Player of the Year
Rayvon Johnson, Annapolis, junior, running back: Johnson becomes just the second underclassman named Player of the Year for his offensive accomplishments and just the third Panther since the award began in 1980. Johnson (5 feet 10, 170 pounds) used his 4.4 speed to become the county's first 2,000-yard rusher with a record 2,060 yards in 11 games on 254 attempts. He also set the 10-game regular-season mark for rushing with 1,947 to break the record of 1,862 set by Meade's Tanardo Sharps last year. "It's pretty amazing Rayvon did what he did in his first year playing high school football," said coach Roy Brown. Johnson's 20 total TDs and 18 rushing TDs are both school records, as are his five 200-yard games (259 against Meade was his high). The five 200-yard games were one short of the county record by Sharps in '97. What would be a great game for a lot of backs, 113 yards rushing against Sherwood in the playoffs, was Johnson's season low. "And what a lot of people didn't realize is that he never came off the field because he was also an outstanding defensive back," said Brown. "He had one interception and never got beat on a pass play, always making the tackle." Johnson also ran back kicks and punts when opponents kicked his way. "It's hard to believe he has another year," said Arundel coach Bill Zucco.
First team at glance
Kyron Belt, Annapolis, senior, quarterback: back: Belt played quarterback as if he had been playing it all his career, when in fact, it was the first time. A running back his first two years, Belt filled a team need, showing the poise, confidence and leadership that a polished quarterback exhibits. Leading Annapolis to the 4A playoffs, Belt (6-foot-2, 175-pounds) completed 37 of 76 passes for 741 yards, 14 TDs and six interceptions. He also ran for 224 yards and seven touchdowns while guiding the offense to 33.4 points a game. Sherwood coach Bob Milloy, whose Warriors slipped by the Panthers, 17-7 in the Class 4A state quarterfinals said Belt "was really impressive and a gutty player." Doubling at defensive back, Belt averaged three tackles a game, knocked down six passes and intercepted three passes.
Dan Burke, Broadneck, senior, center: The county's most productive offensive unit was ignited by Burke. Burke (6-0, 240) was solid with his snaps and blocking, resulting in precision-like starts for the Bruins in their run-and-shoot/option attack. Burke prevented opposing nose guards from penetrating.
Marvin Charles, Annapolis, junior, tight end: One of five first-team juniors, Charles (6-1, 175) emerged as one of the county's most feared receivers with his soft hands, leaping ability and speed. Charles only caught 14 passes in 11 games, but nobody got more out of their receptions. He had a county best 34.8 yards per catch in the regular season and 30.9 overall (433 yards) with seven catches going for touchdowns. "Marvin is one of the best receivers we've had, " said coach Brown. "He never drops passes, not even in practice."
Nick Dewind, Severna Park, senior, tackle: le: A huge force at 6-4 and 290 pounds in the trenches on both sides of the ball, Dewind's forte was opening holes for Falcon running backs and sealing off would-be tacklers. On defense, he was in on over 30 tackles with two sacks. He was hampered by several nagging injuries, including two bad shoulders most of the season. "His peers voted him the No. 1 captain," said coach J. P. Hines. "He also received our team's outstanding lineman award and a new award, the Andy Borland Leadership Award."
Lehrman Dotson, Broadneck, senior, all-purpose: An All-County and All-Metro wide receiver as a junior when he set a school record for touchdown receptions (14), Dotson caught 13 passes for three TDs in his first five games this season before moving to quarterback in the sixth game. Dotson (6-1, 170) also punted, played some defensive back and ran back kicks. At quarterback, he added another dimension with his ability to run the option, scoring eight TDs and throwing for five more in completing 43 of 91 passes for 688 yards and two interceptions. Dotson also averaged 32.2 yards on 32 punts and intercepted one pass.
Charles Gaither, North County, senior, wide receiver: Another in the long line of outstanding receivers to come out of the Knights' run-and-shoot attack, Gaither (5-9, 150) led the county in receptions (47). He agained 388 receiving yards with five of his catches going for TDs despite playing just seven games. With quickness and good hands, Gaither caught 65 passes in two seasons for the Knights (3-7).
Andrew Halton, Annapolis, junior, place-kicker: Halton was practically automatic on extra-point attempts, converting 44 of 47. The 44 PATs tied the county record set by Broadneck's Brooks Barnard last year and is the fourth-highest in state history. Halton's strong foot often boomed kickoffs deep or into the end zone. He also averaged 33 yards a punt.
Otis James, North County, senior, running back: Moving up from second team All- County as a junior to first team this fall, James had the county's third highest rushing yardage (1,238) to finish his two-year career with a school record 2,364 yards. James (5-10, 165) only scored five TDs as a junior, but scored 12 this season and averaged 7.5 yards a carry with his quick feet and elusive moves.
