COACH OF THE YEAR
When Mesaros inherited the position vacated by Bruce Strunk, the first-year coach took over a program that was expected to continue its success since being Class 3A state runner-up in 1998 under Nick Arminio.
The Mavericks did just that, recording their fifth playoff berth and a 12-1 record that equaled the victory total of the '98 squad. Eastern Tech twice defeated three-time state champ and Baltimore County power Hereford, dethroning the Bulls for the 2A-1A league and 2A North region crowns and earning The Sun's No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history.
Eastern Tech reached the state semifinals for the second time, registering seven shutouts this season (10 shutouts during an 18-game winning streak) before losing to Potomac of Prince George's County, 8-0.
Mesaros and his staff were a close-knit group whose relationship rubbed off on the players.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The season began with high expectations for the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, and the senior running back lived up to them. A four-year starter, Wright rushed for 1,738 yards and 27 touchdowns to lead the Mavericks to a ranking as high as No. 1.
One of his best games was against neighborhood rival Overlea, a contest during which Wright rushed for four touchdowns on 139 yards. The victory was part of a 6-0 league record that earned the Mavericks the Baltimore County 2A-1A title and a 10-0 regular-season record heading into the 2A state playoffs.
Wright finished his high school career with 4,426 rushing yards and 86 touchdowns. His career touchdowns tie him for first on the state's all-time list with Marcus Mason of Georgetown Prep.
At 6-2, 310 pounds with a 40-yard dash time of 5.0 seconds, Akers was the standard by which county linemen measured themselves. A repeat first-team pick, the two-way player had 11 sacks.
The 6-5, 380-pound two-way lineman cleared the way for his running backs with power, and his footwork improved as the season went on. Brown made 35 tackles, had two sacks, recovered two fumbles and caused three others.
Considered one of the best run-blockers in the state, the 6-6, 320-pounder is headed for the University of Maryland on a full football scholarship. Burley had 45 pancake blocks and allowed only one sack in his two seasons. Burley also was named to the All-City/County team last season.
A tremendous leaper who also plays basketball for the Eagles, the senior wide receiver stands 6-feet and weighs 180 pounds - an imposing threat for any defender. His 42 catches for 14 touchdowns and 560 yards ranked among the area's best.
Not only did the senior kicker convert his seventh, eighth and ninth career field goals - his longest being from 43 yards - but he also made 28 of 33 extra-point kicks for the Class 2A North region finalist Bulls. Dinkins, who has three game-winning field goals, also set a state record with 140 career successful extra-point kicks.
Whether the Clippers were running the option or going straight up the middle, Patterson coach Roger Wrenn knew he could count on Evans to clear the way. The 6-2, 266-pound senior guard was the main reason Thomas Smith cleared 1,700 rushing yards.
The sturdy, 5-11, 205-pound senior running back had his best games against Gilman, Curley, McDonogh and Mount St. Joseph, combining for 707 yards and nine touchdowns (6.86 yards per carry) in those contests. Gillyard finished the year with 1,001 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
One of the best athletes in the area, Goode excelled as a tight end with 19 receptions for 400 yards and five touchdowns, and also rushed for 476 yards and seven touchdowns. The 6-4, 230-pounder has had interest from Colorado, Boston College and Georgetown.
Mount St. Joseph
Coach Mike Working calls the 6-1, 265-pound senior "the best tackle I've had since I've been here [10 seasons]." Hiteshew did not give up a sack, and, defensively, was the Gaels' best lineman with six sacks. Several colleges have expressed interest in him.
Irby was a fierce competitor all over the field, rushing for more than 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns, catching 21 passes for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns, returning a punt for another score and returning three of his nine interceptions for touchdowns. The junior led the Poets to the Class 1A state semifinals.
A massively constructed 6-3, 330-pound junior right guard and defensive tackle, Johnson was a key reason the Friars set a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference single-season record for team rushing, and surpassed 400 rushing yards in a game three times. He made 11 pancake blocks.
The 6-1, 180-pound senior quarterback flourished in his second year as the starter, completing 61 percent of his passes for 2,010 yards and 16 touchdowns to lead the Warriors to as high as a No. 3 ranking, their second straight county 4A-3A league title and the Class 4A North region crown.
