PLAYERS OF THE YEAR OFFENSE -- Greg Kyler, Poly, Sr., RB -- Superprep's preseason report on Kyler: "For pure speed, this guy is way out there." As the area's most exciting offensive player, Kyler (6 feet 2, 175 pounds) had an area-leading 29 touchdowns on 1,390 rushing yards and 432 receiving yards on 22 receptions. Most importantly, he was a clutch player. Top-ranked Poly trailed, 6-0, in a regular-season game against Lake Clifton before Kyler's 283 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns led the Engineers to a 37-6 victory. His 24-yard touchdown reception with 25 seconds left lifted the Engineers over then-No. 1 City, 21-20, in a game in which Kyler also rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown. His second touchdown in the 3A state title game against Seneca Valley put the Engineers ahead, 12-9, with 7:35 left in an eventual 15-12 loss. Kyler ended the game with 159 of Poly's 194 rushing yards. A 4.3-second 40-yard--- runner who has satisfied NCAA requirements for freshman eligibility, Kyler is considering "at least a dozen schools," said coach Augie Waibel. They include Miami, UCLA, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Penn State and Maryland.
DEFENSE -- Lamar King, Chesapeake-BC, Sr., LB -- King has averaged 80 tackles since starting his first year as a freshman, boosting this year's Bayhawks to an 8-2 record and a No. 15 ranking with 95 solo tackles. Despite standing 6-4 and weighing 235 pounds, he has excellent lateral pursuit thanks to 4.6 40-yard -- speed, which contributes to his ferocious hits. King, who returned a fumble recovery 60 yards for a touchdown, also intercepted three passes and has a 3-foot vertical leap. "He is by far the best that I have seen at that position. No one could control him," said coach Rick Zentz. Listed among the state's top 30 players during the preseason by The Poop Sheet, King is considering Syracuse, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Virginia Tech and Rutgers.
@COACH OF THE YEAR Stanley Mitchell, Dunbar -- Mitchell successfully guided the Poets through a turbulent season. Pete Pompey led the Poets to a runner-up finish in last year's Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference, but was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the state's attorney's office into alleged misuse of athletic funds. Mitchell, hired as interim coach before the first day of practice, and his players often were greeted by Pompey supporters at games and practices early on -- some trying to discourage players from participating. But the players remained with Mitchell, who was true to a strict work ethic and wove the veterans and the newcomers together through a 9-3 season. The Poets were ranked as high as No. 5 in the metro area, losing only to No. 1 Poly, No. 3 Southern and former No. 13 Forest Park. Dunbar qualified for the 2A state playoffs as the eighth seed, and upset then-unbeaten and No. 4-ranked Overlea, 22-10, the top seed, in the quarterfinals before losing to eventual runner-up Southern-Anne Arundel in the semifinal.
FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE * Robert Arthur, Forest Park, Sr., RB -- Arthur (5-10, 178) faced a schedule perhaps tougher than any area rusher, including No. 5 Gilman, No. 4 City, No. 7 Dunbar, No. 9 Patterson and 2A state semifinalist Cambridge. Yet the 4.4 speedster amassed 1,206 yards and 13 touchdowns and scored 66 of his team's 126 points. Hampton, Bowie, Morgan and Maryland have expressed interest.
* Than'l Badder, Gilman, Sr., C -- At 6-2, 204, he was "an excellent center," says coach Sherm Bristow of this two-way lineman who relied on his powerful legs and arms. Badder, who probably is headed for Duke, was chosen as a center for the MSA team in this year's All-Star game against Baltimore County. He was also the Greyhounds' second-leading tackler with 120 (58 solo), including 15 for losses, three sacks and a fumble recovery.
* Dennis Badham, McDonogh, Jr., WR -- Opposing coaches often designed their defenses around Badham (5-10, 175), one of many weapons for the No. 2-ranked Eagles. He had 73 receptions for 1,654 yards and 17 touchdowns over two seasons. This season, Badham still caught 31 passes for 761 yards and eight touchdowns, rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns and returned punts for touchdowns of 63 and 65 yards. He also had four interceptions.
