Fawcett carries heavy load for Hawks; Senior RB/LB steering R. Hill toward playoffs


River Hill running back and linebacker Jason Fawcett is built like a front-end loader -- compact and low to the ground.

Add to that physique the mental toughness that believes the bromide, "no pain, no gain," and you have the ingredients of one rugged football player. And wrestler. And lacrosse player.

For now, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound senior is concentrating on getting his Hawks into the Class 3A state football playoffs and winning a county championship.

Either would be quite an accomplishment for a fourth-year program. The Hawks need victories over Mount Hebron and Howard the final two weeks of the regular season.

"You can do anything you want in high school football," he said. "It's how bad you want it and how hard you try."

Fawcett's 873 rushing yards and eight touchdowns have helped the 7-1 Hawks to their best season. So have his 55 solo tackles, 27 assists, eight tackles for a loss and three fumble recoveries.

"He's the heart and soul of River Hill," said Glenelg coach John Davis. "He's a tough kid to bring down and he brings everything he can on defense."

River Hill coach Don Van Deusen concurs with Davis' assessment. "He practices hard, plays hard, is down in front at meetings paying attention to the coach. He's intelligent, carries the load on offense and calls the defenses. The team looks to him as its coach on the field."

Fawcett, a team captain who rushed for 1,115 yards his junior year, had a scary moment following a 21-20 loss to Wilde Lake when he was taken to the hospital after coughing up blood. It turned out to be a chest wall contusion suffered after he was hit in the back.

"You feel the bruises after the games, but football wouldn't be the same without the pain," he said.

He considers the journey more important than the destination, but admits he's excited about the possibility of making the playoffs.

"That's what my cousin [Wilde Lake quarterback Chad Fawcett] and I have both been shooting for and talking about, hoping to play against all these other mythical teams. But we're in the playoffs already as far as I'm concerned, because we can't afford to lose any more games. This week's game against Mount Hebron is a playoff game."

He credits a well-disciplined offensive line -- Scott Cannon, Todd Williams, Drew Baxter, Spencer Wilson, Dan Feller and John Wendel -- for his success as a runner.

Fawcett has brains as well as brawn. He may bench press 320 pounds, but he also carries a 3.40 grade-point average and scored 1,140 on his SAT. He takes AP Physics and Calculus and is interested in becoming an engineer.

He is doing an engineering internship this year with Hillis and Carnes Engineering Associates, Inc., spending his mornings in school and his afternoons at work.

As a tech magnet student at River Hill, his claim to fame was that he was project manager on the building of an electric car last year.

"About 30 people, divided into two groups, worked on it," Fawcett said. "It runs."

Last winter, Fawcett won county and regional wrestling titles at 171 pounds before a shoulder injury derailed his state bid. His record was 30-5.

And last spring he was second-team All-County in lacrosse.

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