PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Dunbar, running back
Field vision, elusiveness and split-second cut-back skills were all qualities regularly exhibited by the 5-foot-11, 180-pound repeat All-Metro performer.
As a running back, Irby rushed for 26 touchdowns. He also caught four touchdown passes, threw two scoring passes, returned a kickoff for another score and a punt for yet another. He scored 20 two-point conversions and a total of 250 points for the Poets. Irby led fourth-ranked Dunbar (13-1) to a 16-14, Class 1A state championship win over defending champ Joppatowne of Harford County. The victory ended a 13-game winning streak.
In the state title game, Irby rushed for 189 yards and his 35th touchdown - an effort that raised his single-season rushing totals to 2,883 yards and allowed him to eclipse the old public and private school state single-season rushing record of 2,871 yards held by Ben Tate of Stephen Decatur.
Irby, who was featured in the Dec. 13 edition of Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" section, rushed for 1,404 yards and 12 touchdowns over the Poets' last five games. That stretch began with a 408-yard, five-touchdown performance in a rout of Baltimore City rival Forest Park in the regular-season finale.
Also a defensive back - the position some recruiters project him to play should he pursue a college career - Irby returned two of his seven interceptions for touchdowns, caused four fumbles and recovered three others. A ferocious hitter, the senior ranked fifth on the team with 98 tackles - 27 of them unassisted.
Also an All-Metro performer in basketball, Irby led the Poets to the their second consecutive 1A state title in that sport last season.
COACH OF THE YEAR
It has been eight years since Eaton stood on the sideline as an assistant to Stanley Mitchell, whose Poets were state runners-up to Fort Hill in 1997. Eaton earlier had assisted Mitchell's 2A and 3A state champion Poets of '94 and '95. But since becoming the head coach in '98, Eaton - following a couple of sub-par seasons - was able to return Dunbar's program to dominance in his seventh season.
Eaton's emphasis on old-school techniques and discipline, on toughness and tradition and his faith in a young coaching staff sparked the unleashing of a talented, physical squad. Dunbar earned its fourth trip to the state title game, a 16-14 Class 1A victory over defending champ Joppatowne, and a record-breaking, 13-1 season that ended with The Sun's No. 4 ranking.
Under Eaton, a 1966 graduate of Douglass High and a All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference offensive lineman as a senior at Morgan State in 1970, Dunbar won 13 consecutive games and its fourth Baltimore City title. Eaton's career record rose to 55-24, and the Poets joined Damascus, Seneca Valley and Wilde Lake as the only programs to win titles in three different classifications.
Eaton's assistants were Travis Blackston (offense), Anderson Powell (defense), Lawrence Smith (offensive line), William Crawford (defensive line) and Nate Brown (special teams).
Bel Air, wide receiver
This repeat All-Metro performer improved his overall performance from last season. The senior led the Bobcats to the Class 3A North region title after being runners-up last season. He made an impact on both sides of the ball in Bel Air's state semifinal loss to eventual state champ Northwest of Montgomery County.
Berry finished the year with 46 receptions for 658 yards and 12 touchdowns, an improvement over last year's 35 catches, 626 yards and 10 touchdowns. Against Northwest, Berry caught eight passes for 67 yards, and, as a defensive back, intercepted his fourth pass of the season.
An A-student with a 1,430 SAT score who ranks No. 1 in his class, Berry is receiving interest from Georgetown University as well as Ivy League programs Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Pennsylvania.
The 6-foot-2, 315-pound junior benefitted from the teachings of coach Ben Eaton, a former standout offensive lineman at Morgan State. Bosworth was an anchor and a leader on a line whose average size was 6-2, 280 pounds.
Behind Bosworth, Yusuf Dorman-El, Antonio Powell, Cecil Crowell and John McCoy, the Poets generated nearly 6,700 total yards of offense - 4,521 rushing and 2,179 passing.
Bosworth was adept at both drive blocking and pass blocking. Although the Poets' general bulk was usually enough to keep opposing linemen busy, it was Bosworth who was the primary key to the record-breaking seasons enjoyed by running back Nathan Irby and wide receiver Darron Edwards.
Old Mill, running back
The 5-foot-7, 150-pound junior used his 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash to establish Anne Arundel County single-season records for rushing yards (2,396), rushing touchdowns (35), total touchdowns (36) and total points (216). In doing so, Callahan led the Patriots to a 10-2 record and the school's first postseason victory in eight playoff berths.
Callahan, the county's Offensive Player of The Year, ran for 200 or more yards six times, including two games of 341 yards - one yard shy of the county's single-game record. In only two varsity seasons, Callahan has rushed for 3,200 yards and a school-record 53 touchdowns. His 53 scores ties the county public school career record.
Callahan's effort this season marks the greatest single-season performance in county history.
A repeat All-Metro performer, Desautels kicked eight field goals, including two of 46 yards. Desautels' second 46-yarder lifted the Bruins into a 24-24 tie with Old Mill in the Class 4A East region final, and his 20-yard field goal in the second overtime was the game-winner.