Dave Lazzari, Broadneck, senior, center: Lazzari was Martel Threadgill's escort, using his 6-4, 220-pound frame to move opponents out of the way. With a quick first step, Lazzari was a powerful blocker for three varsity seasons for the Bruins and was practically immovable when pass blocking.
Martel Threadgill, Broadneck, senior, running back: ning back: Threadgill finished his four-year varsity career as the county's all-time leading rusher with 3,996 yards -- 1,913 this season. Threadgill (5-8, 175) set a county record for TDs in a season (28). Threadgill had a county second-best 52 career TDs and a county career fourth-best 312 points. His best game this season was 248 yards and four TDs rushing against Gwynn Park, and he had a school record 91-yard touchdown run.
Eric Toney, Annapolis, senior, guard: A two-year starter at guard and linebacker, Toney (6-0, 190) was extremely quick off the ball as the Panthers' pulling guard. "Eric also kick-started the bootlegs [quarterback] Kyron [Belt] ran and sprung Rayvon [Johnson] for a load of long runs, " said coach Brown.
Toney Twitty, Old Mill, senior, running back: Injuries prevented Twitty (5-11, 180) from playing a full 10-game schedule. He still rushed for 1,092 yards and nine TDs on 141 attempts. Twitty, second team All-County in 1997, rushed for 2,004 yards and 24 TDs his last two years.
Brandon White, Old Mill, senior, wide receiver: A second-team pick last season, White (5-11, 160) had 23 receptions for eight TDs and a school record 530 yards. A three-year starter at defensive back for the Patriots (5-5), White scored two defensive TDs. In his past two seasons, White has caught 48 passes for 1,013 yards and 11 TDs.
Rashad Wills, Annapolis, senior, tackle: After backing up All-County lineman John Paul Williams for two years, Wills (6-2, 235) showed he was more than a big body. "We ran a lot to his side [left] because he's so quick and a great down blocker on sweeps, " said coach Brown.
Player of the Year
David Wagner, Severna Park, junior, linebacker: When Offensive Player of the Year Rayvon Johnson was asked who was the toughest defensive player he played against, without hesitation, answered, "That No. 55 from Severna Park, he lit me up a couple times." Johnson was talking about Wagner, the Falcons' hard-hitting middle linebacker. Recipient of the Falcons' Most Outstanding Player Award, Wagner (6 feet 2, 215 pounds) led the team in tackles (111, 30 solo), had three sacks and a fumble recovery in nine games. On the other side of the ball, Wagner, a co-captain, was a bruising blocker coming out of the backfield. "David is a bluechipper who can play big-time division I if he is willing to work for it," said coach J. P. Hines. Wagner is very strong and quick and is one of those players who has that presence which intimidates.
First team at glance
Jack Brooks, Annapolis, senior, lineman: A bruising tackler with scary quickness for his size (6-3, 220), Brooks sparkled both ways, at defensive end and tight end. He averaged five tackles a game, knocked down five passes and had six sacks as an integral part of a defensive unit that yielded only nine points a game in the regular season. "Jack was very hard to block and was a great pass rusher," said coach Roy Brown. At tight end, Brooks was a textbook blocker and big-play man with four of his eight catches going for TDs.
Jeff Blachly, Arundel, senior, linebacker: Coach Bill Zucco ranks Blachly (6-1, 210) in a class with linebacker Jon Norsworthy (1995 Defensive Player of the Year) and 1995 All-County defensive back Jamie Doffermyre, who plays at Navy. Blachly punished opposing ball carriers, leading the Wildcats (5-5) in tackles (110), and had three sacks. "When it comes to hitting and leadership, Jeff is in the same class as Jon and Jamie," said Zucco.
Charles Carter, Annapolis, senior, lineman: man: Outstanding on both sides of the ball, Carter (6-4, 210) averaged seven tackles a game, knocked down six passes and led the Panthers in sacks (eight). Coach Brown called him a "big-play man." Carter's size and first-step drive also made him one of the county's best blockers at offensive tackle.
Tyrone Carter, Chesapeake, senior, lineman: man: Carter (5-10, 250), coach Tom Kraning said, was "an aggressive nose guard who no one could handle." A couple teams actually changed centers during games in attempts to counteract the bull-like charging of Carter, who led the Cougars in tackles (53) and sacks (12). He was also credited with 21 hurries.
Sam Creveling, Spalding, senior, punter/defensive back: er/defensive back: Creveling (5-10, 165) led the county in punting (32 punts for a 38.8-yard average) and interceptions (seven). He also contributed offensively by running for 240 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
Henry Downs, Annapolis, senior, linebacker: er: A knee injury kept Downs sidelined in 1997. But this season, Downs (5-11, 220) called defensive signals and led the Panthers in tackles (8.0 per game) and tackles for losses (13). He also had two interceptions. "Henry was outstanding against the run," said coach Brown.
