brandon Albert, Glen Burnie
Albert, extremely athletic for a 6-7, 320-pounder, anchored both the offensive and defensive lines of the Gophers. On defense, Albert used his speed and instincts to run down opposing ball carriers and make 65 tackles. Thanks primarily to the efforts of Albert, the Gophers enjoyed upset wins over schools such as highly touted Class 2A regional playoff contender Southern-Anne Arundel. The senior is considered a Division I prospect and is among the most highly recruited linemen on the East Coast.
Adam Berry, Bel Air
Berry, a lightning-quick, 5-11, 150-pound junior, was accounted for on nearly every down this season by at least one defender and usually two, but still managed to make big plays. On the receiving end of passes from quarterback and twin brother, Andrew, a second-team All-Metro selection, Berry caught 35 passes for 626 yards and 10 touchdowns. Harford County's leading receiver in yardage, Berry, who was also the Bobcats' return man, paired with Willie Bell to form one of the most productive receiver tandems in the area.
Scott Burley, Woodlawn
The 6-6, 320-pounder has earned a reputation as one of the premier run blockers in the state, and he is headed for the University of Maryland on a full football scholarship. Burley had 45 pancake blocks (knocking a defender on his back) and allowed only one sack in his two seasons. Largely as a result of Burley's pass-blocking skill, his leadership on the offensive line and his ability him to hold most defensive linemen at bay, Warriors quarterback Justin Ross passed for nearly 20 touchdowns. A second-team All-Metro selection last fall, Burley was highly recruited before committing to the Terps.
Brent Cash, Joppatowne
It seems that Joppatowne, which runs a power-I offense that relies on a bruising and chain-moving runner, always has a good tailback, and this year was no different. In his first year as starting tailback, Cash (5-11, 175 pounds) excelled, using good vision and a physical straight-ahead style to total a Harford County-leading 1,820 yards rushing (believed to be a school record) and 28 touchdowns, a county high. The senior averaged over 7 yards per carry and had at least one touchdown in every game, including eight touchdowns in the playoffs for the improbable Class 1A titlists. Cash, who also returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score, recorded four touchdowns in a 33-28 win over Bel Air.
Chris Desautels, Broadneck
The 6-3, 175-pound junior kicker has booted an Anne Arundel County-record 11 field goals, 10 in the regular season. The other came in a 17-14 playoff win over Arundel, and his longest was 42 yards. Desautels converted 40 of 46 extra-point kicks, and his ability to kick for distance was critical in containing the opposition's return personnel. Teams had to account for Desautels' skills in every close game. His field goals were the difference for the Bruins in regular-season wins over Severna Park (10-7) and Arundel (17-14).
Ben Gabbard, Broadneck
Big and intimidating at 6-4 and 290 pounds, Gabbard is a three-year starter at center. His blend of agility and footwork set him apart as one of the best linemen in the state. Gabbard, who anchors the offensive line and calls blocking schemes, was the recipient of the Al Laramore Award, given to Anne Arundel County's best lineman. A Division I prospect with a 4.0 grade-point average, Gabbard also is the Bruins' long snapper.
Cameron Goldberg, McDonogh
Coach Dom Damico had an invaluable weapon on both sides of the ball with the 6-6, 260-pound two-way lineman. Goldberg did not give up a sack for an offense that was effective both passing and running.
Defensively, he was also skillful, making 82 tackles and 12 sacks to help the Eagles to a 7-3 record. Stanford, Duke and California have offered scholarships, and Virginia, Maryland and Wake Forest also are interested in the senior.
Jason Goode, Woodlawn
The athletic and versatile Goode can do a lot of things well, but he excelled as a tight end with 19 receptions for 400 yards and five touchdowns for the Warriors. He also rushed for 476 yards and seven touchdowns. In addition, Goode performed well on special teams, returning a touchdown 86 yards for a score.
A testament to Goode's versatility is the fact that he ranked with South Carroll's T.J. Swanson as one of the best athletes at a summer camp for quarterbacks, a position Goode played at Curley before transferring to the Warriors this fall. The 6-4, 230-pound senior has scholarship offers from Colorado, Boston College and Georgetown.
Ben Nowak, River Hill
Standing 6-4 and weighing 200 pounds, the senior tight end was an imposing target for any defensive back. Nowak led Howard County with 63 receptions for 702 yards and eight touchdowns. Not only did Nowak have great hands, but he was tough to bring down after the catch. As a defensive end, Nowak also came up big for the Hawks, particularly against Glenelg in a 14-7 win that earned River Hill (8-3) its first-ever playoff berth and ended the Gladiators' 35-game regular-season winning streak.
Thomas Smith, Patterson
The 6-1, 217-pound senior running back rushed for 30 touchdowns and 1,754 yards, ending his career with rushing totals of 3,585 yards and 56 touchdowns - he scored 59 touchdowns overall. Smith was also part of a defense that had six shutouts, finishing with more than 100 tackles from his position at linebacker and leading the Clippers to a Class 4A North region title game berth.
Gary Townes, Chesapeake-AA
Townes drove the Cougars' single-wing offense to the school's second winning season (6-4) and the first since 1985. The speedy and shifty 5-9, 210-pound spinback (the position played by the quarterback in the single-wing) became only the third Anne Arundel County player to run for 1,000 yards (1,314) and pass for 1,000 (1,131) in the same season. Townes ran for 15 touchdowns and passed for nine. His balance as a runner and passer made him the focal point of opposing defenses' game plans.
Glenn Williams, Archbishop Curley
The 5-10, 180-pound junior running back was nearly unstoppable at times this season, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry in rushing for 1,304 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also returned three kickoffs for scores in leading the Friars to a share of their second straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference crown. On defense, Williams made 44 tackles, intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble. An A student, Williams has received plenty of interest from college recruiters.
Dietrich Wright, Eastern Tech
The 6-1, 200-pound senior running back received Baltimore City/County Offensive Player of the Year honors after rushing for 1,738 yards and 27 touchdowns. He helped the Mavericks tie a school record for single-season wins (12-1) and reach the Class 2A state semifinals. Wright's 86 career touchdowns rank him first among Maryland's all-time leaders with Marcus Mason of Georgetown Prep.
Name School Class Position
Andrew Berry Bel Air Junior Quarterback
Bobby Schram Arundel Senior Quarterback
Dane Frank John Carroll Junior Running back
Shane Walterhoefer Boys' Latin Junior Running back
Shanorm Young Poly Senior Running back
Cory Davis McDonogh Senior Wide receiver
Tim Jennings Pallotti Junior Wide receiver
Chris Luette South Carroll Senior Wide receiver
Willie Bell Bel Air Junior Tight end
Adrian Brown Randallstown Senior Lineman
Luke Hiteshew Mount St. Joseph Senior Lineman
David Howard Oakland Mills Junior Lineman
Ray Matula Southern-AA Senior Lineman
Shawn Frederick Wilde Lake Senior Lineman
Deon Peters Severn Junior All-purpose
Jon Dinkins Hereford Senior Kicker
Note: Teams selected by Lem Satterfield after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun