Towson Football Preview 2011

While area prep squads prepare for new season, coaches are feverishly attempting to figure out the best way to put more oomph into offenses and determination into defenses.

Look for your favorite team's most uplifting prospects below:

Boys' Latin

2010 record: 7-3

Returning starters (offense): 4

Returning starters (defense): 4

First game: Sept. 2, 7 p.m., at Catonsville

Fast facts: Dominating two-way senior lineman Greg Pike (6 feet, 5 inches, 305 pounds) has verbally committed to the University of Georgia. "He had 15 offers," said Boys' Latin coach Ritchie Schell, adding that West Virginia, Penn State, Michigan, Connecticut and Maryland were among them.

Key to success: Senior Brett Radcliffe (6-1, 180) and sophomore Frederick Bopst (6-2, 170) are engaged in a heated battle to run the multiple-I offense.

Breakdown: Schell hopes there won't be any slippage from the defense.

The Lakers gave up an average of only 11 points per game last year, but defensive end Marco Jones (University of Virginia) and cornerback Michael Turner (Cornell University) are gone.

So are five other starters.

"We had some really good players that graduated," Schell says. "We had eight all-conference players on defense. We could have had 10 if I had been greedy. We are smaller, but we are athletic and fast."

It's going to be difficult for opponents to neutralize Pike, who can get to the quarterback and stop the run in the Lakers' 4-4 defense.

"He has NFL potential," Schell said. "That's what everybody is saying. He is an unbelievable athlete."

Matt Rees (6-3, 210) joins Pike (50 tackles, 5 sacks) upfront.

Two outstanding veterans — seniors Shawn Mulroy (5-10, 190) and Geron Brooks (5-10, 190) — return to start at linebacker.

The secondary doesn't have a big-play star, but does have several solid players. Junior Chris Rubino (5-9, 165), a three-year starter, is the leader of the unit that also includes Radcliffe at safety.

On offense, the coaching staff will spend extra time working with Radcliffe and Bopst, a junior varsity call-up with great promise.

"They are both athletic and have strong arms," Schelle said. "But they have to improve on their accuracy and pocket awareness."

Right tackle Pike, Rees, a left tackle, and senior center Eric Simmons (5-8, 250) are experienced, big and strong linemen expected to help improve the rushing attack.

Senior Brandon Cherry (5-6, 160), a two-year starter is a threat at tailback while junior Ben Pridemore (5-11, 155) has big-play ability at wide receiver.

Calvert Hall

2010 record: 11-1

Returning starters (offense): 5

Returning starters (defense): 5

First game: Sept. 1, 8 p.m., at Bowie State University vs. St. John's (D.C.)

Fast fact: The Cardinals captured their first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title last season.

Key to success: On a team that returns almost every skill position player, new faces in the trenches must grow up in a hurry.

Breakdown: Coach Donald Davis is well aware that last year's dream season, which could have been a nightmare for a team that won a slew of close games, will be difficult to replicate.

"Last year, there were four games that we could have lost, but we found ways to win," Davis said. "The year before, we lost some close ones."

Knowing there can be a fine line between being a victor or victim, Davis is looking for enough blocking up front from seniors A.J. Belzner (5-9, 240) and Ricky Walston (6-0, 290) and junior Mike Manoch (5-10, 230) to spring battle-tested senior running backs C.J. Williams (6-0, 200) and Brandon Neverdon (5-8, 170) and juniors Garrett Keene (5-9, 180) and Stephen Kelly (5-10, 170).

Senior quarterback Thomas Stuart (5-11, 165) runs the show with an accurate arm, terrific instincts and knack for making big plays.

He'll also have a trio of tall and talented wideouts — senior Trevor Williams (6-1, 180) and juniors Delando Johnson (6-1, 175) and Kyle Levere (6-1, 180) — at his disposal.

On defense, Johnson will move to rush end with senior Ky Reinhardt (6-1, 180) on the other side.

Senior Da'Quan Davis (5-11, 170) anchors the backfield while C.J. Williams and junior Garrett Epple (6-0, 190) man the inside slots and senior Travon Barnes (5-11, 180) and junior Tom Hollenback (5-10, 180) the outside for the linebacking corps.

