Player of the Week (Offense)
For the first 20 minutes of last Friday's Annapolis Area Christian-St. Mary's game, it looked like it was going to be a long night for Josh McPhearson. The three-star AACS running back had fumbled twice in the first two quarters, allowing St. Mary's to grab a 13-0 lead.
But that's when McPhearson broke out of his funk.
"I was a little down early on, but I kept telling myself, 'I gotta keep playing my game and help my team get back in this,'" said the 5-foot-10, 182-pound McPhearson. "After the second fumble, I was determined not to let it happen again. In the second half, I just went all out and took it to another level."
That might be an understatement. McPhearson rushed for over 150 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone, leading AACS to a 35-13 victory. On the night, the Eagles' running back totaled 237 rushing yards (a state high this week) and averaged over 13 yards per carry.
"My motto this year is I just want to play my game and everything is going to work out fine," McPhearson said. "[On Friday] it definitely did. My teammates did a great job blocking for me, and I was able to go out there and show everything I'm capable of."
McPhearson's first touchdown came right after halftime, giving AACS a lead they would not relinquish. He scored on a 1-yard plunge that came directly after a 48-yard jaunt.
"That [48-yard run] got me going. My speed, my versatility and my vision were all in synch on that one," McPhearson said. "Then I just followed my lead block on the next play and took it on for [the touchdown]."
Later in the game McPhearson busted out again for a 42-yard touchdown. This time he turned a simple lead-dive designed to pick up a few tough yards into a dash for daylight.
"My fullback led me right through the hole," McPhearson said. "I hit the open field, turned on the gas and it was off to the races - touchdown."
By that time, AACS had gone up 28-13 in the fourth quarter. But McPhearson had one more long run in him before the game ended. On a counter play, he broke left, caught two blocks from his receivers, burst into the secondary and motored 54 yards for his third score.
With that, McPhearson eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the night. He now has 728 yards (on 41 carries) and 10 touchdowns on the season.
"You know, it's definitely a blessing to get this opportunity," said McPhearson, who transferred from DeMatha by way of Riverdale Baptist before the season. "Everything has been great so far and hopefully me and my teammates can keep it up. I'm shooting for the stars."
Player of the Week (Defense)
Normally we don't name a defensive player of the week, but Donovan Riley's performance last Saturday was too good to ignore. The Poly three-star cornerback almost single-handedly led his team to a 12-0 victory over rival Edmondson.
Riley had three tackles, two pass breakups and three interceptions to go along with four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown on offense. Two of those three picks came with the Red Storm driving inside the Engineers' red zone. And the third? Riley took that one back to the house.
"I don't know if I can put on another performance like that," said the 6-foot, 190-pound Riley, who is committed to Virginia Tech. "You know how Michael Jordan used to say when he was in a zone the hoop looked as big as a swimming pool? Well, that's how I felt. Everything was just coming to me. Primetime players make primetime plays."
Riley's first primetime play came in the third quarter. After a scoreless first half, he spurred Poly by killing an Edmondson drive with a red-zone interception. He returned the ball 72 yards, setting up the offense for its first score. A few plays later, Riley hauled in a 29-yard touchdown catch for a 6-0 lead.
Edmondson had a chance to tie the game on their next possession. They drove all the way to the Poly 18-yard line before Riley struck again. This time he anticipated the pass, jumped the route, snared the pick and ran it back to around midfield.
"Those are the types of interceptions you dream about - back against the wall with the other team about to score," Riley said. "When Edmondson got down [inside the red zone] I was just asking them to come right at me. I wanted the opportunity to make a play. [Edmondson] threw in my direction and I came up big."
Even with the miscues the Red Storm still trailed by just one touchdown. They had the ball once again deep inside their own territory looking to mount yet another drive.
But that's when Riley iced the game with a 15-yard pick six.
"The quarterback rolled to my side, but instead of coming up on him I stayed disciplined in coverage," Riley said. "He tried to float a pass over my head, but I picked it off. Then I dodged left, dodged right and went to the end zone."
With his three-interception effort Riley now has five picks on the season. One year after being named to the All-State team, he said he's taken his game to another level in 2011.
"I'm becoming more than just a football player - I'm becoming a student of the game," Riley said. "I'm learning how to study film more effectively and use that to my advantage. This week I was able to read the quarterback, the receivers - everything. The game is really slowing down for me."
