Taking the next step
McDonough’s Holton signs with Clarion for football, Anderson to Shippensburg for soccer
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.”
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.