Friday, Feb. 8, 2008

2002 Al-County Football Team Defense: Dominant defense a major theme in county

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by Ted Black, Terron Hampton, Derek Toney and Adam Rubenstein

Staff Writers

Defenses in Prince George’s County were fast and furious this past season. A crop of standout linebackers and several future Division I players lead the Star⁄Gazette’s First-Team Defense for 2002

Linemen

Fred Ballenger, Potomac, Sr., — This 6-foot, 262-pound nose tackle was one of the cornerstones of a stingy Braves’ defense. Ballenger had 60 tackles, including 18 solos and 42 assists. He had 17 first hits, two sacks and seven tackles for loss and returned a fumble recovery 67 yards for a touchdown against Douglass. He also scored a TD as a running back against Central, kicked a field goal against Gwynn Park and averaged 40.2 yards per punt, including a 70-yarder.

Olu Faturoti, Parkdale, Sr. — His speed at defensive end added another dimension to a dominating defensive unit. Faturoti (6-1, 215) had 84 tackles and seven sacks for the state 4A champion Panthers. He was almost unstoppable in the title game, blowing around Sherwood linemen to pressure quarterback Bobby Sheahin. On a second-quarter play, Faturoti hit Sheahin’s arm as he threw and teammate Markus McFadden intercepted the pass and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown. Bryant, Georgetown, Lafayette and Lehigh are interested in Faturoti.

George Covington, Roosevelt, Sr. — The 6-3, 225-pound Covington was crucial in the Raiders posting three shutouts in their final four contests. For the season, he totaled 88 tackles, 12 sacks and forced four fumbles in just eight games for the Greenbelt school. Covington has received interest from Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia and West Virginia.

Cornelius Kidwell, Northwestern, Sr. — Nicknamed ‘‘The Sheriff,” Kidwell was the lynchpin for the Wildcats’ defense. Kidwell, 6-1, 290 pounds, tallied 71 tackles, eight sacks and recovered two fumbles for Northwestern (7-2) which was in contention for a state 4A playoff spot until the final week of the regular season.

Harold Stanback, McNamara, Sr. — A first-team selection by the WCAC, Stanback helped the Forestville school to a strong finish. The 6-2, 225-pound defensive end totaled an astounding 25 sacks, shattering the single-season record for the Mustangs, who allowed just 31 points in their final four games. Stanback also had 86 tackles in 10 games this season with 19 tackles for a loss.

Linebackers

Daniel Proctor, Northwestern, Sr. — The 5-11, 220-pound Proctor was the Wildcats’ top defender this fall, totaling 117 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks. He was a one-man wrecking crew in a 12-7 win against Roosevelt, tallying seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. One of the county’s top wrestlers along with teammate Chad Nkang, Proctor is receiving interest from Bowie State.

Derron Thomas, Roosevelt, Sr. — Though the Raiders missed the postseason for the first time in five seasons, Thomas had an outstanding campaign. The 6-2, 225-pounder had 93 tackles, five sacks and three fumble recoveries for Roosevelt which claimed victory in five of its last six contests after an 0-2 start. Akron, Georgia Tech, Kent State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia have offered Thomas a football scholarship.

Marcus Shepherd, Parkdale, Sr. — Shepherd was the centerpiece of a defense that helped carry the Panthers to the state title. The 6-1, 205-pounder had 197 tackles and 13 sacks for Parkdale, which allowed the fewest points (77) in county 4A league competition and 27 in three postseason games. He had eight tackles in the title game as the Panthers physically dominated Sherwood. Also an accomplished wrestler, Shepherd has been recruited by several Division I-AA football programs and at least one I-A school.

Lonnell Williams, Potomac, Sr. — The Wolverines’ ascension to the top of the county’s best defensive units was made possible by Williams. The 6-3, 215-pounder had 120 tackles as Potomac finished second in the county 3A⁄2A league behind Gwynn Park. The Wolverines’ defense allowed only 76 points this season, best in the county, and recorded four shutouts. Williams had 41 solos, 40 first hits, 79 assists and nine sacks among 22 tackles for loss. He also caused four fumbles, recovered one and had one interception. Carried 30 times for 200 yards and one touchdown and caught six passes for 110 yards and one TD, a 79-yard score against Fairmont Heights.

Defensive backs

Terry Everett, Bowie, Sr. — Everett was a bright spot in a frustrating season for the 2001 state 4A champions, who finished 2002 with a 3-6 record. Everett (5-10, 170) had 54 tackles, four interceptions and returned one of his three fumble recoveries for a touchdown. He also caused one fumble.

Reggie McCoy, DeMatha, Sr. — Bound to Syracuse with teammate Cornelius Campbell, McCoy helped form one of the county’s top defensive backfields. He had 39 tackles and three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Voted the team’s defensive MVP, McCoy (6-0, 185) was a first-team selection by the WCAC coaches.

Josh Wilson, DeMatha, Sr. — A track standout, Wilson showed why Maryland offered him a football scholarship. He tallied 32 tackles and four interceptions for the Stags and was quarterback Ryan Mitch’s No. 1 target with 31 catches and 736 yards. An all-WCAC first team pick, Wilson will be staying close to home as he will sign with the Terps in February.

Usama Young, Largo, Sr. — After an impressive offseason when he recorded the fastest time at the Maryland Junior combine and the Elite 100 at the University of Maryland, Young was all over the field for the Lions this fall. A solid two-way player, Young earned first-team status for his defensive skills. He had five interceptions, 67 tackles and 37 pass defenses while playing cornerback and added 14 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver.

Punter

Patrick Fisher, DeMatha, Sr., punter — Fisher was a major weapon for the Stags, averaging 46.8 yards a punt. The 6-4, 240-pounder was 33-for-33 on extra points and 4-for-6 on field goals. Another first team All-WCAC pick, Fisher missed only five of 105 extra point attempts in his varsity career.

Second Team

Linemen — Jonathan Ashe, Flowers; Robert Childress, Gwynn Park; Levon Dock, Roosevelt; Cordell Hawkins, Suitland; Michael Hawkins, McNamara; Cletus Ibe, DuVal; Jerrick Jeffries, Largo; William Jumper, Northwestern; Abdul Kabba, Bladensburg; Lemuel Luckett, Surrattsville; Eblin Molina, Parkdale; Ed Mooring, Douglass; Daniel Oriola, Parkdale; Augustus Parrish, Potomac; Steve Smith, Bowie; Walter Stewart, Largo; Kali Wallace, Friendly; Amerik Watson, High Point; Leon Young, Suitland.

Linebackers — Durrell Davis, Friendly; Tristan Martin, Oxon Hill; Steve Stoddard, DuVal; Corey Sobel, DeMatha; Mike Thomas, McNamara; Floyd Williams, Laurel.

Defensive backs — Francis Dent, Parkdale; Larry Duncan, Flowers; Brian Holmes, McNamara; John Johnson, Fairmont Heights; William Scott, Central; Jahi Smith, Suitland; Anthony Vaughn, Gwynn Park.

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