Stat Leaders (Offense)
Donovan Riley, ATH, Poly: about 200 total yards, 2 TDs
Shane Cockerille, QB, Gilman: 236 total yards, 4 TDs
Cyrus Jones, ATH, Gilman: about 165 total yards, 2 TDs
DJ Kee, RB, Decatur: 172 yards, 3 TDs
Kevin Jones, RB, Bullis: 160 yards, 2 TDs
Chase Hutcherson, RB, Wilde Lake: 107 yards, TD
DeAnre Lane, RB, Catonsville: 165 yards
Nick Schaffer, RB, Century: 166 yards, TD
Dom Frank, QB, Manchester Valley: 202 yards, 2 TDs; 50 rushing yards, TD
Romie Cheese, QB, Westminster: 181 total yards, 2 TDs
DJ Smith, RB, Spalding: 151 yards
Joel Jorgensen, QB, McDonogh: over 100 yards, 2 TDs
Kenny Thomas, RB, Atholton: 120 yards
Connor Cox, QB, South River: 134 yards, 3 TDs
Lavon Chaney, RB, South River: 124 yards, 2 TDs
Cooper Hibbs, QB, Arundel: 191 yards, TD
Gary Cropper, ATH, Arundel: 180 total yards, 2 TDs
Michael Pritts, QB, Middletown: 109 yards, TD
Mike Spahr, QB, Urbana: 161 yards, TD
Brady Policelli, QB, Walkersville: 171 yards, 2 TDs
Joe Riddle, RB, Linganore: 105 yards, 2 TDs
Kyle Jennings, QB, Linganore: 106 yards
Abu Kiawu, ATH, Tuscarora: 205 rushing yards, 3 TDs; TD catch
Steve Sheridan, QB, Tuscarora: 105 yards, 2 TDs
Ian Fisher, QB, Brunswick: 407 yards, 2 TDs; 46 rushing yards, TD
Jake Struss, WR, Brunswick: 9 receptions, 142 yards, TD
Blaine Price, WR, Brunswick: 10 receptions, 107 yards, TD
Nick Peifer, QB, St. John's: 109 yards, TD
Brandon Berney, RB, Thomas Johnson: over 100 total yards, 3 TDs
Mark Green, RB, Quince Orchard: 208 yards, 4 TDs
James Jones-Williams, RB, Seneca Valley: 192 yards, TD
Zach Bradshaw, WR, Damascus: 168 rushing yards, 2 TDs; 34 receiving yards
Brion Robinson, RB, Springbrook:138 yards, TD
Lansana Keita, QB, Churchill: 153 yards
Sean Loftus, QB, Einstein: 249 yards, 3 TDs
Shane Wigmore, WR, Einstein: 7 receptions, 147 yards, 3 TDs
Brion Robinson, QB, Springbrook: 138 rushing yards, TD
Mike Sheehan, QB, Clarksburg: 107 yards
David Smith, QB, Paint Branch: 175 yards, 3 TDs
Rachid Ibrahim, RB, Avalon: 119 yards, TD
Billy Brown, WR, Gaithersburg: over 100 total yards, TD
Lincon Reyes, QB, Gaithersburg:167 yards, TD
Matty Callahan, QB, Northwest: 281 yards, 3 TDs
Chris Papadopoulos, QB, Wootton 225 yards, TD
Joe Kelly, WR, Wootton: 5 receptions, 135 yards, TD
Zeke Turner, RB, Glen Burnie: 99 yards, 2 TDs
Brady George, QB, Broadneck: 128 yards
Rob Chesson, RB, Old Mill: 215 yards, 4 TDs
Tavon Spears, RB, North County: 153 yards, TD
Keith Collins, RB, Annapolis: 101 yards, TD
Calvin Green, RB, Severna Park: 220 yards, 3 TDs
Austin Stein, QB, Severna Park: 120 yards, 2 TDs
Calvinaugh Jones, RB, Meade: 135 yards, TD
Isiah Alston, WR, Meade: 12 receptions, 117 yards
Tyree Turner, QB, Meade: 157 yards
Josh McPhearson, RB, AACS: 237 yards, 3 TDs
Phillip Butler, RB, North Hagerstown: 131 yards, 3 TDs
JT Root, QB, North Hagerstown: over 100 total yards, 3 TDs
Heath Dahlgren, QB, Thomas Johnson: 222 yards, 2 TDs
TJ Hess, QB, South Hagerstown: 175 yards
Jarrod Harper, RB, Mountain Ridge: 136 yards, 4 TDs
Anthony Spataro, RB, Mountain Ridge: 104 yards, 2 TDs; punt return TD
Josh Vaughn, RB, Mountain Ridge: 100 yards
Josh Mason, RB, Northern Garrett: 120 yards, 2 TDs
Chris Murdock, QB, Northern Garrett: 123 rushing yards
Kenny Faulcon, QB, Aberdeen: 160 yards, 4 TDs
Ryan Black, RB, Loyola: over 100 yards, 3 TDs
Jake Clise, QB, Loyola: over 100 total yards, 2 TDs
Nick Crabill, RB, Glenelg: over 100 yards, 3 TDs
