Whitman Coach Dean Swink had just watched Richard Montgomery's Steve Weedon run for 237 yards and four touchdowns on just 17 carries to lead the Rockets to a 33-7 victory Friday night. But Swink still was taken aback when he came face-to-face with the 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior.

"I spoke to him after the game, and I've never been next to a kid that's a skill player who's that physically imposing," Swink said. "He's a man. He is a man."

Weedon's stature made what he did on the field Friday that much more impressive.

"If it was flag football, we wouldn't have gotten his flag," Swink said. "You figure he'll just be a bull in a china shop and run over people, which I'm sure he can do, but he beat us without even having to use that style. That's quite an athlete."

So far this season, Weedon has used both his speed (he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds) and strength (he can bench press 275 pounds) to rush for 1,667 yards on 179 carries (9.3 yards per rush). He has rushed for 13 touchdowns, caught two touchdown passes and thrown two touchdown passes. From his strong-side linebacker spot he has made a team-high 106 tackles and six sacks.

"He makes people miss when he has to, and he runs 'em over when he needs to," Richard Montgomery Coach Mike Bonavia said.

But perhaps most importantly, Weedon has made the players around him more confident and more effective -- something that's apparent when considering Richard Montgomery's record with Weedon and without him.

He started for the Rockets in 2001, when they went 10-1 and reached the Maryland 3A semifinals, and in 2002, when they went 8-1 and barely missed the postseason. Last year, with Weedon academically ineligible and 12 sophomores on the varsity, the Rockets went 1-9, were shut out four times and were outscored 291-64.

This season, granted a fifth year of eligibility, Weedon has led the Rockets to a 6-3 mark. They lost three of their first four games to Damascus, Northwest and Sherwood -- teams with a combined record of 22-5 -- but have won five straight to climb back into contention for the Maryland 4A West Region playoffs. They likely will qualify with a victory over Blair on Friday.

"They're on a roll," Swink said. "And I think they could give some teams a problem in the playoffs."

"He makes people miss when he has to, and he runs 'em over when he needs to," Richard Montgomery Coach Mike Bonavia, center, said of Steve Weedon, right.