There’s a certain atmosphere that comes with high school football that can’t be replicated in any other sport. You combine the crisp, cool fall night air, the glaring lights beating down on the field, and the roar of a home crowd s the team takes the field; you just can’t beat it.
But if it’s possible to enhance the moment, undefeated North Harford (3-0 overall) does, and the Hawks’ senior captains Cody Turner and Brandon Bayer are taking full advantage of it.
The two seniors have seen a lot of changes up by the Pennsylvania line; a change from a grass field to artificial turf, a general maturation of the North Harford team and the huge strides each have taken from being a junior varsity prospect to top players in the Baltimore metro area.
“To lead our team and be positive role models on the field in practice and in the school, it is the most important thing,” Hawks’ head coach Ken Brinkman said of Bayer and Turner. “They are good players, but I love them both. We have a good time together, and I’m glad to have them on my team.”
Turner is already on pace to surpass his 2009 passing totals with 232 yards and four touchdowns (threw six last season) in his first three games this season. He’s also averaging 10 yards a carry with five touchdowns in the first three games of 2010. As a junior last season, he averaged nine yards a touch.
“In the beginning, I was a little scared, because I was a sophomore,” said Turner, who had 62 yards in four games as a sophomore. “I stepped up my 11th grade year and really stepped up my 12thgrade year to become a starter, a captain and a leader.”
“I just see what we have to do, remember to make my reads and execute my plays,” Turner explained, while citing that “watching film, sighting tendencies and working out an overall game plan,” are keys to the Hawks’ success.
If you want to talk ground domination in North Harford, you have to talk Bayer, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound powerhouse who breaks through the defensive line and is nearly uncatchable when being chased to the end zone.
It’s hard to compare Bayer to his 2009 season where he rushed 1,373 yards on 233 carries with 17 touchdowns, but the running back has already cleared 275 yards on 34 carries in 2010 with two rushing touchdowns.
“The first couple years, I was not as fast,” Bayer said, referencing track as a key to his increased speed. “I picked up some speed, our line got better and we all just progressed.”
Bayer rushed for 131 yards on eight carries in the first half against the Edgewood Rams last Friday. The senior is garnering statewide attention as he’s been selected to play in the Crab Bowl Senior All-Star game in December at Bowie State University.
“I just focus on that I have to do, what the team has to do, and it all has to come together when you hit the field,” Bayer said.
The pieces have come together for North Harford, ranked No. 9 in the latest VSN Metro Top 20. Bayer and Turner are being looked at by Stevenson and Salisbury universities.
“Cody is more of a vocal leader, Brandon is more of a physical leader, but they have done a great job,” said Brinkman. “Every year you can see these guys work harder in the weight room, get bigger, stronger and faster.”