Damascus Coach Dan Makosy did not have to use much offensive trickery during the Hornets' 2003 playoff run.

It was Matt Reidy left, Matt Reidy right, Matt Reidy up the middle.

Opponents knew it, and they couldn't stop it.

Though Reidy did not start at tailback until the fifth game of the season, when he stepped in for injured starter Sean Delaney, he finished the year with 1,727 yards and 21 touchdowns and earned All-Met honors.

Reidy, then a junior, was at his best in the postseason. In four playoff games, he rushed for 751 yards on 150 attempts -- mostly between the tackles. He carried the ball 40 and 46 times in the Maryland 4A semifinals and championship game, respectively, and carried the Hornets to their first state title since 1996.

But Makosy knows Reidy, who also plays free safety, returns kicks and hardly ever takes a play off, will not be able to shoulder that kind of burden for an entire season -- 14 games if the Hornets get back to the state final.

"We're not going to be able to have him carry the ball 30 to 40 times a game," Makosy said. "If that happens, he'll be done in a short period of time. . . . We're going to spread the ball out a little more this year."

Considering the attention Reidy should draw from opposing defenses, he will be an effective decoy this season. His presence in the backfield will make play-action passes easier to sell, helping a talented receiving corps, led by senior Travis Wertz (five receptions for 81 yards in the state championship game), get open for senior quarterback Jason Sprankle, a first-year starter.

"Everybody's going to be keying on me, so we're just going to have to work around that," Reidy said.

Still, Reidy, now 6 feet 1 and 195 pounds, will be the Hornets' featured back in an offense that specializes in pounding the ball. The offensive line, as usual, will be big and strong, led by senior center Andrew Martinez (5-11, 265), junior guard Steve Baisey (5-11, 235) and senior tackle Sean Seidel (6-1, 210). And though Reidy expressed confidence in the Hornets' other skill position players, he said he would gladly carry the load again if called upon.

"Definitely," Reidy said. "It was fun [last year]. It wasn't even work."

-- Jake Schaller

Damascus senior Matt Reidy had a total of 86 carries in last year's state semifinals and final.