Annapolis back repeats as Rhodes winner; Laramore award goes to Salsich
By Kevin Bradford
Annapolis record-setting senior running back Rayvon Johnson has become only the third player to win the Jim Rhodes Memorial Trophy twice in the 41 year history of the award and the first repeat winner in 29 years.
Severn School senior Joe Salsich, a dominating two-way lineman who verbally committed to Wake Forest, is this year’s recipient of the Al Laramore Memorial award. Salsich is the first Severn player to win the Laramore award, which is named after the former Annapolis coach who is the county’s all-time winningest football coach with 156 victories.
Both awards are given annually by the Touchdown Club of Annapolis to Anne Arundel County’s top high school football player and top lineman. Johnson and Salsich will receive their honors at the Touchdown Club of Annapolis’ annual banquet in February.
Johnson, the county’s all-time leading rusher with 4,044 yards, joins Annapolis’ Bill Glotzbach (59-60) and Arundel’s Louis Carter (’69-70) as the only two-time winners. Johnson is also the ninth Annapolis player to win the award. Annapolis has won a county-best 11 Rhodes trophies.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Annapolis coach Roy Brown said. “The past two years there have been several qualified candidates, guys like Darren Johnson (Spaulding), Mike Pfisterer (North County) and Kelvin Collins (old Mil) this year and Martel Threadgill (Broadneck) and Andrew Smith (Meade) last year. There’s been some outstanding competition, and he beat them all out. We’re very proud of him.”
Johnson, a 5 foot 10 and 175 pound speedster, owns the top two single-season rushing performances in county history. After becoming the first back to surpass the 2,000 yard plateau in his first season of high school football as a junior. Johnson rushed for 1984 yards this year and set county records for touchdowns (29) and points (178) in a single season.
He also had six catches for 232 yards receiving and two touchdowns through the air and averaged 9.4 yards per carry. The two-time Capital-Gazette Newspapers’ Player of the Year had four interceptions and two fumble recoveries on defense and also played special teams.
Johnson tied the county record for career 200-yard games with nine during his 22 game career. He set school marks for most rushing TD’s in a season (47) and career (45), career touchdowns (49), yards rushing in a game (330) and touchdowns in a game (5).
“Even though teams knew we were going to run the ball, he single-handedly was just not going to be stopped,” Brown said. “He set some very significant records and was a great player for two years.”
Salsich, a chiseled 6 foot 4 and 250 pounder who bench presses 280 and squats 400, was a three year starter at left tackle and defensive end. He was a tenacious blocker on offense, often pancaking opponents and using his speed and athleticism to pull on counter plays.
“His fundamentals and technique are awesome on both sides of the ball,” Severn coach john Beckman said. “We ran at least 75 percent of our plays behind him. What makes him exceptionally well is that when the ball was run away from him he was always down field blocking.”
On defense, Salsich had 81 tackles, 4.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and batted down seven balls at the line of scrimmage. He has been time at 4.8 seconds in the 40 yard dash and chased down ballcarriers from sideline to sideline when they ran away from him.
“Joe is one of the hardest working four-year players I ever saw,” Beckman said. “He’s extremely strong and powerful and has legitimate 4.8 speed. He played until the whistle blew and was always looking for someone to hit on every play and that’s what Wake Forest liked about him.”