Bean feeds off playing 'D' 'BLTs' a specialty for St. Paul's star

Teammates first began calling him "The Beaner," because of his last name, but now they use it to describe his vicious tackles.

And when Shawn Bean, St. Paul's best defensive football player, says he leads the team in BLTs, he's not talking about sandwiches.


The 6-foot-3, 210-pound lineman has 36 behind-the-line-tackles, or BLTs, which is coach Mitch Tullai's way of monitoring his progress.

"He plays anchor-end -- a combination of defensive end and defensive tackle. It's the most difficult position in our defense," said Tullai, 64, who is in his 40th season.


"He's got great strength and reaction ability and pulls a kind of double duty. He has the leverage for pass reading and doesn't let the passer roll out or option. In our basic split-six defense, he plays the strong side or wherever we think the offense is going to go."

Which is nowhere in most cases.

The 13th-ranked Crusaders (9-0, 7-0), who have outscored their opponents, 284-21, posted their sixth shutout Friday, 13-0, over Boys' Latin in a game that featured two goal-line stands.

Bean's 10 tackles included six solo and four BLTs and helped the Crusaders secure their fourth straight Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference title. He raised his season total to 87 tackles, including 64 solo, with a fumble recovery and an interception.

"It's not very often that he misses a tackle," said defensive end Joey Unitas, who plays behind Bean in the Crusaders' 5-2 formation.

"We've played together for two years, and we can tell pretty much what the other guy's going to do."

Bean, 17, shows a knack for rising to the occasion in big games.

In the Crusaders' 45-0 shutout of Southwestern -- Tullai's 200th career victory -- he had six BLTs, including two sacks and a safety.


"We don't have a homecoming, but I was really fired up. So with the crowd that was there, that was as close as you can get," said Bean. "I was really feeling comfortable about what I was doing and with my ability to get the job done."

A week later against Severn -- which shared last year's C Conference title with St. Paul's -- the Crusaders faced the area's seventh-leading rusher in Jamand Mack (1,041 yards, 13 touchdowns).

Mack was held to just 30 yards on 15 carries, with Bean getting eight tackles, including seven solo, two BLTs and a fumble recovery.

OC "Running, passing, pitchouts, gimmick plays -- we saw it all in

that game. But what I remember most was our goal-line stand when they had first-and-goal at the 1 with three minutes left," said Bean.

"Mack is one the area's best runners and Brad Fowler is one of the best quarterbacks. But we kept Mack running east and west and there was always one of our blue jerseys near him."


As a tri-captain with linebacker Steve Karvounis and running back Ben Strutt, Bean, a junior, likes calling the shots on defense.

"I knew, as the anchor-end, you have a lot of responsibility, like switching defenses at the line," said Bean, "And when the offense comes your way, you've gotta make the tackles."

When he's not demonstrating his version of gridlock on opponents, Bean maintains a 3.1 grade-point average and holds the office of student council president.

Bean chose to repeat his junior season to improve his grades. He retains another year of football eligibility because MSA rules permit an athlete to play four varsity seasons and Bean played on a 6-1 junior varsity squad as a freshman.

Since then, however, he's about 40 pounds heavier and has much more experience.

"He's a leader by example on and off of the field," said Tullai. "As hard-working a kid as we've ever had and he's got a lot of potential."


Tullai recognized that potential during Bean's sophomore season only his second year of organized football -- and made him a starter the last three games.

In his junior year, Bean blossomed on both sides of the ball. At season's end, he was the Crusaders' second-leading tackler behind Troy Thinglestad, who earned first-team All-Metro honors.

"I learned a lot about team effort last year," said Bean. "I learned that I can never be a franchise player or be into myself."

Said Tullai: "He's really gotten into the weight room and built himself up. I think he's got a solid future ahead of him."