Dewayne Hunt, Annapolis, senior, back: A two-year starter with an outstanding work ethic, the lightning-quick Hunt (6-0, 180) averaged six tackles a game from strong safety. He also had two interceptions -- returning one for a touchdown -- and was a blocking back on offense. "We were confident with Dewayne as our main running back until Rayvon [Johnson] came along, " said coach Brown. "Dewayne understood and was an inspirational leader."
Darren Johnson, Spalding, junior, linebacker: backer: A Division I defensive prospect, Johnson (6-2, 190) used his 4.6 speed, strength and athleticism to wreak havoc on foes. He led the Cavaliers (5-5) in tackles (42), had one sack and two interceptions, returning one for a TD. At tailback, he rushed for 1,178 yards and 13 TDs on 159 carries (7.4 yards per carry).
David Kim, Old Mill, senior, lineman: A standout two-way tackle, Kim (6-1, 240) led the Patriots (5-5) in tackles (62), first hits (43) and had three sacks and two fumble recoveries. "We averaged 53 offensive plays a game, so David was on the field for over 100 plays," said coach Mike Marcus.
Jeff Logan, Broadneck, senior, lineman: Another Bruin three-year starter, Logan was "very athletic and very powerful, one of the best defensive ends we've had," said coach Jeff Herrick. Logan (6-2, 190) averaged seven tackles a game for a defense that gave up a county-best 8.4 points a game in the regular season.
Mike Parker, Arundel, senior, lineman: Had Parker, the only returning All-County defender, played the entire season, the Wildcats (5-5) "would have had a winning season," says coach Zucco. "Mike is the best defensive lineman I've ever coached." Injuries kept Parker (6-5, 205) out of three games, yet he made 12 tackles in the backfield and led the team in sacks (eight).
Andrew Smith, Meade, senior, back: One of the county's top all-round players and athletes, Smith (6-1, 195) led the Mustangs (5-5) in tackles (115) and interceptions (four). On offense, he played quarterback and running back and led his team with 1,189 yards and 14 TDs rushing.
Sam Strother, Broadneck, senior, back: Going from strong safety to linebacker during games, Strother (5-10, 175) was "the heart and soul of our defense," said coach Herrick. A very consistent player with great field awareness and instincts, Strother always seemed to be in the middle of the action, making big plays and sacks on the safety blitz, causing turnovers and breaking up passes.
Dorion Watkins, Broadneck, senior, back: The Bruins' scholar athlete with his 4.1 grade-point average, Watkins (5-10, 175) may attend Navy after three great seasons at Broadneck. He had five interceptions at cornerback and knocked down at least a dozen passes.
Coach of the Year
Jeff Herrick, Broadneck: There were a lot of firsts for Broadneck in 1998, but first and foremost was the perseverance and leadership of Herrick. Until this season, Broadneck had never won a playoff game and an undefeated regular season seemed to be a fantasy, especially when five starters were suspended at midseason for violating the student conduct code. Three of those starters never returned, but Herrick, who has a 57-45 career record over 10 seasons, and his Bruins persevered and became just the 11th county team to go undefeated in the regular season. The first Broadneck football coach ever named Coach of the Year, Herrick, who played at Arundel (1973 graduate), Anne Arundel Community College, and Towson State, preached the importance of priorities and rules. Those were virtues he learned playing and later student teaching under his former Arundel coach, the late Jerry Mears in 1977, when the latter started the Meade program. "We had a very special group," said Herrick, who later was an assistant to Buddy Hepfer at Arundel before taking the Broadneck job in 1989. The Bruins completed their perfect regular season with a 33-7 romp over North County and then pulled off the season's most dramatic comeback to notch the school's playoff triumph. Down 21-0 at the half against four-time Southern Maryland champion Westlake the Class 3A state quarterfinals, the Bruins came out and scored 22 unanswered points to win by a point. The way they won was typical Herrick. Without hesitation, Herrick told his Bruins to go for the two-point conversion with 3: 08 remaining rather than the tie and they got it to become the county's fifth team to win at least 11 games. Opposing coach Dominic Zaccarelli said, "We knew their coach and team had a lot of character just the way they handled their problems." Unfortunately, the Bruins' storybook season came to a halt with a 49-13 loss to Friendly in the semifinals. "That hurt, but I told them not to dwell on that final game and to remember all of their accomplishments," said Herrick.
Team selection The Baltimore Sun 1998 All-Anne Arundel County football teams were selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.
Pub Date: 11/29/98