Player of the Year
Aaron Thompson, Mount St. Joseph, senior: nior: The 6-foot-1, 200-pound transfer from Forest Park runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. He finished the year with an area-leading 314 carries, 2,325 yards and 37 touchdowns over 10 games (average of 31.4 carries, 232.5 yards, 3.7 touchdowns). His single-season yardage has him second (behind McDonough's Sherron Gudger, 2,741, 1991) in the state all-time, and his single-season touchdowns tie him for the area lead with Randallstown's Larry Washington (1990) -- two shy of the state record held by Cambridge's Skeeter Nichols (1979). Thompson's average yards per game (232.5) shatters the state record set last year by Mount St. Joseph graduate Archie Wannamaker (216.4 yards). Thompson's seven touchdowns in a 55-48 victory over Liberty tied a state single-game record. "When we ran the straight up [the middle] plays, we'd open the holes and he'd just hit them so fast," said right guard Ben Dyer, whose team won its third straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown. "He's got the ability to shake-and-bake you, but he can also just drop the shoulder. He's the type of runner you just want to sit back and watch. Sometimes, you're like, 'How did he do that?'"
First team -- offense
Chris Barnes, Poly, sophomore, WR: A year after becoming one of the few freshmen to start for the Engineers, Barnes (6-1, 195) -- son of Forest Park coach Obie Barnes -- has responded with incredible efficiency (11 receptions, 289 yards, eight touchdowns) and game-breaking speed and agility. One of his best efforts came in a 26-20 loss to City, in which his 69-yard scoring reception put the Engineers up, 20-6.
Lance Clelland, McDonogh, senior, OL: Rated No. 15 nationally preseason by the National Recruiting Advisor, Clelland (6-6, 270) is being recruited by Boston College, Northwestern, Syracuse, Clemson, Tennessee and Virginia. He did not give up a sack all season, and, defensively, had 80 tackles (45 solo), five sacks and caused three fumbles. Clelland (3.0 GPA, 1,140 SAT) has orally committed to Northwestern.
Ali Culpepper, Dunbar, senior, RB: Culpepper (5-11, 205), a returning All-Metro, has 4.3-second speed in the 40, can bench press 260 pounds five times, and has rushed for 1,118 yards and 14 touchdowns in nine games. For his career, the four-year starter has 4,672 yards and 43 touchdowns. A 3.0 GPA and 940 SAT score have elicited full scholarship offers from Michigan State, Northwestern, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Duke.
Ben Dyer, Mount St. Joseph, senior, L: The 6-4, 275-pounder was one of just two returning starters to the offense, and was adept at pass protection, pulling and just plain blowing the holes open. "On fourth-and-one, we went right up his [position]," said Thompson. Dyer is considering Georgia, South Carolina, Syracuse and, also for wrestling, Lehigh.
Roger Evans, Hereford, junior, PK: Evans is 34 of 39 on extra-point kicks and has a 23-yard field goal. He's also punted 13 times for 549 yards (42.2 average), with his longest covering 70 yards. Evans (5-10, 185) also is a linebacker with 69 tackles (third on the team), two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Terril Lowery, Lake Clifton, senior, WR: Lowery (5-11, 185) has 28 receptions for 934 yards and nine touchdowns. The four-year starter has career totals of 109 receptions, 3,366 yards and 36 touchdowns. He is two shy of the career touchdown receptions mark set by McDonogh's Dennis Badham (1994), and has shattered by 488 yards Badham's career yardage mark (2,878). touchdowns
Lucas Phillips, Mount St. Joseph, senior, QB: Phillips was 96-of-191 for 1,752 yards and 12 touchdowns this year, surpassing the mark for career passing yards (5,826) with his 6,286, and that for career completions (348) with his 352. With the 6-3, 180-pound Phillips quarterbacking, the Gaels have won three straight MIAA A titles. Phillips is considering Tennessee, Maryland, Florida State, Virginia and Georgia.
Darnell Pearsall, Lake Clifton, junior, RB: This 4.5-second speedster is in the midst of his second straight 1,000-yard season with 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns. His career numbers are 2,600 yards and 20 touchdowns. Pearsall (5-9, 190), cousin to Lowery, had a career-high 242 yards and three touchdowns in last week's win over North County.
Taber Small, City, senior, RB: Rated among the region's best zTC preseason by The National Recruiting Adviser, Small (920 yards, 17 touchdowns) is fast (4.4 speed) and strong (a near 300-pound bench press). The 5-11, 190-pounder and four-year starter had his best games against Loyola (201 yard, three touchdowns) in a 27-7 rout, and Poly, when he entered late in the third period with City trailing, 20-6, and rushed 90 yards for two touchdowns to tie the game at 20. City won, 26-20.
Dahnel Singfield , Dunbar, junior, WR: The 6-foot, 160-pounder is a steady player for the Poets with 34 receptions for 571 yards and seven touchdowns. He's rushed for 477 yards and two touchdowns, and, as a defensive back, has six interceptions, five sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Warren Smith, City, junior, WR: Smith (6-3, 190 pounds) has 46 receptions for 851 yards and 10 touchdowns, with his best effort (10 receptions, 175 yards, three touchdowns) coming against Mount St. Joseph.
Kimball Payne, St. Paul's, senior, OL: Payne (6-2, 250), an A-plus student likely headed for Dartmouth or Brown to play football, "is a better blocker than [1994 All-Metro Brandon Bortner,]" and "called all the changes in blocking assignments," said coach Brian Abbott. Defensively, Payne had 83 tackles (20 behind scrimmage) and five sacks to help the Crusaders win their second straight MIAA B title with their 19th straight victory.
Chris Perkins, City, senior, OL: A three-year starter, Perkins (6-2, 286) was a steady and consistent blocker both on the run and the pass for Small and quarterback Michael Johnson (1,509 passing yards, 14 touchdowns). An excellent trap blocker who can pull, as well, Perkins is a Division I prospect.
Pat Stafford, Patterson, senior, OL: Another four-year starter with plenty of savvy as both a pass and run blocker, Stafford (6-4, 281) anchored the Clippers to a fourth straight City 4A title. "He had had 16 knockdowns, or pancakes, which means he basically just delivered the guy. He moves very well," said coach Roger Wrenn. Defensively, Stafford had 1 1/2 sacks.
The Baltimore Sun 1996 All-Baltimore City/County football team was selected by staff writer Lem Satterfield after consulting with The Sun staff and area coaches.
Pub Date: 11/22/96