When discussing Stefan Houston's senior season, Clarksburg football coach Larry Hurd couldn't help but come back to the same phrase over and over again.
"He just makes plays," Hurd said several times when asked to describe the play of the Maryland-bound athlete.
Hurd's praise for Houston is backed up by the numbers. In the Coyotes' first three games of the 2011 season, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns, caught 18 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns, and came up big for Clarksburg time and time again at the WILL linebacker spot.
Days before the Coyotes' Week 4 game, Houston committed to Maryland. In his first game as a Terps recruit, Houston turned in arguably his top all-around performance of the year, leading the Coyotes to a 26-21 win over Gaithersburg by returning an interception 22 yards for a touchdown, and rushing for scores from 12 and 3 yards out. He finished the day with 19 carries for 102 yards and four receptions for 89 yards.
"He does what he does," Hurd said. "He's got speed, runs people down and made big plays. He scored touchdowns on defense as well. He simply just makes big plays. You put him in a big spot, and he's going to make plays."
Houston, who saw time at linebacker, wide receiver, running back and Wildcat quarterback for Clarksburg, finished the season with 38 catches for 698 yards and 10 touchdowns and 59 carries for 283 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, Houston recorded 85 total tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
"We knew what we were getting," Hurd said. "He continues to impress. He'll do the same thing week in and week out."
Clarksburg (5-5) ran multiple fronts defensively, but was primarily a 4-3 team. Playing on the weakside, Houston constantly made his presence felt.
"His speed is his No. 1 thing," Hurd said. "He's tough. He gets to spots. He hits you. He makes people adjust their offense. If he's on one side of the field, a lot of teams are going the opposite way."
Maryland has Houston slated to play the STAR linebacker position next fall. Hurd said before Houston arrives in College Park, he'll need to get a little bigger and a little stronger, but "his speed is already there." The Clarksburg coach is excited to see how his star player fares at the next level.
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"I'll remember him as a hard-working, dedicated kid, a nice young man, very soft-spoken," Hurd said. "But also an intense competitor."