For area athletes, Maryland Crab Bowl more than exhibition game

December 20, 2013

Meade offensive lineman Jake Hawk, who will play at Navy next season, is one of many area athletes who will be competing in this weekend’s Crab Bowl. (Photo by Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post)

Malcolm Brown’s high school football career, in effect, ended 27 days ago after Quince Orchard lost in the Maryland 4A West region final. His college future has loomed larger in the days since, and last week he committed to Delaware after deliberating over offers from East Carolina, Villanova and Old Dominion.

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But the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back is one of the best high school players in Maryland, and with that title comes one final chance to play on a high school stage this weekend in the sixth annual Maryland Crab Bowl at McDaniel College. It is a young showcase, started when Brown was in the seventh grade, but it is gaining more and more clout each year, he said.

“It means a lot to me to be selected,” Brown said. “It’s a game with some of the best athletes in Maryland, with some of the best football players in Maryland.”

Considered the top high school all-star game in Maryland, the Crab Bowl has become an institution among the players participating – with the top players from the Washington area squaring off against the best talent from the Baltimore area. The game has five alumni who are now playing in the NFL, including St. Louis Rams’ wide receiver Tavon Austin and Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins, not to mention about 450 former alumni who are now playing college football.

“It’s an honor to be able to represent the area that I’ve grown up in and grown to know. And also, it’s good to be playing football again,” Sherwood running back Elijah Spottswood said. “My cousin (former Sherwood standout Fernando Smith) played in it two years ago, so it’s been something I’ve been aiming for.”

While Baltimore won last year’s game, 28-7, the Washington team has won three of the five contests. This year’s roster boasts talent from territories far and wide, from WCAC schools to the best players from Montgomery, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties. The team includes All-Mets in linebacker Jerome Dews (Potomac, Md.) and defensive end Micah Till (Wise) and numerous heavily recruited prospects, including Gonzaga safety Miles Taylor (Georgia Tech), Meade defensive lineman Jake Hawk (Navy) and Annapolis Area Christian wide receiver Demetrius Johnson, who holds offers from Maryland and North Carolina State, among others.

For other players, the game represents the pinnacle of a productive season, and another chance at college exposure. That is the way Gaithersburg defensive lineman Avery Taylor is viewing the game. He took a leave from the Trojans basketball team to take part in team practices at Arundel High School this week. The coaching staff, consisting off several DeMatha coaches, has already helped Taylor polish his pass rush moves and technique in helping with run support, he said. Having just earned an an offer from Division II Fairmont State on Tuesday, he is hoping to gain even more notice in Saturday’s game after a season in which he posted  seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss, and also was a centerpiece on Gaithersburg’s offensive line.

“I feel like this game will get a lot of recruiters to notice my abilities,” the 6-foot-1, 228-pound Taylor said. “It’s great to know people are thinking of me as one of the best defensive players in the county.”

NUMBER CRUNCH: 13

The number of points by which Mountain View trailed at the start of the fourth quarter during Thursday night’s boys basketball game against Freedom-Woodbridge. What happened next left the Eagles stunned.

BREAKFAST LINKS

– Eleanor Roosevelt center Tolu Omokore was at her usual best Thursday night, dominating on the boards to lead the fifth-ranked Raiders to an important win over rival Bowie.

– Yorktown football star M.J. Stewart is planning to enroll early at North Carolina this winter, eyeing the chance to get a head-start at his college football career – where plenty of transition awaits. 

– Former Damascus star Conn0r Frazier and several other former area stars are fueling Towson’s terrific run through the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs this month.

VIDEO: ST. JOHN”S QUARTET HOPES TO LEAD CADETS TO WCAC TITLE

VIDEO: PREVIEWING HERNDON VS. SOUTH LAKES

VIDEO: PREVIEWING O’CONNELL VS. POTOMAC

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Boys’ basketball: South Lakes at No. 19 Herndon, 7:30 p.m.

Herndon (5-2) has responded to two straight losses last week with a pair of wins, and is led by 6-4 guard Dorian Johnson (22.2 ppg). South Lakes (2-3) – winners of two straight – counters with a star 6-4 guard of its own in junior Brandon Kamga, who had 23 points in a win over Marshall last week.

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.
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Chelsea Janes · December 19, 2013