Friday, Feb. 8, 2008

2004 All-County Football Players of the Year: The Raider and the Wolverine

E-mail this article \ Print this article


Roosevelt quarterback, Potomac linebacker lead county squads

by Ted Black and Derek Toney

Staff Writers

One of the most highly recruited high school football players in the country, Star⁄Gazette Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Williams of Eleanor Roosevelt posted impressive numbers in every aspect of the game.

He saw action on offense, defense and special teams in 11 of 13 games this year. Williams had two games this fall in which he scored a touchdown rushing, passing and receiving, and he had touchdowns rushing, passing and on a punt return on Sept. 11 against Laurel.

As the Raiders’ starting quarterback, Williams completed 56 of 91 passes for 972 yards and 13 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He also carried 128 times for 1,123 yards and scored 12 rushing touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns. He returned 15 punts for 479 yards and a touchdown. As a defensive back, Williams intercepted four passes and had 34 tackles.

Williams is among the five finalists for the Walter Payton Award honoring the best high school football player in the country. He will be headed to New York Friday afternoon to take part in the ceremony. He recently went on a visit to the University of Texas and is expected to announce his college decision in a nationally televised event Wednesday in the school library. He plans to graduate at the end of the current semester and enroll in college for the spring semester.

‘‘It takes a special kid to be able to do everything that he did on the field and still be able to finish high school six months early,” said Roosevelt coach Rick Houchens. ‘‘It could be a long time before we see another player of his ability in the county.”

McLeod in the middle

Hereford coach Steve Turnbaugh made it clear that he knew his team was facing a difficult task as it prepared for the state 2A title game against Potomac. Asked which Baltimore County team best compared to Potomac, Turnbaugh paused for a moment before answering: ‘‘The Baltimore Ravens.”

Indeed, the Wolverines’ defense was a mini-version of the record-setting Ravens’ defense that helped Baltimore win the Super Bowl four seasons ago. And the leader of that defense was Adrian McLeod, the Star⁄Gazette Defensive Player of the Year.

‘‘He’s so physical and looking to make the big hit,” said Wolverines coach Eric Knight. ‘‘He was all over the field.”

On a defensive unit that Knight said a college recruiter told him has 10 potential Division I-A⁄I-AA prospects, McLeod, only a junior, displayed his vast capabilities this season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound linebacker had 128 tackles to lead the county’s premier defensive unit. The Oxon Hill school posted eight shutouts this season, and allowed only four offensive touchdowns.

McLeod added three interceptions and fumble return for a score for the 14-0 Wolverines, and he also rushed for eight touchdowns. The youngest of three brothers to play at Potomac, Knight said Adrian, nicknamed ‘‘Bubba,” is the best.

‘‘I’m sure he got punished in the back yard,” said Knight, who coached twins Anthony and Alex in the late 1990s. ‘‘Anthony was a better on defense. Alex was better on offense, but Bubba is good on either side.”

E-mail Ted Black at tblack@gazette.net and Derek Toney at dtoney@gazette.net.

2004 All-County Football Coach of the Year: Veteran coach takes his team all the way

by Derek Toney

Staff Writer

With the retirement of Ralph Paden at Fairmont Heights this year, Potomac High’s Eric Knight became the dean of county public school football coaches. In his 20th campaign, Knight led the Oxon Hill school on a historic run. The Wolverines became the first county squad to win the state Class 2A title, and first in the state to finish at 14-0. Knight, who coached at Forestville for eight years at before going to Potomac, said his 2004 squad was one for the ages.

‘‘They were good at every aspect,” Knight said. ‘‘This was the best defensive team. We were able to run and throw the ball. We were able to do everything just better.”

After losing last year’s state final in stunning fashion, Potomac was a team on a mission this fall. Behind a suffocating defense and explosive offense, Potomac rolled through the County 3A⁄2A ranks and tied with Gwynn Park for the league title.

The Wolverines won their second consecutive 2A South Region title before disposing of Western Maryland power Fort Hill in the state semifinals.

After being outplayed in the first three quarters of the state title game, Potomac overcame its past playoff failures and rallied for a 19-12 decision against previously unbeaten Hereford of Baltimore County.

It was Knight’s first victory in four title game attempts. This year’s perfect run advanced his career record to150-67, 101-32 at Potomac.

E-mail Derek Toney at dtoney@gazette.net.