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Rishell makes noise on the field

December 16, 2007|By MARK KELLER

Did Smithsburg defensive end Dan Rishell live up to expectations in 2007?

"The kind of year he had you would have expected from Reggie White," said Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff. "You don't expect that out of a high school kid."

Rishell had a monstrous senior season for the Leopards, leading the Tri-State area with 17 sacks in the regular season and making 74 tackles, including 25 for losses, earning himself The Herald-Mail's All-Area and All-Washington County Defensive Player of the Year awards.

"We expected him to be solid and do his job, to be better than he was last season," Orndorff said. "Obviously, he did that. But then again, am I surprised? No, I'm not."

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Rishell was a quiet leader on the field for the Leopards, who enjoyed their best regular season (9-1) and won a share of their first league title since 1984.

"I'm not one to yell at guys. I'm more the type to say 'Keep your head up' just more encouraging," Rishell said.

That demeanor led Orndorff to pull Rishell aside before his junior year to lay down the law, to some degree.

"He and I had a discussion," Orndorff said with a laugh. "It was more like I told him what I expected him to do, what I expected to get from him if he was going to get playing time. And he responded well, had a quiet year, but a solid year."

There was no need for another discussion before this season.

"This year, I just kind of look at him and he understands," Orndorff said. "He's really laid back, but he does his job. And he did his job tremendously this year."

Orndorff said Rishell has worked hard in the offseason the last two years to make himself a better football player and specifically, a better pass rusher.

"Coach (Jeff) Barnhart does a great job with him, working on technique," Orndorff said. "He's got long arms, and he gets those arms out and keeps you off his body. He was real successful keeping kids away from him this year."

Rishell's size (6-foot-5, 185 pounds) helps him to get around offensive tackles who are usually shorter and heavier than he is.

"I just try to get a good jump on the ball and use the quickness I have to get around the linemen," Rishell said. "I think just having a nose for the ball makes a difference."

Rishell's football future is up in the air at this point. He's receiving some interest from Division II and III schools, but he's still unsure whether he wants to play in college.

He was chosen to play in the Beltway Classic all-star game, but declined the invitation because he was committed to playing basketball at Smithsburg.

Rishell did say that wherever he ends up, he's looking to major in accounting and would like to eventually work for the FBI.

"All of the college coaches that have come in here have been impressed with his grades, his personality, and of course you talk about 17, 18 sacks," Orndorff said. "But when you venture into the next level, the competition is better and you have to be dedicated. It has to be something you want to do.

"And I don't think Danny really knows what he wants to do yet."

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