As football kicks off around the country, MaxPreps forecasts the top five teams in the state of Maryland for the 2009 season.
In 27 years, Bill McGregor has compiled an outstanding 269-36-3 record and sent many players to major colleges as head football coach at DeMatha Catholic. This year could be one of his greatest years, however, because 16 of his players (eight seniors) already have been offered Division I scholarships. Last year at this time, the Stags had just two players who had been offered. Fourteen starters are back from that 10-2 team, including a huge offensive line anchored by brothers Arie (6-5, 310) and Cyrus (6-6, 300) Kouandjio. Cornerback Jeff Knox (6-2, 207) and safety Kyrell Latimer (5-10, 190) already have committed to Pitt and Virginia, respectively. TB Marcus Coker (6-0, 221) rushed for 1,496 yards and 16 touchdowns last year.
Biff Poggi knows something about winning, too, having built a powerhouse of his own. Last year’s record was only 6-4, but he returns 19 starters and has a very talented group of underclassmen. The coach’s son, Jim Poggi (6-3, 220), a linebacker who has committed to Iowa, made 121 tackles last year, including 15 for losses, six interceptions and recovered four fumbles. DT Anthony Ferguson (6-3, 280) another Iowa commitment, produced 54 tackles, 14 for losses, and recovered three fumbles. Junior Darius Jennings (6-1, 198) made 47 tackles and seven interceptions as a corner back, while as a quarterback he had a total offense of 1,585 yards and 10 touchdowns.
3. Our Lady of Good Counsel
Bob Milloy’s Falcons also are loaded with Division I prospects, but many are underclassmen. He returns 13 starters from a talented 11-1 team. Stanford already has a commitment from CB-WR Louis Young (6-0, 180), who had 360 yards in receptions, 21 tackles and four interceptions as a junior. Safety Frank Tamakloe (6-3, 180), who made 23 tackles, has committed to Wisconsin. Virginia has snagged speedy E.J. Scott (5-11, 175), who had 18 catches for 475 yards and six touchdowns. Milloy calls linebacker Chris Pittsenberger (6-0, 225), who made 72 tackles (15 for losses), “the backbone of our team. When he comes over the middle, you’re going to remember him.”
The Lancers return 15 starters from a 13-1 team, including one of the nation’s premier fullbacks, Zach Zwinak. The 6-2, 240-pound bruiser, who runs a 4.5 40 and benches 330 pounds, rushed for 1,442 yards and 20 touchdowns while making 50 tackles as a linebacker. Leading the blocking is massive Robby Havenstein (6-7, 335). WR Ryan Dixon (6-0, 180) made 50 catches for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns and he runs a swift 4.41 40. Offensive guard Kyle Tucker (6-3, 260) can bench press 430 pounds. Kicker Al Eckard (6-1, 195) drilled 43-of-46 extra points and 7-of-10 field goals.
5. Eleanor Roosevelt
The Raiders have just eight starters returning from a 10-1 team, but they always boast great speed and quickness. Coach Tommy Green counts on tackle Derrick Marks (6-1, 280) to anchor his defense. He made 46 tackles as a junior. In the secondary, Antoine Johnson, a 4.4 speedster, was a stopper last year with 30 tackles and five interceptions. Dominic Shepard (6-1, 200) is a strong two-way player, having averaged 8.2 yards per carry and made 50 tackles. Four players will compete for the quarterback slot, with sophomore Shawn Petty (6-2, 205) showing early signs of stardom.