Parkville jumps into Balto. County race

St. Frances tight end Myles Wright com­mits to Tow­son

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Kather­ine Dunn kather­ine.dunn@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/ kdunnsun — Randy McRoberts, Bal­ti­more Sun Me­dia Group

With Satur­day’s rare win over Perry Hall, Parkville’s foot­ball team in­serted it­self into a crowded race for Bal­ti­more County’s Class 4A-3A di­vi­sion ti­tle.

The di­vi­sion in­cludes three Top 15 teams — No. 9 Mil­ford Mill, No. 12 Dun­dalk and No. 13 Franklin – as well as a cou­ple of other his­tor­i­cally strong ones: Ca­tonsville and Perry Hall. Du­laney jumped in last week­end with its first win over Ca­tonsville in at least 25 years.

The Knights had not beaten Perry Hall since 2009, but se­nior cor­ner­back Ver­non Miller Jr. picked off a pass with about a minute left to seal Satur­day’s vic­tory for Parkville. Miller also scored the gamewin­ning touch­down with about nine min­utes left on a 25-yard re­cep­tion from quar­ter­back Sid White, who threw for two touch­downs and ran for an ad­di­tional score.

Sec­ond-year coach Justin Payne stressed a pos­ses­sion of­fense, and the Knights de­fense helped by forc­ing four Perry Hall turnovers.

“They have a fast-paced of­fense and they’re very well coached. They’re very dis­ci­plined,” Payne said, “so if we could main­tain pos­ses­sion of the ball, put some points on the board, keep them off the field and then just play good de­fense, we’d have a chance to beat them.”

Payne, who led the Knights to a 3-9 record last sea­son af­ter they went 1-9 in 2014, also em­pha­sized tack­ling in space against the Ga­tors, who run a lot of plays with dif­fer­ent for­ma­tions.

Among his lead­ers on de­fense, Payne noted Miller; safety La­montte Brown, who also had an in­ter­cep­tion; line­backer Ogechi Njikonye; and de­fen­sive end Mike Ste­wart, who moved from line­backer to put more pres­sure on Perry Hall’s quar­ter­back. Parkville coach Justin Payne cred­ited ball con­trol and a strong de­fense that forced four turnovers for the Knights’ vic­tory over Perry Hall, their first since 2009.

The win over Perry Hall comes on the heels of a strong show­ing in a 21-18 loss last week to Mil­ford Mill.

“That gave us some con­fi­dence. We were play­ing against the No. 9 team in the area and we hung with them,” Payne said. “The fans, the par­ents and ev­ery­body were glad we had a close game. I wanted to win. We know they’re a good team and we didn’t come there to just hang in there with them, but we did see some of the things that made us be bet­ter than last year, and we saw things that we need to work on.” St. Frances’ Myles Wright com­mits to Tow­son: St. Frances se­nior tight end Myles Wright com­mit­ted last week to Tow­son.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Wright is rated the No. 19 player over­all in the Mary­land high school Class of 2017 and is the top tight end.

“Myles is kind of a per­fect fit” for Tow­son, St. Frances coach Henry Rus­sell said. “He’s a kid who blocks real well, he’s got good size, he’s got ex­tremely good hands. Run­ning the pass op­tion, he can be on the field at all times. At his po­si­tion, that’s very valu­able.”

One of the key lead­ers for the No. 6 Pan­thers, who opened their sea­son 4-1 against a tough sched­ule, Wright was also draw­ing in­ter­est from higher-level Di­vi­sion I pro­grams, in­clud­ing Syra­cuse and Pitt.

He chose to stay in Bal­ti­more and join a ros­ter that in­cludes St. Frances grad­u­ate Jus­tice Pettus-Dixon.

“Stay­ing close to home was a big part of it, and he’s fa­mil­iar with the guys on the team,” Rus­sell said. “Aca­dem­i­cally, he’s a good fit, too. He has a 3.8” GPA. Bulls cut points al­lowed by 88 per­cent over this time last fall: While Here­ford’s of­fense has got­ten most of the at­ten­tion for the Bulls’ first 4-0 start in nine years, their de­fense has been the stingi­est in the Bal­ti­more area over the first four games of the sea­son.

The Bulls have al­lowed just seven points af­ter giv­ing up 60 through the first four games a year ago. They’ve shut out their past three op­po­nents, in­clud­ing Satur­day’s 35-0 win over Ran­dall­stown, which had scored 92 points in its first three games.

The Bulls have just five re­turn­ing starters on de­fense: line­men Mike Nash and Joe Kel­baugh, and de­fen­sive backs Zac John­son, Grif­fith Wil­son and Khalil Rich.

Against Ran­dall­stown, 6-foot-3, 290pound Nash and 6-foot, 215-pound Kel­baugh, along with 5-10, 205-pound Troy Glad­ney, led a dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance by the de­fen­sive line. Wil­son had two in­ter­cep­tions while de­fen­sive end Troy Tu­ve­son and Glad­ney had back-to-back sacks on the Rams’ first drive of the game.

Here­ford coach Ric Evans said his team’s de­fen­sive dom­i­na­tion is just a mat­ter of ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Ab­so­lutely noth­ing’s dif­fer­ent. We’ve got five guys that are re­turn­ing guys and we’re just ex­e­cut­ing bet­ter than we did last year,” Evans said.

The Bulls are in first place in Bal­ti­more County’s Class 2A-1A di­vi­sion at 3-0 and also stand atop the Class 2A North points stand­ings. By the num­bers: Here are a few of the most im­pres­sive num­bers af­ter Week 4 of the high school sea­son:

11: Touch­down passes thrown in two weeks by Du­laney quar­ter­back Ty Woodard, who threw for five in Fri­day’s 40-14 win over Ken­wood.

28: Straight wins in Howard County league play by Howard.

231: Yards rush­ing by North Har­ford’s Cole Dick­er­son on 23 car­ries with four touch­downs in a 44-36 win over Win­ters Mill.

356: Yards pass­ing by St. Paul’s Kevin Mad­den, who threw for three touch­downs (and ran for two) in a 36-33 loss to John Car­roll.

2002: The last time An­napo­lis opened its sea­son 4-0 be­fore this fall. straight Up­per Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion game, knock­ing off the vis­it­ing Pan­thers (3-3, 0-2). The game was tied at 1 at the half.

Molly Egan, Elise Alders and Ju­lia Frankis tal­lied the Pat­ter­son Mill goals, all unas­sisted.

Ash­ley Meekins scored the lone Pan­thers goal, also unas­sisted.

STEVE RUARK/FOR THE BAL­TI­MORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

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