A three-time All-Anne Arundel County performer, the senior holds the public school state record for most career field goals (23), county records for most field goals in a season (11 as a junior), most field goals in a game (three) and most career extra points (128).
Desautels also punted for Broadneck, his lengthy hang times allowing Bruins' players to get up the field to contain returners. Also a defensive back, Desautels returned one of his Anne Arundel County-high eight interceptions for a touchdown.
Dunbar, wide receiver
Playing in just his first season of high school football, Edwards, a transfer from St. Frances, made an impressive debut. The slender, 6-foot, 165-pound senior finished the year with 54 receptions and a single-season state record for receiving touchdowns (18) and receiving yards (1,257).
Edwards' scoring receptions eclipsed the old mark of 15 held by three others, including Urbana's Billy Gaines in 1999. Edwards' receiving yardage surpassed the mark held by Joe Himes of Boonsboro since 1969.
Edwards broke the single-season yardage record in the Poets' Class 1A state championship victory over Joppatowne, when he made the game-winning, 85-yard catch with 1:17 left in the third quarter to complete a four-reception, 157-yard performance.
Incredibly agile for his size, the four-year starter became motivated to raise his level of play after postseason clashes his sophomore and senior seasons with Hereford's Joe Akers, the standard by which many area lineman measure themselves.
A 6-foot-3, 305-pounder with muscular legs and a burly upper torso, Harvey's play was crucial to the success of the Red Storm's passing and rushing games. Harvey's footwork kept opposing linemen off balance and led to numerous pancake blocks.
Defensively, Harvey registered 103 tackles, 16 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and four fumbles recovered against Baltimore City rivals. He is considering schools such as West Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Boston College and Marshall.
With teammates such as second-team All-Metro center Trey Velleggia (6 feet 2, 260) flanking him, Protzman (6-1, 290) provided the girth and leadership to a team that played one of the area's most difficult schedules, and which played in the area's premier league - the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
An offensive guard, Protzman was among the reasons Loyola went 10-1 - a school-record for victories - finished second in the conference and averaged 309 yards and 25 points.
As part of a defense that yielded nine points per game, the senior made 11 of his 78 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, had three sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception for a touchdown.
Though Pyke is an undersized offensive lineman at 6 feet 1, 210 pounds, the senior more than made up for it with technique, toughness and heart. Pyke persevered while playing in the area's most difficult league, and against some of the most physical teams around.
Pyke's tenacity helped to solidify the Greyhounds' offensive line, behind which junior running back Sean Price averaged 150 yards and two touchdowns per game. Pyke was also a force on the defensive side, where he and 6-3, 235-pound defensive end Eugene Simms wreaked havoc on rival offenses.
Pyke ranked third on the team with 87 tackles, 25 of which went for lost yardage. He also recovered five fumbles and registered 15 sacks from his position as a defensive end.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound junior exceeded most expectations during his initial season as a starter, passing for 2,013 passing yards and 25 touchdowns, and rushing for three more scores. Taylor completed 122 of 167 passes, a stunning ratio of 73 percent, against just nine interceptions.
Taylor's poise was on display in the Poets' season-opening loss to six-time private school champion Gilman, which ended the year as the area's No. 1-ranked team. In that game, Taylor went 7-for-15 for 182 yards with scoring passes of 8 and 70 yards to Nathan Irby and Darron Edwards. And as the season wore on, Taylor grew more comfortable with his role.
Taylor was at his best in the Poets' Class 1A state title-game victory over Joppatowne, where he went 9-for-16 for 209 yards.
As one of the key returners from a team that went 3-6 last season, Wiley's leadership and experience on the offensive line was critical to a team loaded with talented juniors. And as an adversary, Wiley was like a brick wall.
Even so, the 6-foot-1, 275-pound senior exhibited enough athleticism and agility to clear out holes for junior running back Sean Price to cover 1,051 yards and 14 touchdowns. Overall, Gilman gained more than 3,000 rushing yards.
Like his teammates, Andrew Pyke and Eugene Simms, Wiley also played defense. And he could quickly plug holes against rival running backs and quarterbacks as effectively as he opened them for his own teammates.
Arch. Curley, running back
Williams earns All-Metro honors for the second consecutive season, having led the Friars to their fourth Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference crown in the past five seasons.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior rushed for 1,490 yards and 22 touchdowns - an improvement over last year's 1,340 yards and 17 touchdowns. Williams, who averaged 10.7 yards per carry, also returned a kickoff for a score.
As a defensive back, Williams had 38 tackles, broke up 16 passes and had two interceptions. An A-student, Williams will sign with Duke for a full football scholarship.
Hereford, senior, quarterback
Broadneck, junior, running back
Gilman, junior, running back
Long Reach, soph., running back
Hereford, senior, running back
Patterson, senior, tight end
McDonogh, senior, wide receiver
Broadneck, senior, lineman
Old Mill, senior, lineman
Mt. St. Joe, senior, lineman
Loyola, senior, lineman
Gilman, senior, kicker
Note: Teams selected by Lem Satterfield after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.