* Dwight Banks, City, Sr., WR -- The No. 4 Knights have gone 29-2 in Banks' three seasons, during which he had 92 receptions for 1,942 yards and 22 touchdowns. A second-team All-Metro pick last year, Banks' 4.4-second 40-yard -- speed led to 43 receptions for 902 yards and a career-high 13 touchdowns this year, leading the Knights to a 3A state playoff appearance. Listed among the nation's top 10 receivers by Prep Football Report and ranked among the nation's top Division I prospects by Athlon Football Magazine, Banks is a 3.0 student being recruited by Penn State, Michigan, Syracuse, Maryland and
* Joe Brown, Poly, Sr., OL -- At 5-11, 287 pounds, Brown is perhaps the area's best pure blocker for the area's best scoring threat -- Greg Kyler. Brown, who runs a 5.1 40-yard --, has quick feet and also was among the team's top defensive players when called upon. He was a first-team All-City pick and a second-team All-Metro selection last season. Miami, Wake Forest, Towson State and Virginia Tech are after him.
* Ricky Dangerfield, City, Sr., RB -- Although only 5-6 and 160 pounds, Dangerfield's 4.4-second 40-yard -- speed enabled him to hit the holes and cover ground quickly for 1,130 yards and 13 touchdowns. An A student, Dangerfield is considering Bowie State, Allegheny (Pa.) College and Johns Hopkins.
* Mark Franklin, Perry Hall, Sr., RB -- A durable, strong inside runner, Franklin (5-8, 205) is also fleet of foot if he gets outside. He led the No. 8 Gators by rushing for over 1,000 yards for the second straight season, this time for 18 touchdowns on 1,010 yards to lead the Gators to the 4A state semifinals.
* Josh Katz, Pikesville, Sr., TE -- Katz (6-3, 215) set a school record for career receptions with 114. He caught 43 passes for 628 yards and seven touchdowns and also averaged 40 yards per punt.
* Mike Knoedler, Overlea, Sr., OL -- Coach Terry Ward calls Knoedler (6-3, 260) "the best center Overlea has ever had." Knoedler, a repeat All-City/County pick, blocked for quarterback Bernard Fitchette (903 yards passing, 586 rushing) and running back Kenyon Crawford (1,212 rushing) and "is intelligent, aggressive and a great long snapper." Nebraska, Maryland and Catholic are after Knoedler.
* Xzavier Logan, City, Sr., OL -- This three-year starter is 6-1, 260, and knows how to position himself, whether pass or rush blocking. He also can level an opponent defensively, where he had 93 tackles (27 solo), three fumble recoveries and an interception. His college considerations -- Morgan, Bowie and Howard -- can get a better look at him in this weekend's All-Star game between the MSA and Baltimore County.
* Stacey Plater, Patterson, Sr., WR -- Plater was the No. 10 Clippers' receiving leader during his three years as a starter, with 1,259 yards and 16 touchdowns for his career. Plater, a 4.5 40-yard -- sprinter, caught 40 passes for 454 yards and nine touchdowns, splitting time as a safety, where he had 56 tackles and six interceptions. He also returned a punt for a touchdown as Patterson reached the 4A state quarterfinals. East Carolina is getting high consideration from among many college choices.
Derrick Player, Dunbar, Sr., OL -- A second-team All-Metro selection last year, Player (6-5, 325) began the season listed in several scouting reports, including Street & Smith's, as one of the state's top Division I prospects. Though he anchored the No. 7 Poets' line both ways, coach Stanley Mitchell feels he'll get even better at either Tennessee, Syracuse, Boston College,
UCLA, USC, Georgia Tech, Virginia or Maryland.
* Bobby Sabelhaus, McDonogh, Jr., QB -- Sabelhaus -- a second-team All-Metro last year -- stands 6-6 and weighs 220. Despite being under more pressure this season, his numbers (94 of 163, 1,908 yards and 19 touchdowns) surpassed last year's (117 of 209, 1,925, 14). The Eagles (9-0) also went from third place (7-3) to first in the MSA A Conference.
* Brian Scott, Poly, Sr., K -- Scott was 25-of-27 on extra-point kicks and averaged 42 yards per punt. Scott (6-3, 200) was also among his team's best defenders at end, producing an interception and a blocked punt -- the latter leading to a 12-9 lead in an eventual 15-12 loss to Seneca Valley in the 3A state title game.
FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE * Shawn Bean, St. Paul's, Sr., DL -- As the defensive signal-caller for the 14th-ranked, MSA B Conference co-champs, Bean averaged eight tackles (six solo) per game, including 27 tackles for losses and 14 sacks. An All-Metro performer last season, Bean (6-3, 215) this year anchored a squad that outscored its opponents, 237-20, with seven shutouts. He is being pursued by Wake Forest, Southern Methodist University and Johns Hopkins.