As defending champs, Davis and company will be every conference rival's top target in 2011.

"We know we're the hunted, but don't approach the season any differently," Davis said. "It's the same as if we were coming off a 4-7 season. We know what we have to do to be successful."


2010 record: 1-9

Returning starters (offense): 8

Returning starters (defense): 7

First game: Sept. 2 at Kenwood, 7 p.m.

Fast fact: The Lions have haven't won more than two games in any of the last seven seasons.

Key to success: The Lions yielded a whopping 356 points last year, so they need the defense to stop the bleeding.

Breakdown: Is Dulaney eyeing another 1-9 season this fall? Rookie coach Chris Fallon says a turnaround is ahead.

"This year's team will be different than past years," says Chris Fallon, who replaced Jeff Mann and worked as the Lions' assistant coach last season. "Everybody (coaches, players) says that and I believe it. They have a winning attitude."

The Lions will be crying for some consistency from a multiple offense after the way the unit struggled in 2010.

"We have an offense, I think, that will put points on the board," the coach says.

Junior quarterback Dre Lewis (5-8, 160) could be the team's most improved player.

"He spent a lot of time at camps and working out with college guys this summer," Fallon adds. "He cut his teeth as a sophomore. He is really physical, can run the ball and has a great arm."

Fallon also hopes senior wide receiver Nick Benhoff (5-7, 145), junior wide receiver Pete Benzinger (6-5, 190), senior tight end Kevin Ellsworth (6-4, 190), senior running back/wide receiver DJ Foster and senior fullback Louie Bafford (5-9, 189) can provide some spark to the offense.

Senior tackle Logan Walker (6-4, 260), junior tackle Scott Raequwon (5-9, 210), junior guard Trevor Morgan-Westrich (5-7, 200) and junior center Cooper Manning (6-1, 220) return to stabilize the offensive line.

The Lions have plenty of experience on the defensive line with Ellsworth, Walker, Raequwon and junior tackle Tayvon Small (6-2, 270). The issue now is improvement.

Foster and Bafford head the group of linebackers while Robert Hylton (5-4, 135) highlights the secondary.


2010 record: 0-9

Returning starters (offense): 6

Returning starters (defense): 7

First game: Sept. 10, 2 p.m., at Maret, of Washington, D.C.

Fast fact: Friends has no junior varsity, so 23 underclassmen crowd the roster.

Key to success: The Quakers need to have far fewer than the 25 turnovers they had last year.

Breakdown: The road back won't be easy, but second-year coach Chuck Saine anticipates a stronger team will mean more victories in a revamped, six-team MIAA C Conference.

Friends players worked out more than past offseasons, according to Saine.

"The kids have been working out a lot," he says. "The nice thing about the C (Conference) this year is that we have a playoff system like they are doing in the B (Conference). The top-four teams go to the playoffs. I think we can make the playoffs and win three or four games."

Saine changed the offense to give the Quakers a better shot at winning more games, moving from a power-I to a wing-T.

"You need big offensive linemen that could push people out of the way, and we don't have that," Saine said. "That's why the power-I wasn't successful for us. The wing-T is a better fit for our personnel."

At quarterback, freshman Christan Spence has the physicial tools and mental makeup to take control of the Quakers.

"Believe it or not, as a freshman, he commands the huddle," Saine said. "He is very composed for a freshman. He is very experienced and has played football for nine years."

Spence will be handing off to senior running back Eric Brooks (5-10, 175).

They'll be working behind the beefed up line spearheaded by junior tackle Will Davis (6-0, 210) and junior guards Taylor Roethle (6-1, 195) and Jack Dixon (6-0, 180).

Senior wing back Henry Moore (6-2, 200), senior tight end Declan Meageher (6-2, 200) and freshman wing back Donovan Tilley (5-11, 165) are receiving threats.

On defense, Friends top players include senior end Grant Everett (6-2, 195), senior safety Ben Halversen (5-10, 160), junior cornerback Avery Daniels (5-10, 170), sophomore cornerback Chandler Walters (5-11, 160), linebackers Davis and Taylor and end Meageher will be key contributors.


