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Little brother Brandon takes the spotlight

September 05, 2008|By BOB Parasiliti

BOONSBORO -- A year ago, Brandon McLean was "the other one."

In 2007, Boonsboro was a two McLean family. Ryan McLean was the Warriors' senior featured back. Brandon ... well, he was the little brother, the upstart sophomore who was Boonsboro's surprising "change of pace" guy.

"I kind of sneaked in through the back door," McLean said. "Last year, they keyed on Ryan and didn't look at me. Ryan was the main player for us. He was here for three years because he started as a sophomore. Last year, he was the senior and I was the sophomore."

And this year, Brandon is the junior, keeping Boonsboro's McLean rushing franchise alive all by himself.

As far as Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders is concerned, two McLeans was a luxury, so having just one of the brothers is still pretty darn good.

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"He's a difference maker," Anders said. "He's a quick kid and has some good skills. On the (Class) 1A level, a difference maker is a guy who can get a couple of yards and break a couple of tackles and break the play to something big. You need a couple of big-play guys."

Ryan McLean was the area's second-leading rusher last season with 1,301 yards and 11 touchdowns. Andrew Griffith was second on the Warriors' list with 680 yards, but a close third was Brandon with 617 yards and six TDs.

The key to the McLeans, though, wasn't the yardage as much as the average gain per carry. Ryan averaged 10.8 per run while Brandon added the clout of 9.6 yards every time he toted the ball.

Now McLean goes from complimentary player to feature back, aiming to keep the average up. He continues to follow his brother's path, starting as a sophomore with the Warriors and now moving over to left halfback, the featured back spot.

"Speed is the greatest denominator," Anders said. "You got to have the wheels. He is much like Ryan."

McLean has modest goals for the season. Help the team to a winning record. Shoot for 100 yards per game and 1,000 for the season. And there is the hope to be an All-County and All-Area player.

But there is one big thing he'd like to add.

"I'd like to score a touchdown per game, at least," the 5-foot-9, 181-pounder said.

That would be a big part of the difference-making process for Anders.

"I think we could have a big year, but it would be hard to imagine if we could do it without him," Anders said. "If something would happen to him, we have kids who can play in that position, but we wouldn't be as dynamic. Plays that he could break for touchdowns would probably go for 20 yards."

Yards and honors are fine, but McLean would like to accomplish something that Ryan -- or any other Warrior player, for that matter -- couldn't.

"I hope we can go to the playoffs and go further than we have in the past three years," McLean said. "We have made the playoffs and gotten beat in the first round. I hope we can get to at least the second round or much deeper."

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