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Lean times, brawny leader


Mount Hebron's Jeremy Desor does a lot of things well.

He's ranked No. 8 in his class. He most likely will play lacrosse at Dartmouth, Penn or Bucknell. And, although he plays linebacker and offensive guard, he is his football team's fastest player. He's also its all-time leading tackler.

At a practice earlier this season, when the Vikings were feeling good about two rare consecutive victories, Mount Hebron quarterback John Smith bantered with his teammates about challenging Desor as they lined up to run a sprint.

"I want him today," shouted Smith. And everyone laughed a bit as they all lined up. Smith pushed off to gain an edge on Desor as the sprint began, but Desor recovered in time to nip Smith.

To show his kind of desire, loyalty and leadership toward a team that has experienced hard times in recent years says a lot about Desor. The Vikings were 2-26 during his first 28 games.

"It would be easy to quit," said Desor. "But I love playing football. I like being out here."

Desor, a two-year captain, is a combination of brains and brawn. He calls the defensive signals and bench-presses 260 pounds.

At 200 pounds, the 6-foot-2 Desor is a little light for the offensive tackle position he played last season, so first-year head coach Bill Winder moved him to guard. There, Desor's quickness makes up for lack of size.

"He's the heart and soul of the team. Success means a lot to him," said Winder. "He could play Division I-AA football if he wanted to. He'll be our scholar-athlete nominee [at the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Dinner] this season, and I hope he has a good chance of winning something."

His academic credentials are glitzy -- a 3.89 GPA and a 1,420 Scholastic Assessment Test score.

But the number of career tackles is equally impressive -- 262 in his first three seasons, 134 of them solos. Few players enter their senior season as their school's all-time leading tackler. Desor did.

He also had four interceptions and two fumble recoveries during those three seasons.

This season Desor has 39 tackles and has caused two fumbles. He also scored on a 25-yard interception against Harford Tech.

Linebacker, center and quad-captain Billy McHale hangs out with Desor on weekends when they like to listen to hard rock, especially White Zombie.

"Everyone follows Jeremy because he's been on the team for four years, has the tackle record and he never messes up our defensive calls," said McHale.

Mount Hebron has a history of winning lacrosse, almost capturing a state title last season. And with four lacrosse players on the football team, Desor said he hopes that some of that winning attitude will carry over to football this season. So far the Vikings are 2-2.

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