Jamie Biddison, Gilman, Sr., LB -- Last year's City/County Defensive Player of the Year, Biddison (5-11, 190) overcame an early-season knee injury to amass 132 tackles (78 solo) with 25 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. An All-Metro pick last year, Biddison this year had six sacks and an interception and caused two fumbles for the No. 3 Greyhounds. Biddison likely will study medicine at Wake Forest.
* Taurance Bishop, Dunbar, Sr., DL -- As the Poets' third-leading tackler (78, with 58 solo), Bishop (6-2, 220) was a force with a team-leading 15 sacks. It is likely that he'll attend either Frostburg or Morgan State.
* Jason Bloom, Perry Hall, Jr., P -- Bloom (6-3, 170) showed why he was chosen as a second-team All-Metro last year with an area-best 49.9-yard average over 10 attempts. Bloom also went 14-of-17 on extra-point kicks and booted an area-best 45-yard field goal. He was 4-of-6 on field goals, with others from 37, 31 and 28 yards.
* Peter Bogue, Gilman, Sr., DB -- An excellent open-field tackler with good size (6-3, 180) and speed, Bogue ranked third in tackles (107, 46 solo), had three interceptions, recovered three fumbles and blocked a punt and a point-after kick. He also caught 13 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He likely will attend Yale.
* Shawnte Dukes, Overlea, Sr., DB -- Dukes, also a Division I basketball prospect, was among the team's best athletes. He had 10 interceptions, using his 4.5 speed in the 40 to return one for a 33-yard touchdown. Dukes (5-8, 160) also rushed 13 times for 238 yards and a touchdown, subbed as a quarterback, and had 141 receiving yards for a touchdown. Penn State and Virginia are considerations.
* Rashad Kitchen, Poly, Sr., DL -- At 6-foot, 195, Kitchen has excellent lateral pursuit, range and field vision, which forced most opposing offenses to run inside. With a team-leading 14 sacks, Kitchen led an Engineers' squad that allowed fewer than five points a game with four shutouts. Kitchen is being pursued by Temple, Maryland, East Carolina, Penn State, West Virginia, South Carolina, Towson State, Delaware State and Delaware.
Mike Layden, McDonogh, Sr., LB -- Layden (6-3, 205) led the team in tackles for the second straight year, had four sacks, three fumble recoveries and three blocked punts, forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes. Layden maintains an A average as an honors' course student and "is being recruited by just about all the Ivy League schools," said coach Mike Working.
* Sean Lipscomb, Dunbar, Sr., DB -- Lipscomb (6-0, 170) rarely left the field during a game. He was the Poets' fourth-leading tackler with 77 (56 solo) and an area-high 12 interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Lipscomb also had a city/county-high 47 catches for 842 yards and seven touchdowns and averaged 43 yards on kickoff returns, two of which were for touchdowns. This 4.4-second 40---er has Iowa, Delaware and Ohio State interested in him.
* Tommy Polley, Dunbar, Soph., LB -- A second-team All-City/County pick as a freshman with over 80 tackles and 10 sacks last year, Polley (6-4, 190) surpassed that effort as the team's top tackler with 94 (66 solo) and as the Poets' hardest hitter with 14 sacks (24 for his career). He also intercepted five passes and -- as a tight end -- caught 28 passes for 479 yards and two touchdowns.
* Jonny Sawyer, Dunbar, Sr., DB -- A tireless hustler who rarely left the field, Sawyer had 60 tackles (40 solo) and eight interceptions. Sawyer (5-9, 160) also had a team-high 16 touchdowns, ranking second in the city/county area with 1,277 rushing yards and 531 punt-return yards. Charlotte Southern (S.C.) and the Delaware have expressed interest.
* Sebastian Smothers, Poly, Jr., DL -- A speedy attacker, Smothers (5-9, 218) was the Engineers' second-leading tackler and consistently stuffed runners up the middle as either a nose guard or tackle.
* Dwayne Stukes, McDonogh, Jr., DB -- Stukes had 92 tackles (44 solo), five interceptions and five forced fumbles. A second-team All-City/County performer last year, Stukes has nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons, with 13 touchdowns, 691 rushing yards and 258 receiving yards this season. A 4.4 speedster at 5-10, 176, Stukes
averaged 18.2 yards per punt return this year.
James Whiting, City, Sr., DL -- Coach George Petrides was happy to receive this Gilman transfer, who had 59 tackles, including 12 sacks. He is a solidly built 6-3, 240-pounder who scored nearly 1,200 on the Scholastic Assessment Test. He has received feelers from Pittsburgh, Frostburg and Bowie State.