The 6-1, 217-pound senior rushed for 30 touchdowns and 1,754 yards, ending his career with rushing totals of 3,585 yards and 56 touchdowns (59 touchdowns overall).
The 5-10, 180-pound running back averaged nearly 10 yards per carry in rushing for 1,304 yards and 17 touchdowns. An A-student, Williams has received plenty of interest from college recruiters.
In addition to serving as the primary blocker for running back Jasmond Walker, who had 1,145 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, Young rushed for 784 yards and 12 touchdowns.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
"You can't find a player who can play more positions on defense," Dons coach Brian Abbott said of the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Smith, who saw action as a strong safety, cornerback, defensive end and linebacker. "He plays every team's top guy, has a great combination of speed, size and power and can take over a game."
A repeat first-team pick, the junior ran down a Gilman player at Loyola's 3-yard line after a 65-yard interception return in a 14-0 shutout, and made drive-ending interceptions, fumble recoveries and tackles inside his own 10-yard line in victories over Frederick County power Urbana and traditional rivals Calvert Hall and Gilman. Smith finished with 65 tackles, nine behind the line of scrimmage, four sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery as the No. 2 Dons (4-0 league, 7-3 overall) won their first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title since 1997.
A chiseled, 6-4, 250-pound junior defensive end who hits with tremendous force, Alaeze had 14 sacks and 50 tackles. Alaeze had two sacks in a 14-7 win over Hereford.
The 6-4, 190-pound junior grabbed three of his 11 interceptions in two games against Hereford, with one of them coming in the end zone. Farmer allowed one touchdown reception on his side all season.
The 6-6, 260-pound two-way lineman accumulated 12 sacks and 82 tackles. Stanford, Duke and California have offered scholarships, and Virginia, Maryland and Wake Forest also are interested in him.
The 6-1, 230-pound senior had four sacks, 17 tackles for lost yardage, four interceptions and six fumble recoveries. He also caused seven fumbles.
Howard excelled during his second year as a punter, averaging 38 yards and sending eight of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Also the place-kicker, the senior was 18-for-19 on extra-point attempts and converted four of five field-goal tries, including a school-record 42-yarder.
As the top tackler on a defense that allowed 9.9 points per game, Hummel had five sacks, 14 tackles for lost yardage and two interceptions. The senior finished the season with 113 tackles.
The senior linebacker led his team with 124 tackles, 69 solo, had 15 sacks, two fumble recoveries and caused five fumbles. He will likely attend a junior college.
The gifted, 6-3, 170-pound senior returned two of his six interceptions for touchdowns from his defensive back position, and made 33 solo tackles among his total of 47. Colorado has offered him a scholarship, and Boston College, Morgan State, Delaware State and Howard are interested.
The 6-2, 190-pound senior lineman always found a way to be near the ball. He was third on the team with 45 tackles - including one for a safety - and had five sacks. Although undersized against most adversaries, Martin's speed and athleticism usually won out as part of a defense that registered seven shutouts.
An aggressive, though undersized 6-1, 190-pound senior, Pinkney had a nose for the ball and a means to get there from his linebacker position. Pinkney made 45 tackles, had eight sacks, and made one of his two fumble recoveries in the end zone for a touchdown.
A junior, the defensive end played with the poise and tenacity of a veteran. In leading the Bulls to their eighth straight playoff berth, the 6-2, 215-pounder registered 24 sacks (he has 41 in his two years as a varsity starter) and 117 tackles. He also recovered two fumbles and returned his only interception for a touchdown.
The 6-2, 210-pound senior linebacker had a breakout year for the Dons, leading the way with 130 tackles, three sacks, six tackles for lost yardage, three fumble recoveries, four caused fumbles and three interceptions. In the Dons' 14-7 Turkey Bowl victory over rival Calvert Hall, Strickland had 11 tackles for lost yardage and dove on top of the game-winning fumble recovery in the end zone.
The Maryland-bound 5-11, 175-pound senior defensive back returned two of his seven interceptions for touchdowns. He has accepted a full football scholarship to the University of Maryland.
