They don't look all that special in uniform, until you see them run. That's when the seniors in the backfield for C.H. Flowers start to look imposing.
Evan McCullough is entering his first season as the team's starting quarterback, Jimmy McClam and Ramond Dixon have started since their freshman year, and Brandon McRae is entering his third season as a running back in the Jaguars' wing-T offense. All four can run the 40-yard dash in times fast enough to attract attention from recruiters for top college programs. Surprisingly, however, they have never felt the need to race to see who is the fastest.
"That's really strange [that] they haven't," C.H. Flowers Coach Mike Mayo said. "Even when they were running forties in camp, they never ran against each other. They work out together and have been doing it so long, I don't think they think about it."
They say they don't. The four spent most of the summer working out together, running stairs and hills, lifting weights, doing plyometrics and sprinting. Competing against each other never seemed interesting, though the clock settles any debate.
McClam said his best time in the 40-yard dash was 4.36 seconds, edging out Dixon, whose best time was 4.37. McCullough came in at 4.41 and McRae, who is 40 to 50 pounds heavier, is at 4.44. Junior running back Raphael Johnson is pretty fast, too.
"Speed is important because we don't have a lot of size," said Dixon, who is 5 feet 7 and weights 160 pounds, the same size as McClam. McCullough is 5-10 and 170 pounds and McRae is 5-10 and 207 pounds.
The Jaguars hope their backfield speed will keep their offense potent. C.H. Flowers scored more than 40 points six times last season en route to a 10-2 record and its first playoff appearance in three varsity seasons. With an inexperienced defense that has Mayo concerned, the Jaguars might need to keep scoring in bunches if they are to be successful in a competitive league that includes Eleanor Roosevelt, the defending Maryland 4A South Region champion, and Suitland.
Despite their speed, none of the backs can claim the title of fastest on the team. That honor, they said, without question belongs to All-Met track star Afolabi Aromire, a national-caliber sprinter who plays wide receiver and cornerback for the Jaguars.
"And nobody knows about him," Mayo said, noting that Aromire missed last football season because of a hip injury.
-- Josh Barr