Tak­ing the next step

McDonough’s Holton signs with Clar­ion for foot­ball, An­der­son to Ship­pens­burg for soc­cer

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

McDonough High School saw two more of its ath­letes en­ter the col­le­giate ranks Wed­nes­day when wide re­ceiver Der­vonn Holton and mid­fielder Drew An­der­son signed their na­tional let­ter of in­tent on Na­tional Sign­ing Day.

Holton signed his name to at­tend Clar­ion Univer­sity (Pa.) on a foot­ball schol­ar­ship, while An­der­son com­mit­ted her next four years to play women’s soc­cer at Ship­pens­burg Univer­sity (Pa.).

“I’m speech­less, I’m lit­er­ally speech­less,” said Holton a few min­utes af­ter sign­ing, which was at- tended by a large fam­ily con­tin­gent, coaches and sev­eral of his team­mates. “I’ve al­ways waited for this mo­ment. It’s like a dream come true. I’m lost for words.”

“I am very happy that I have com­mit­ted to this school. It’s most def­i­nitely the one for me,” said An­der­son, who lives in White Plains. “They’ve al­ways been the one who’s been there by my side through my years of high school and when I vis- ited the school it was just so amaz­ing. knew right away I was go­ing to go there.”

Holton, who plans to ma­jor in com­puter sci­ence, also con­sid­ered of­fers from Ship­pens­burg, Fair- mont State Col­lege (W.Va.), Cheyney Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia and Glenville State Col­lege (W.Va.).

“I’m very proud of Der­vonn. He’s been like a leader since I showed up here and all the hard work has def­i­nitely paid off,” McDonough head foot­ball coach Johnathan Briscoe said. “I’m glad to see all this has come to fruition for him.”

An­der­son, who will study bi­ol­ogy, also re­ceived in­ter­est from the Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh.

“It’s a great ac­com­plish­ment for her and ob­vi­ously some­thing she’s strived for her en­tire life as a soc­cer player,” McDonough head girls soc­cer coach Dave Bradshaw said. “She’s com­mit­ted her life to play­ing year-round and she had a goal of play­ing at the next level and she’s worked very hard to achieve that next goal.”

Last year, Holton, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound re­ceiver, bat­tled fin­ger and leg in­juries but caught

a team-high 21 passes for 237 yards, se­cond most on the team. He also scored three touch­downs, which tied for most on the Rams, and earned a place on the All-County se­cond team.

As a free safety, Holton had 21 tack­les (15 solo), two in­ter­cep­tions and a fum­ble re­cov­ery. He also re­turned six kick­offs for 166 yards (27.7 av­er­age) and his 412 all-pur­pose yards were se­cond-best on the team.

Holton was named Over­all McDonough Foot­ball Player of the Game for his 80-yard kick- off re­turn for his team’s only touch­down Sept. 16 against Chop­ti­con. His best re­ceiv­ing game was Oct. 28 when he caught five passes for 76 yards and three scores in a 43-33 loss to North­ern.

“He was def­i­nitely one of our most dy­namic play­mak­ers,” Briscoe said. “Der­vonn’s a hard worker. Me not be­ing in the build­ing was a strug­gle, but he’d be round­ing guys up to get into the weight room. The pro­gram will def­i­nitely miss Der­vonn and Clar­ion is defi- nitely get­ting a great foot­ball player. I’m just very ex­cited to see what comes for him at the next level.”

Last year, the Golden Ea­gles were 4-7 (3-4 Penn­syl­va­nia State Ath­letic Con­fer­ence) un- der head coach Chris Weibel, a for­mer Clar­ion All-Amer­ica quar­ter­back.

Clar­ion, which will re­turn nine re­ceivers — in­clud­ing ris­ing sopho­more and for­mer Patux­ent stand­out Greg Leon- ard — next year, will be­gin its 2017 sea­son when it hosts Penn­syl­va­nia-based Blooms- burg on Sept. 9.

“Their coaches were the most in­ter­ested in me out of all [the schools] I vis­ited and I re­ally liked it,” said Holton, who was re­cruited as a re­ceiver but said he also hopes to play spe­cial teams. “They felt like a fam­ily and they seem like they needed me.”

An­der­son, a 5-7 mid­fielder, scored 15 goals and added 10 as­sists last year for the Rams, who fin­ished 9-7 over­all and a third-place record of 4-2 in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Po­tomac Divi­sion.

“The last three years have been a crazy, fun, emo­tional three years in soc­cer,” said An­der­son, who trans­ferred from Lackey her fresh­man year.

The Rams won the Class 1A North Re­gion ti­tle with a 2-0 win over Brunswick of Freder- ick County but fell to Patterson Mill of Har­ford County in the state semi­fi­nal.

“She’s ded­i­cated to her craft. She’s spent a lot of time work­ing and she’s a great com­peti­tor,” Bradshaw said. “For so many years she’s con­tin­ued to work on her ball skills, she has a re­ally strong leg and she’s an awe­some com­peti­tor. We’re proud of her and her fam­ily and what she’s brought to this pro­gram.”

She’s also cur­rently on the Danny Vil­la­gran-coached Mary­land United FC ‘98 Red Team, which won the CASL Soc­cer Show­case in North Carolina, and the Sport­ing Mary­land Fut­sal Club team, which won the 2016 state cham­pi­onship.

Ship­pens­burg won three straight games and six of nine mid­way through the sea­son but fin­ished just 10-7-1 (8-7-1 PSAC). Ship­pens­burg was 6-3 in home games.

The Raiders, who are coached by Rob Ful­ton, who is en­ter­ing his 12th sea­son as head coach and holds the pro­gram record for ca­reer wins, will lose five play­ers to grad­u­a­tion, in­clud­ing four mid­field­ers/for­wards. One of its play­ers is Wal­dorf’s Court­ney Mer­win, a ris­ing sopho­more from Grace Chris­tian Academy.

“I think I just need to work re­ally hard,” said An­der­son, a 2016 All-SMAC Po­tomac Divi­sion first team se­lec­tion who is good friends with Mer­win, also a for­mer club team­mate. “I know it’s re­ally hard to get a lot of play­ing time as a fresh­man but I’m de­ter­mined and I re­ally want to play. I love it, I just love it.”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

McDonough High School se­nior wide re­ceiver Der­vonn Holton signs his let­ter of in­tent Wed­nes­day to at­tend Clar­ion Univer­sity (Pa.) with grand­mother Michelle Valen­tine, left, brother Navarro O’Brien, mother Javonna O’Brien, grand­fa­ther Larry Holton, grand­mother Ber­nadette Holton and father Der­rick Holton.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID McDonough High School se­nior Drew An­der­son signs her na­tional let­ter of in­tent to at­tend Ship­pens­burg Univer­sity (Pa.) on a soc­cer schol­ar­ship with mother Leigh Ann An­der­son, left, and father Ray­mond An­der­son.

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