Avery Williams, RB, Curley: 173 yards
Nate Lewnes, RB, St. Mary's: 185 yards, 3 TDs
Walter Fletcher, RB, Centennial: 195 yards
Tyler Morris, QB, Centennial: 103 yards, TD
Malik Gilmore, QB, Mt. Hebron: 105 yards, TD
David Jones, RB, McDonough: 150 yards, TD
Zach Piazza, QB, Huntingtown: 157 yards, 2 TDs
Connor Young, QB, North Point: 115 yards
Tre Lee, QB, Patuxent: 194 total yards, 2 TDs
Dakota Edwards, ATH, Patuxent: 100 total yards, 2 TDs
EJ Montgomery, QB, Reservoir: 107 yards, TD; 39 rushing yards
John Houston, RB, Ryken: 150 yards
KaDarius Campbell, RB, Ryken: 100 total yards, TD
Ben Priddy, QB, Severn: 151 yards, 4 TDs
James Steingieser, QB, MSD: 96 yards, 2 TDs
Brendan Marshall, QB, Good Counsel: 132 yards, 2 TDs
Stefon Diggs, WR, Good Counsel: 6 receptions, 101 yards, 2 TDs; rushing TD
Antonio Washington, QB, Potomac: 190 yards, 2 TDs; rushing TD
Dondre Echols, WR, Potomac: 5 receptions, 109 yards, 2 TDs
Taitor Reynolds, QB, Douglass--PG: 101 yards, 2 TDs
Josef Hinnant, RB, Douglass-PG: 141 yards; receiving TD
Phil Pena, QB, Landon: 128 yards, 3 TDs
Myles Allen, RB, Landon: 126 yards, TD
Chase Powell, RB, Wise: 131 yards, 2 TDs
Dequan Boatwright, QB, Bladensburg: 159 yards, 2 TDs
Robert Moore, WR, Crossland: 9 receptions, 244 yards, 2 TDs
Quinton Green, QB, Crossland: 241 yards, 2 TDs
Shamik Perry, RB, DuVal: 139 yards, 2 TDs
Dewayne Staten, RB, Gwynn Park: 102 yards, TD
Jay Adams, QB, Gwynn Park: 102 yards, 2 TDs
Ronald Giddings, RB, Parkdale: 148 yards, TD
Clement Ojie, QB ,Parkdale: 176 yards, 2 TDs
Stephan Freeman, WR, Parkdale: 7 receptions, 176 yards, 2 TDs
Andre Dalton, RB, Forestville: 158 yards, 3 TDs
Jameel Kirkland, QB, Forestville: 139 yards, TD; 2 rushing TDs
Jovante Seard, QB, Northwestern-PG: 189 yards, 2 TDs
Tamlin Antoine, QB, Roosevelt: 175 yards, 3 TDs
Shaquile Guyton-Jackson, RB, Surrattsville: 131 yards, 2 TDs
Danny Williams, QB, Surrattsville: over 100 total yards, 3 TDs
Collin Schildt, RB, Catoctin: 119 yards
Garrett Clay, RB, Fort Hill: 121 yards, 2 TDs
Troy Taylor, RB, Snow Hill: 141 yards, TD
Marlon Jones, RB, Easton: 140 yards
Dontea Ayres, RB, Wicomico: 111 yards, 4 TDs
Keagan Rosario, RB, Cambridge: 108 yards
Sonny Scrivner, RB, North Caroline: 120 yards, TD
Troy Barton, RB, Parkside: 139 yards, TD
Kevin Berry, QB, Overlea: over 100 total yards, TD
Aaron Armes, QB, Baltimore Lutheran: 216 yards, 6 TDs
Jordan Smith, WR, Baltimore Lutheran: 4 receptions, 107 yards, 3 TDs
Dave Dooley, WR, Baltimore Lutheran: 4 receptions, 93 yards, 4 TDs
John Nunes, RB, Baltimore Lutheran: 104
Nyema Washington, QB, Suitland: 213 yards, 2 TDs
Anthony Squire, RB, Suitland: 216 yards, 3 TDs
Marc Badger, RB, Fallston: 171 yards, TD
John Hetterman, QB, Fallston: 103 yards, TD
Ryan Patrick, RB, South Carroll: 131 yards, 2 TDs
Patrick Clemons, RB, Perry Hall: 116 yards, TD
Eric Latham, RB, Perry Hall: 113 yards, TD
Mike Jones, WR, Milford Mill: 6 receptions, 96 yards
Kyle McEachern, QB, Milford Mill: 234 yards
Joe Peaker, RB, Perryville: over 100 yards, 2 TDs
Joey Clark, ATH, Queen Anne's: over 150 total yards, 2 TDs
Mike Layton, RB, Queen Anne's: 109 yards, 2 TDs
*Note: It is possible, with hundreds and hundreds of names flying across the wire, that some offensive standout was overlooked. Also, defensive statistics are not included since a) some teams do not keep them and b) they aren't always reliable.