For An­napo­lis RB Hough, size and speed a danger­ous combo

Howard tasked with re­plac­ing sopho­more Dawkins

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY FOOTBALL - By Kather­ine Dunn kather­ine.dunn@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/kdunnsun

At 6 feet 1, 220 pounds, An­napo­lis’ Cameron Hough is a pow­er­house run­ning back. But it’s not just his power that makes him one of the high­est-scor­ing rush­ers in the state foot­ball tour­na­ment with 31 touch­downs.

Pan­thers coach Nick Good- Mal­loy said the se­nior is a lot faster than he gets credit for. He broke one touch­down run this fall for 98 yards, and he av­er­ages10.2 yards per carry as the No. 4Pan­thers head to Quince Orchard for tonight’s Class 4A state semi­fi­nal.

“When you look at him, he’s phys­i­cally im­pos­ing. He’s a big dude,” Good-Mal­loy said. “He’s the strong­est guy on our team, and the thing that’s funny that we al­ways talk about as a coach­ing staff is you look at him and you think of him as a power back. But he’s got tremen­dous speed also.” Next man up: Howard had an easy time rolling past Mervo, 42-6, in the re­gional fi­nal, but the No. 8 Lions paid a price in that vic­tory. Sopho­more run­ning back Devin Dawkins, who had car­ried the ball 200 times for 1,833 yards and 22 touch­downs, suf­fered a bro­ken col­lar­bone.

Ju­nior run­ning backs DJ Howard and Robert Ag­bai, who have a com­bined 90 car­ries for 669 yards, will get the call a lit­tle more of­ten in Fri­day’s Class 4A state semi­fi­nal at un­de­feated Wise, which beat the Lions in last year’s state semi­fi­nal and has won 26 straight games.

“Like we preach about ev­ery po­si­tion — next man up,” Lions coach Bruce Strunk said. “They’re qual­ity run­ning backs. They would play a lot for other teams.” Plows a-plenty: With a Howard County record to his credit as a sopho­more, it’s no won­der Wande Owens is the cen­ter­piece of No. 14 Glenelg’s of­fense. He broke the sin­gle­sea­son rush­ing record in 11 games and has ex­tended it to 2,449 yards on 332 car­ries with 28 touch­downs.

But Owens would be the first to tell you it’s not all about him. He couldn’t do it with­out one of the area’s strong­est of­fen­sive lines lead­ing the way — se­niors Dakota Davis, Trae Folk­man, Alex Med­ley, Owen Kaiser and Brian Doughty, and ju­nior Cory Wil­son.

“The kids up front love block­ing for him,” said Glenelg coach Butch Schaf­fer, whose team will face No. 5 Franklin tonight. Don’t run on me: Franklin has al­lowed just two rush­ing touch­downs all sea­son — one in the sea­son-open­ing loss to then-No. 1 McDonogh and one in last week’s re­gional fi­nal at No. 10 Mil­ford Mill.

One of the main rea­sons for that stingi­ness has been All-Metro line­backer Michael Gib­son, who leads the team in tack­les with 76, in­clud­ing 13 for loss. He also has eight sacks, three in­ter­cep­tions and four fum­ble re­cov­er­ies. High ex­pec­ta­tions: With nine state ti­tles, 15 straight post­sea­son ap­pear­ances and 52 play­off wins, Dun­bar ex­pects to be in the play­offs ev­ery year. When the Poets started off 0-2 and were 4-3 with three games left, it looked a lit­tle iffy this year.

“We were young in the skill area,” Poets as­sis­tant coach Michael Carter said, “and our guys had to get the chance to learn each other, work with each other. As the year’s gone by, they’re get­ting bet­ter.”

Ju­nior new­comer Jared Lewis set­tled in at quar­ter­back to throw for 2,094 yards and 21touch­downs. Se­nior run­ning backs Da’Shawn Darien and Jamorie Ran­som weren’t starters last year and they’ve com­bined for 1,163 yards and 15 touch­downs. Ju­nior re­ceiver Ryan Wood and sopho­mores Melvin Curbeam and Kwesi Evans com­bined for 1,801 yards and 16 touch­downs. Up and run­ning: Ed­mond­son coach Corey Johnson brought five sopho­mores up from ju­nior var­sity for the play­offs and all have con­trib­uted to the state semi­fi­nal run.

Run­ning back Kevin Martin and de­fen­sive tackle Jonah En­gram have played big roles in the two re­gional wins. Martin has com­ple­mented an­other sopho­more run­ning back, Tre­jour Owens, who leads the Red Storm in rush­ing. En­gram, with his 6-foot-1, 290-pound frame, has helped pre­vent teams from ex­ploit­ing Ed­mond­son up the mid­dle.

Lineback­ers Mon­tay Schuler and Dar­ryl Dant­zler have also started, while Da­monta Johns has also seen ac­tion as the Red Storm emerged from a 4-6 reg­u­lar sea­son to earn a date with Havre de Grace tonight.

“They’ve stepped up the com­pe­ti­tion in prac­tice, made the guys play a lit­tle bit harder,” Johnson said.

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