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August 16, 2011
Hampton Roads/Eastern Va. vs. Baltimore/D.C.
MORE WINNERS: Charlotte | Dallas
In this two-week series, Rivals.com is taking a look at the high school football talent in rival regions - breaking down the best prospects, best teams and giving our vote for which area is superior.
TODAY'S MATCHUP: Hampton Roads/Eastern Virginia vs. Baltimore/Washington D.C.
The Case for Hampton Roads
The Hampton Roads region has been a hotbed of D-I talent for years and is arguably one of the top 10 areas in the country when it comes to talent per square mile. The region is loaded at every position expect for one - offensive line.
Class of 2013 quarterback Bucky Hodges from Salem is a high-level talent, as is stud running back and Virginia Tech pledge J.C. Coleman from Oscar Smith and 2013 running back Taquan Mizzell from Bayside.
The top wide receivers in this region are a great combination of size and speed with Romond Deloatch from Phoebus and speedy-yet-powerful Anthony Cooper from Bayside and Mario Nixon from Norfolk Christian School, both Virginia commitments. Add in fellow Virginia commitment Kyle Dockins from Landstown and this is a loaded group.
Defensively, the Hampton Roads region has plenty of talent, led by one of the nation's top inside linebackers in Kwontie Moore from Norfolk Christian School, another Virginia commitment.
Defensive end and Virginia commitment Eli Harold from Ocean Lakes is a terror off the edge. Also up front are Courtnye Wynn from Norfolk Christian School, Virginia Tech commitment Alston Smith from Cox and 2014 phenom Andrew Brown from Indian River.
The Case for Baltimore/D.C.
When it comes to producing D-I talent in Maryland, Good Counsel and DeMatha usually come to mind first. However, prospects on those two squads are not being considered in this measure of the city's talent. And even if you take away those two programs and focus strictly on two cities - Baltimore and Washington, D.C. - there is formidable talent. On offense, there are dynamic wide receivers in Deontay McManus from Baltimore Dunbar and Cyrus Jones from Gilman. Quarterback Benjamin Onett from St. John's College High, a Temple commitment, is more than capable of distributing the football.
Up front, there are Georgia commitment Greg Pyke from Boys Latin School, Brian Gaia from Gilman (Penn State), Derrick Nelson from Archbishop Carroll (Rutgers) and 2013 stud Derwin Gray from Washington Dunbar.
On defense, the nation's No. 4 player, defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, is from Friendship Collegiate Academy. Other studs on the D-line include 2013 future star defensive tackle Henry Poggi from Gilman and defensive ends De'Jon Wilson from H.D. Woodson and Charles Tapper from City College, an Oklahoma commitment.
At defensive back, Kenneth Crawley from H.D. Woodson is long and fast while Albert Reid from Friendship Collegiate Academy, a West Virginia commitment, is athletic. Defensive back and Virginia Tech commitment Donovan Riley from Baltimore Poly and 2014 future star Jalen Tabor from Friendship Collegiate Academy have great instincts.
However, the Baltimore/D.C. area lacks a bit in the linebacker and running back positions.
The weakness along the offensive line for Hampton Roads is glaring, but so is the lack of running backs for Baltimore/ DC. Defensively, Virginia is deeper and a bit more athletic overall so they get the nod. But this one is close.
In a rare year of parity in Hampton Roads and the Tidewater Area - combined with a stunning season of solid players, teams and increasingly strong coaching in Washington, D.C and Baltimore - the edge for team play in 2011 likely favors the Capitol region. A pairing of the highest level teams would match Baltimore (Md.) Gilman and Olney (Md.) Good Counsel against Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside and Hampton (Va.) Phoebus; the expectation would be a sweep for the Maryland schools. It is an unusual year that Phoebus is not the lead dog in that quartet but this season it enters as the No. 4 team showing just how high the bar has been raised when comparing the two areas. Depth is likely still in favor of Eastern Virginia but at the top end the pendulum has swung the opposite direction.
- Dallas Jackson