Cougars finding place in the line

September 03, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

THURMONT, Md. - As leader of the Catoctin football bandwagon, head coach Doug Williams has one thing to say to all those who want to jump on - get in line.

And if you just happen to play offensive or defensive line, then go directly to the front.

Williams' Cougars have plenty of skill players back, but are hoping some of the big boys from a standout junior varsity team in 1997 come through.

"You're only as good as your lines," said Williams, who enters his eighth season. "People have got to step up ... No one in particular, because they're all so similar in ability."

Senior Jason Brantner - the only returning starter up front - is already showing newcomers Steve Smith, Dane Miller, Terry Green and Jared Blakeslee (check names) how to survive in the MVAL.


"Jason's doing an excellent job," Williams said. "He's not only a leader on the line, but for the whole team."

That's because Brantner knows what's behind him on offense. Junior running back Chad Dewees was the only sophomore on the All-Small School team last season, and wide receiver Michael Irvine and quarterback Chad Wiley, both seniors, return to fuel the offensive fire.

"We do have a very nice quarterback-receiver combination," Williams said. "But we still have to protect them. Receivers can't catch the ball if the quarterback can't throw it to him."

And as much as "Brantner & Co." must shine for the offense, Williams knows they need to come through on the defense even more. The Cougars return only two starters on that side of the ball, both of them in the secondary (Dewees and Irvine).

"We weren't good on defense at all last year, and everyone's kinda new there now," Williams said. "But we're better on every level, if you ask me. That's how good these guys can be."

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