An all around player, the 6-1, 160-pound senior defensive back intercepted six passes, made 32 tackles and recovered two fumbles. He also caught three touchdown passes as a receiver, returned three punts for touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for scores.
During a season in which the senior defensive back had to carry much of the load for an inexperienced secondary, Zimmerman led the team with four interceptions among his 20 pass disruptions, and ranked second on the team with 88 tackles.
Offensive Player of the Year: Dietrich Wright, Eastern Tech
Defensive Player of the Year: Brady Smith, Loyola
Coach of the Year: Marc Mesaros, Eastern Tech
Name School Class Position
Justin Ross Woodlawn Senior Quarterback
Chris Gillyard Loyola Senior Running back
Thomas Smith Patterson Senior Running back
Glenn Williams Archbishop Curley Senior Running back
Dietrich Wright Eastern Tech Senior Running back
Shanorm Young Poly Senior Running back
Cory Davis McDonogh Senior Wide receiver
Jason Goode Woodlawn Senior Tight end
Joe Akers Hereford Junior Lineman
Adrian Brown Randallstown Senior Lineman
Scott Burley Woodlawn Senior Lineman
David Evans Patterson Senior Lineman
Luke Hiteshew Mount St. Joseph Senior Lineman
Brandon Johnson Archbishop Curley Junior Lineman
Nathan Irby Dunbar Junior All-purpose
Jon Dinkins Hereford Senior Kicker
Name School Class Position
Tom Farmer Eastern Tech Junior Defensive back
Keith Mallory Woodlawn Senior Defensive back
Brady Smith Loyola Junior Defensive back
Christian Varner Randallstown Senior Defensive back
Orlando Webb Patterson Senior Defensive back
Grant Zimmerman Gilman Senior Defensive back
Mark Hicks Edmondson Senior Linebacker
Nate Hummel Gilman Senior Linebacker
Lenard Leslie Woodlawn Senior Linebacker
Greg Pinkney Eastern Tech Senior Linebacker
Larry Strickland Loyola Senior Linebacker
Melvin Alaeze Randallstown Junior Lineman
Cameron Goldberg McDonogh Senior Lineman
Wayne Martin Eastern Tech Senior Lineman
Billy Rueter Hereford Junior Lineman
Pike Howard St. Paul's Senior Punter
Name School Class Position
Josh Hager Eastern Tech Senior Quarterback
Dwight Tillman Western Tech Senior Quarterback
Quentin Burley Loch Raven Senior Running back
Damon Jackson City College Senior Running back
Jamaal Johnson Southside Acad. Junior Running back
Terrell Walston Kenwood Senior Running back
Shane Walterhoefer Boys' Latin Junior Running back
Jasper Ihezie Calvert Hall Junior Wide receiver
Jasphur Montgomery Poly Senior Wide receiver
Ben Adams Hereford Senior Lineman
Barry Bankins Dunbar Senior Lineman
Alan Bosworth Dunbar Soph. Lineman
Jordan Distance Eastern Tech Senior Lineman
Matt Sullivan Loyola Senior Lineman
Marcus Parham W.E.B. DuBois Senior All-purpose
Tom Vanik Catonsville Senior Kicker
Name School Class Position
Earl Chaptman Dunbar Senior Defensive back
Jamari McCullough Randallstown Junior Defensive back
Akeem Richards Overlea Junior Defensive back
Jasmond Walker Poly Senior Defensive back
Ray Wittelsberger Hereford Senior Defensive back
Bret Yoder Hereford Senior Defensive back
Drew Behrens St. Paul's Senior Linebacker
Eric Johnson City College Senior Linebacker
Ted Melanson Loyola Senior Linebacker
David Roccio Perry Hall Senior Linebacker
Matt Beitman Calvert Hall Senior Lineman
Connell Cuffie Dunbar Senior Lineman
Joe Galloway Cardinal Gibbons Senior Lineman
Lonnie Harvey Edmondson Junior Lineman
Dane Robinson Calvert Hall Junior Lineman
Josh Price Parkville Junior Punter
Note: Teams selected by Lem Satterfield after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.