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McLean keeps the change and thrives

December 16, 2007|By MARK KELLER

Sometimes, a change will do you good.

That was the case for Boonsboro running back Ryan McLean and the rest of the Warriors in 2007, despite some early resistance to that change.

Prior to the first game of the season, Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders wanted to switch McLean from fullback to halfback - a move which would have shifted Andrew Griffith to the fullback spot.

"I talked to the kids involved and they asked me to give them one more week, just get through one game," Anders said.

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Against his better judgment - and his gut feeling - Anders relented and waited. One week later, following a 14-13 loss to Moorefield, the change was made.

And the change was good.

McLean went on to rush for 1,301 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging an area-best 10.8 yards per carry, helping the Warriors into the Maryland Class 1A West playoffs for the third straight year.

McLean's efforts led him to a spot on The Herald-Mail's All-Area Football team and to his selection as The Herald-Mail's Washington County Offensive Player of the Year.

Oh, and he did it all while playing with torn cartilage in his shoulder, an injury suffered during his junior season which led Anders to play McLean only on offense. He underwent surgery on the shoulder on Thursday.

"(The injury) only came out during certain movements, mainly trying to tackle, wrapping up," McLean said. "Coach talked to me about it and he thought I'd be more effective and more durable if I'd just stay on the offensive side."

McLean was one of the few known commodities the Warriors had in the starting lineup on opening day. Boonsboro returned just two starters on either side of the ball.

McLean proved to be a solid building block for an inexperienced team.

"We knew we could build our running game around him," Anders said. "He was the one true, legitimate kid that started all year for us last year. And he was the one kid that we knew exactly what to expect to get from him this season."

Of course, that was before the change. Anders figured McLean would get more carries as the fullback in Boonsboro's wing-T offense, even though Griffith was probably better suited for the fullback role and McLean in the halfback position.

"I think ever since we played pee-wee football, I was the halfback and (Griffith) was the fullback," McLean said. "I got a little bigger, which is typical for the fullback, but I was also faster. Andrew was a little better running straight up."

McLean wasn't the only one who flourished with the change. Griffith finished the season with 680 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

"It was a much better fit for everyone involved once we made that move," Anders said. "That made us much, much better."

The inexperienced Warriors blossomed, too, finishing the regular season 7-3 and edging their way into the regional playoffs.

McLean said he has been offered scholarships by James Madison and Towson and is also looking at Richmond. He said both of his parents attended Towson.

"They both kind of want me to go there, but the campus was beautiful at James Madison," McLean said. "The location and the coaches will both have an impact on my choice."

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