Returning starters (offense): 9

Returning starters (defense): 9

First game: Beat Maryland Christian, 68-9, on Aug. 26.

Fast fact: Coaching legend Bill McGregor joins the Greyhound staff after winning 278 games in 29 years at Washington power DeMatha.

Key to success: How well DeMatha transfer Shane Cockerille adjusts to running a high-powered offense will go a long way in de terming the Greyhounds' fate.

Breakdown: In beginning his 15th year at the helm of his alma mater, coach Biff Poggi has all his ducks in a row. While many observers point to defending champion Calvert Hall returning most or all of its skill-position players, Gilman is loaded with experienced veterans all over the field.

Moreover, even without graduated star Darius Jennings, the Greyhounds have plugged that hole nicely with the southpaw Cockerille (6-2, 205) at the controls.

His protection will be anchored by massive two-way lineman Brian Gaia (6-4, 295), a Penn State recruit who will also help to open holes for senior running backs Kenneth Goins (6-0, 215), University of Pittsburgh-bound Devon Porchia (6-2, 200) and senior T.J. Trusty (6-1, 195).

Blocking beside Gaia will be classmates Charles Cross (-60, 245) and Brandon Smith (5-9, 180), juniors Ned Emala (6-0, 210), Connor Webb (6-2, 215) and Quinn Flacks (6-2, 220) and sophomores Sheldon Johnson (6-3, 270) and Ben Robbins (6-4, 260).

Goins, Gaia, junior Henry Poggi (6-4, 255) and sophomore Melvin Keihn (6-2, 220) make up the defensive front four.

Last, but hardly least, is wide receiver/defensive back Cyrus Jones 6-0, 190), who Poggi says is "the best player I've ever had."

That's one of the reasons Poggi adds that Alabama, Auburn and Notre Dame are all possible college destinations for the talented senior.

With all that star power, Poggi says "we'll be a tough out. We'll play hard and play fast."

Loch Raven

2010 record: 0-10

Returning starters (offense): 4

Returning starters (defense): 3

First game: Sept. 3, 7 p.m., at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Fast fact: New boss Tom Gunn guided Loch Raven to its last playoff appearance in 2005 when he was interim coach for most of the season.

Key to success: No players will be more important to the Raiders' turnaround than junior quarterback hopefuls Adam Boudouris (6-3, 180) or Logan Countryman (5-11, 170).

Breakdown: Raiders fans can be assured of one thing this fall: It can't get much worse than last year.

Loch Raven should show improvement with Gunn making significant changes.

"The first thing to do is change the culture of losing," said Gunn, who replaced John Railey. "That means bringing organization and discipline to the entire (program). They have been down for so long. They have really forgotten what it is like to win."

For the Raiders to make strides, Gunn will be focusing on the development of his quarterbacks running the spread option offense.

Loch Raven will have a fresh look at the position since Boudouris' brother, Steve, graduated.

"Can we get the play out of the quarterback?" Gunn said. "That will be the variable. Both have picked up the picked up the offense very quickly. (Adam) Boudouris can run pretty well and is a good athlete. What Logan lacks in height, he makes up for in athleticism."

The quarterbacks must get the ball to promising wide receivers, senior Khirhy Hayes (5-11, 155) and junior James Staten (6-4, 150).

Junior running back Justin Rogers (5-10, 175) could emerge as the leading rusher. He will be working behind an offensive line anchored by senior tackle Peter Lang (6-1, 375) and junior center Ryan Memphis (6-2, 250).

Gunn will build the defense around senior end Roderick Barber (6-3, 255), senior linebacker Bernard Whitaker (6-2, 260) and Memphis, a linebacker.

"I don't underestimate these kids at all," Gunn said. "When we were winning before, we had the same type of kids. Loch Raven is never going to be bigger, faster or stronger than all the other teams. But they'll be in shape, have good attitudes, supreme effort and be prepared."

Loyola Blakefield

2010 record: 6-5

First game: Sept. 3 vs. DeMatha at Morgan State University, 1:45 p.m.

