Welcome to the 2013 Enoch Office/Varsity Sports Network preseason Top 20 football poll. VSN ranks the top teams in the Baltimore region which covers public and private schools in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.
As we progress towards the regular season, we will countdown our 2013 Enoch Office/VSN Football Preseason Rankings from No. 20 all the way to No. 1.
2012 record: 9-3 (MIAA A Conference finalists; No. 3 in final VSN Top 20)
Coach: Donald Davis (6th season at Calvert Hall; 48-24)
Returning starters – 11
Key returning starters – Nick Auvil, Sr., offensive line, 6-3, 260; Trevor Beam, Sr., offensive line, 6-3, 280; Drew Devanney, Jr., offensive line, 6-1, 240; Eric Evans, Sr., tight end, 6-4, 230; Colar Kuhns, Sr., quarterback, 6-2, 210; Juantez McRae, Jr., safety/cornerback, 6-0, 180; Kevin Nickel, Sr., linebacker/running back, 6-1, 210; Mason Phoenix, Sr., defensive end, 6-4, 230; Nick Smith, Sr., running back/strong safety/cornerback, 5-8, 175; Rahshaun Smith, So., linebacker, 6-3, 230; Spencer Tuveson, Sr., defensive line, 6-2, 260
Key returning players – Dionte Austin, Jr., cornerback, 6-0, 180; Lawrence Cager, Jr., wide receiver, 6-5, 200; Jaire Dorsey, Jr., linebacker, 5-11, 180; DJ Farmer, Jr., running back, 5-8, 160; Stephen Grebeleski, Sr., linebacker, 5-11, 215; Marcelllus Harrison, Jr., offensive line, 6-0, 255; Marcus Hicks, Jr., linebacker, 510, 185; Romel Little, Jr., nose guard, 6-0, 340; Shane Nelson, Jr., wide receiver, 6-2, 175; Russell Neverdon, Sr., running back/wide receiver, 5-9, 175; Jake Soriano, Sr., kicker, 6-0, 160
Key newcomers – Travon Hollis, So., fullback, 5-11, 220; Micah Keels, Jr., defensive back, 6-3, 190; Morgan Scroggins, So., wide receiver, 6-0, 180; Nick Tirabassi, Jr., offensive guard, 5-11, 230
Outlook – The Cardinals will again be in the chase for the MIAA A Conference championship. The Towson school debut last Saturday with a 17-7 loss to St. John’s College in northwest Washington.
Calvert Hall have back 30 letter winners who helped it to the league finals for a second straight year in 2012. Kuhns, who holds offers from Bryant University, Bucknell, Cornell, Eastern Kentucy, Toledo and William & Mary, returns to guide the offense. Auvil, Beam, Devanney and Harrison are back up front.
Smith and Neverdon highlights the backfield. Neverdon, ranked No. 31 in Rivals.com’s Top 35 seniors in Maryland, is the Cardinals’ most dynamic offensive player with receivers Cager and Nelson potentially ready for breakout seasons.
Evans, an all-MIAA A pick last fall and Ohio State lacrosse commit, may be the area’s best tight end (has offer from Eastern Michigan). Soriano was also an all-MIAA A pick last year.
“The line’s experienced, the quarterback’s experienced, we got a good line coming back, the question is can we run the football?,” said Davis, who graduated Robbie Jones (Flagler College; baseball), Garrett Keene (Morgan State) and Stephen Kelly (North Carolina; lacrosse) from the backfield.
The Cardinals managed just 163 yards in the season opener last weekend. The defense, which showed well against St. John’s, has two of the MIAA A’s best in Tuveson and Smith.
Tuveson, a two-year starter, has a host of Division I-AA offers while Smith had an impressive freshman campaign last fall. Smith, who has more than a dozen Division I verbal offers, moves from the defensive line.
“Right now, we want to see how he does,” said Davis. “He’s really athletic.”
Nickel, Dorsey and Grebeleski is alongside Rahshaun Smith. Davis is excited about Nick Smith, McRae, Austin and Keels, a Bullis School transfer, in the secondary.
“They’re going to be fast. Our linebackers may not be as big, but everybody can run,” said Davis. “We’re going to be okay.”
The Cardinals have a tough non-league schedule with Florida powerhouse Trinity Catholic (Saturday evening), followed by Baltimore County stronghold Franklin and five-time reigning Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champ Good Counsel, which is ranked No. 1 in the state media poll. Calvert Hall has a late season match with Cecil County-based Eastern Christian Academy, which has a host of Division I commits.
Calvert Hall, which played in the 2012 and 2011 MIAA A league finals after winning the crown in 2010, opens league play against newcomer St. Frances Academy. Six of the league’s seven programs are ranked in VSN’s preseason Top 20.
“Gilman is going to be darn good and McDonogh is going to be very good,” said Davis. “We’ll be in the mix.”
Aug. 24 at St. John’s (17-7 loss)…Cardinals drop first season opener since 2009.
Aug. 31 vs. Trinity Catholic (1-0 in 2013)…Florida school lost in Class 3A state region finals last year.
Sept. 7 at Franklin (10-2 in 2012)…Indians won Baltimore County 4A/3A league championship in 2012.
Sept. 13 vs. Good Counsel (0-1 in 2013)…First meeting with Montgomery County powerhouse since 1976.
Sept. 21 vs. Lake Clifton (4-6)…First meeting with Baltimore City program since 1991 (Calvert Hall won, 40-6).
Sept. 28 vs. St. Frances Academy (1-0 in 2013)…Panthers make MIAA A Conference debut.
Oct. 5 at McDonogh School (1-0 in 2013)…Calvert Hall has won last four decisions.
Oct. 18 vs. Mount St. Joseph (4-7 in 2012)…Cardinals outlasted Gaels in OT during regular season and won 37-12 in league semifinals last year.
Oct. 25 at Gilman School (1-0 in 2013)…Greyhounds have won last three decisions including 2012 and 2011 MIAA A finals.
Nov. 8 vs. Archbishop Spalding (5-5 in 2012)…Calvert Hall has won three in a row.
Nov 15 vs. Eastern Christian Academy (3-0 in 2012)…Cecil County program has six Division I commits, led by junior quarterback David Sills (Southern California).
Nov. 28 vs. Loyola Blakefield (5-6 in 2012) at Unitas Stadium…Calvert Hall has won four straight in the Turkey Bowl, which Loyola leads, 48-37-8.