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McDaniel's Perry Stefanelli gets the ball from quarterback Will Koester in the Green Terror's season opener vs. Catholic Sept. 2 in Westminster.
McDaniel's Perry Stefanelli gets the ball from quarterback Will Koester in the Green Terror's season opener vs. Catholic Sept. 2 in Westminster. (Bill Ryan / For Carroll County Times)

Football runs deep in the Stefanelli family.

Andy Stefanelli, the patriarch of the family, played as an offensive lineman at McDaniel College, then Western Maryland College. His oldest son Andrew had a successful career as a fullback at the University of Maryland.

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Now, Perry, the middle of three brothers, is carrying on the family tradition. He's a redshirt senior running back at McDaniel.

Perry admits he wouldn't be where he is without the help of his brother and father.

"He has been my coach my whole life," he said of his father, who is head coach at Good Counsel in Olney after working as a freshmen and junior varsity coach for 10 years. "He has taught me a lot. Growing up, I always had my brother to watch. It was easy to watch him and go out and do it myself."

Andrew (5-feet-9, 236 pounds) made the Terrapins as a walk-on and had one advantage over Perry — size.

But Perry is very fast.

"He has Division I speed," McDaniel running backs coach Nate Marr said of Perry, who is 5-5, 170. "His quickness and his ability to get in and out of his cuts (are major assets). You don't see a lot of players at this level with his athletic ability. He is a Division I athlete who is a little shorter.

"If he were a few inches taller, he would probably be playing at Maryland with his brother instead of at McDaniel.".

Perry opened this season with an eye-catching game.

Perry Stefanelli gets a lift from Taylor Wagner after scoring for McDaniel in football season opener in Westminster.
Perry Stefanelli gets a lift from Taylor Wagner after scoring for McDaniel in football season opener in Westminster. (Bill Ryan / For Carroll County Times)

He rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries to lead McDaniel to a 30-10 win over Catholic University on Saturday.

"We ran the ball early and often," Marr said. "Perry proved he can handle the load and a lot of his carries came in the first half. He deserves a lot of credit. He worked his tail off all week."

Stefanelli has high expectations for the final nine games.

The Green Terror start Centennial Conference play Sept. 8 at Moravian College in Pennsylvania.

"I am not going to be disappointed if I don't get a 1,000 yards (this season), but it's a good goal to have," Stefanelli said. "If I get a 1,000, that is an indication our offense is producing and allowing me to produce."

Last season, Stefanelli, a Rockville resident and Good Counsel graduate, rushed for a team-high 632 yards and two touchdowns on 121 carries. He's had a bigger role in McDaniel's offense every season, having totaled 313 yards as a sophomore after being limited to two games and 11 yards as a freshman because of a broken ankle.

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"He runs hard for a guy who is not big and physical in stature," McDaniel coach Mike Dailey said. "He has great vision and very quick side to side."

Stefanelli can do more than just run the football. He earned all-conference honors for his play on special teams.

Stefanelli averaged 9.2 yards on 17 punt returns and 19.8 yards on 29 kickoff returns.

"That's something we have been a little hesitant this year because he is taking on such a demanding role in our offense," Marr said.

When it comes to football, Stefanelli's family is never far from his mind. He loves knowing his brother and father come watch him play.

The youngest brother, Jackson, a sophomore wide receiver at Good Counsel, also attends McDaniel games.

"My father never really put pressure on us to play," said Stefanelli, a kinesiology major who carries a 3.8 grade point average. "When we were younger, we would always watch Redskins games. We would plop down next to him and watch them with him. And he would throw the ball to us in the yard. Football came pretty naturally to both of us."

tworgo@baltsun.com

410-857-7896

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