Returning starters (offense): 8

Returning starters (defense): 8

Fast fact: Before dropping the past two Turkey Bowls games to Calvert Hall, the Dons had won six straight against their archrival.

Keys to success: Veteran leadership will be the driving force if the Dons are going to reach their preseason goal of getting back to the top of the A Conference.

Breakdown: Senior tri-captains Deemer Class (WR/DB), Jordan Floyd (WR/DB) and Jordan Horne (OL/DL) headline a veteran group of two-way starters who have the team working extremely hard to push the Dons back into the championship hunt.

"They are working their tails off," coach Brian Abbott said.

Class (6-0, 185) and Floyd (6-2, 210) will be prime targets for Queen Anne's transfer quarterback, junior Jake Clise (6-2, 190).

Third-year tight end Alec Scheetz (6-4, 230) should also be a candidate for big plays.

"He might end up being the best tight end I've ever coached," said Abbott, in his 18th season as head coach.

Scheetz will be on the end of the offensive line anchored by Horne (5-11, 250).

Horne, who will play at Bryant University next season with senior running back Ryan Black (6-0, 205), is joined on the line by Darmouth University-bound senior Jon Moran (6-5, 250), senior Jordan Jenkins (6-0, 225) and juniors Cole Luthy (6-1, 230) and Sam Evans (6-2, 250).

Senior running back Kacy Kapinos (5-9, 185), senior wide receiver Matt Higgins (6-0, 180) and junior fullback Alex Hunt (6-1, 215) should also bolster the offense.

A rotation of Moran, Jenkins, Evans and Jenkins should solidify the defensive lne while senior Taylor Janoskie (6-1, 205) and juniors Dennis Dimalo (5-9, 215) and Cole Boozer (6-5, 205) join Hunt at linebacker.


2010 record: 6-4

First game: Aug. 27, 1 p.m., Frederick County Christian at Lutheran

Returning starters (offense): 7

Returning starters (defense): 5

Fast fact: 2010 Lutheran graduate Jay Davis is playing football for Brown University this fall.

Keys to success: Keeping several two-way starters healthy and the veteran leadership of seniors Aaron Armes and John Nunes will determine how the Saints fare this season.

Breakdown: Armes is in his third season as quarterback and his athleticism makes the 5-feet-11, 165-pound C Conference all-star a true threat.

Nunes (5-9, 175), a conference all-star, is in his fourth season at linebacker and running back.

"He is an exceptional athlete," coach Brent Johnson said.

Senior wideouts Dave Dooley (6-2, 175) and Jordan Smith (6-1,175) are veterans who will also play in the defensive backfield.

Senior Scott Sweigart (6-1, 200) and two-way juniors Nick Barmoy (5-10, 175 ) and Patrick Curtis (5-9, 205) will play on the offensive line with Barmoy moving to linebacker and Curtis and Sweigart taking over in the trenches on defense.

Overcoming the loss of Davis and conference all-star linebacker Matt Brause will be the biggest challenge, but Johnson is supremely confident in his close-knit squad.

"We're a small program , but we've got some tremendous athletes," he said. "We are going to be bigger up front, but we are just inexperienced."

A tougher non-conference schedule should be exciting, including a Sept. 3 game with interstate rival Long Island Lutheran.

Baltimore Lutheran has won the last two meetings with its sister school.

Lutheran also has a meeting with decidedly local flavor when it travels a few blocks to visit Loch Raven, Sept. 9.

"That should be a good game," Johnson said.

St. Paul's

2010 record: 6-3

Returning starters (offense): 7

Returning starters (defense): 6

First game: Sept. 2, 4 p.m., Perry Hall

Fast fact: 2008 St. Paul's graduate Troy Jones is a backup quarterback for the University of Maryland. He played at Kiski School in Pennsylvania and the University of Connecticut before transferring to College Park.

Key to success: The Crusaders will have to beat their elite B Conference rivals to a have better shot of reaching the championship game. They lost to Archbishop Curley by eight points, eventual champ Archbishop Spalding by seven and archrival Boys' Latin by 16 last year.

Breakdown: If the Crusaders continue to make the same kind of progress this season that they did the last two years, coach Paul Bernstorf's team could be in the running for a title.

