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Bell latest Cavaliers star to reach Carroll HOF

Bell
Bell (Submitted Photo)

When he heard he had been selected for this year's Carroll County Sports Hall of Fame class, Warren Bell said he reached out to three people as soon as he could.

The first was Ken Parker, Bell's football coach at South Carroll. Next was Jim Carnes, Bell's high school basketball coach. And third was Mike Landry, Bell's childhood friend and high school teammate.

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"And that was before I even called my house," said Bell, who starred in three sports for the Cavaliers and went on to play college football at East Carolina — and against his buddy Landry.

Bell shined in football, basketball, and track and field at SC, and that doesn't include his success in baseball at the Little League level. Bell recalls leading Sykesville in home runs as an eighth-grader, but moving over to play in Winfield so he could team with Landry. The union continued in high school, where Bell played multiple positions in football and helped lead the Cavs to a 9-2 record in 1988 and a playoff berth (Carroll wouldn't have a postseason team for another 12 years).

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Bell scored a touchdown playing four different positions, earned all-county and all-conference honors on defense, and flashed his speed whenever possible. When basketball started, Bell said the players who were coming from the football team might not have been ready at the beginning of the season. It showed, he said, in a opening loss to Atholton.

South Carroll didn't lose again, however, until the Class 3A state championship game against Potomac, and went 24-2. Bell, who posted highs of 20 points and 14 rebounds during the season, is credited with being the first Carroll County athlete to dunk at Cole Field House when he jammed on Potomac, which ran away with the state crown.

"Basketball was an incredible time," Bell said. "We had a tremendous team. To me, we probably had the best team Carroll County has ever had. We had athletes, and Coach Carnes made us play hard against each other in practice. And that's how we played in the games, we played hard."

Bell kept using his speed — as a cornerback in football he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds — in the spring and as a senior he ran a leg on SC's county champion 400 and 800 relay squads. Bell won the 100 dash county title as a junior, which capped a standout 1987-88 school year for him.

It also weighed on Bell's conscience going into his senior year.

"I kind of felt pressure, like, man, will I be able to top this year?" Bell said. "It was gut-wrenching, honestly. But everything worked out."

Bell graduated in 1989 and earned a football scholarship to Fairmont State, then made the switch to East Carolina in 1991 and saw time as a linebacker and special teams player. That's where he wound up playing against South Carolina, and facing his friend Landry.

"Two guys from little ol' hick Sykesville, Carroll County," Bell said. "We laughed about that."

Bell, 42, lives in Austin, Texas, and works as a distribution supervisor for Oak Farms Dairy. He also volunteers his time with young athletes in his area, speaking to them about the dangers of drugs an alcohol. Bell said he wants kids to have a chance to succeed, like he did.

And Bell doesn't mind letting his feelings be known on the abundance of talent coming from South Carroll's Class of 1989 — he'll be joining Landry, and Parker, in the Hall this weekend.

"I had the best teammates in the world," Bell said. "And they were my best friends, on and off the field. That was definitely the best time of my life. To represent that Class of 1989 ... I dare you to find a class better than that one."

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410-857-7894

Hall of Fame ceremony

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

Where: Carroll Community College

For tickets: 410-848-9095

2015 class: Warren Bell, Katie Chrest Erbe, Bryan Harman, Kaye Kolb, Amber Falcone McKenzie, Troy Warehime

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