St. Paul's improved from 3-6 to 6-3 last year — and the Crusaders expect to take another step forward in 2011.

Bernstorf will rely heavily again on an aggressive 4-3 defense, which gave up only 90 points last year and is well-stocked with proven veterans this season.

Depth and experience are the name of the game in the front four with seniors Hunter Lee (6-2, 291). AJ Koi Koi (6-0, 200) and junior Ben Linkous (5-9, 200) back for another season.

Nobody is happier to see the bigger bodies up front than two linebackers: Will Ensor (5-7, 180) and Travis Wood (5-11, 180).

The return of junior safety Dale Harris (5-10, 180), junior corner back Teddie Martinez (6-0, 165) and senior cornerback London Fitzhugh (5-7, 170) are more reasons for Bernstorf to feel optimistic.

The Crusaders should get plenty of productivity from senior quarterback Spencer Parks (5-10, 175) running the spread offense.

"He is a phenomenal athlete and very well respected by his peers for temperament and presence on the field," Bernstorf said.

St. Paul's graduated leading rusher Taylor Michel, but Harris could be spectacular as his replacement.

"I would be surprised if he wasn't one of the best players in all of Maryland," Bernstorf said. "He is getting a lot of interest from colleges. Last year, he was coming off a foot injury right before the season and this year he has worked his butt off."

Lee and senior Will Rego (5-10, 240) lead an improved offensive line.

Martinez and Fitzhugh are the most proven receivers.


2010 record: 6-4

Returning starters (offense): 8

Returning starters (defense): 7

First game: Sept. 3, vs. Dundalk, 1 p.m.

Fast fact: Towson has been close to qualifying for the Class 3A playoffs in each of the last two seasons, missing by a game in 2009 and two contests last year.

Key to success: Whether the Generals finally make it to the postseason depends on how they play late in the season. "They don't like the way things ended last year," Towson coach Scott Mathena says of season-ending losses to Catonsville and Overlea. "The seniors kind of packed it in."

Breakdown: Mathena wants to start throwing the football more. So he changed the offense to a shotgun wing-T.

"Last year, we didn't throw the ball enough. This year, we will have a balanced attack."

Senior Bennett Okoro's passing abilities at quarterback excite Mathena. Okoro will replace senior MJ Preston, who moves to running back.

"He is almost like a Michael Vick-type," Mathena adds about Okoro. "He can throw on the run. We can put him in the shotgun, where he can take off running if he gets in trouble."

Towson's group of receivers — Preston, senior tight end Tim Jarosinski (6-3, 230), senior split end Daniel McGovern (5-11, 170), junior wing back Eric Ukandu (5-11, 165) and junior split end Sid McNairy (5-10, 155) — could be the strong suit of the offense.

"We have five guys that can legitimately catch the football," Mathena said.

Towson operated with the tandem of running backs Michael Obineme (1,280 yards, 16 TDs) and Damon Jones (800 yards) last year, but Preston, juniors DeSean Dowing (5-11, 165), James Frieson (5-10, 170), Aaron Slaughter (5-11, 160) and Ukandu all could share the load this fall.

Mathena is counting on the experienced offensive line of seniors Lorenzo Moore (5-10, 255), Eric Dickson (6-1, 225), Freddy Taylor (5-10, 230), Matt Stairs (5-10, 210), Paul Enderson (6-3, 280) and junior Nate Nenortas (6-0, 180) to help Towson keep up its rushing supremacy.

The Generals are stockpiled with talent along the defensive line, including senior Azubuike Ukandu (6-3, 285), a three-year starter at tackle and the player to watch on the line. He recorded 15 sacks and forced three fumbles last year.

"If he has a good year, he should be in the running for all-state," Mathena said. "He is being recruited by Maryland, Boston College and Villanova."

Ukandu will be joined by senior Moore, Jarosinski and Nenortas (6-0, 180).

At linebacker, Preston and Stairs are the playmakers.

Okoro and McGovern, juniors cornerbacks Slaughter and McNairy and safety Eric Ukandu) are likely to see plenty of playing time in the secondary.

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