Porzel Shines on National Stage

Porzel Shines on National Stage

After Caleb Porzel raced untouched 56 yards to the end zone for his third touchdown of the first quarter, Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin paced the sideline with an approving grin on his face.

He knows he'll have four years of this.

Three other Maryland assistants and coach Ralph Friedgen looked on from behind the far end zone, having bolted from the Terps' practice to Good Counsel's field. Before they could get through a round of hellos and handshakes, Porzel already had a game's worth of statistics.

He would finish with those three scores--the other two coming on runs of seven and 39 yards--and 124 rushing yards on 16 carries. In just the first quarter, Porzel had 112 rushing yards and a catch for 23 yards.

What Maryland‘s coaches--and a national audience on ESPN2--got to watch Thursday night was a clinic in sheer speed. Porzel, who packs a muscular build into his 5-foot-8 frame and sports a head full of black and blonde dreadlocks, busted out of holes as quickly as he entered them. He whizzed past defenders along the sideline and outran them straight up the field.

"He's a great football player. He really is," said Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy, whose Falcons beat DeMatha 42-21 in front of more than 4,500 Thursday night.

Porzel, a three-year starter at the Olney, Md., school, came into the game with an ankle injury suffered in last week's game. He practiced only twice during the week, but Milloy said Porzel was at 90 percent on Wednesday. "I just said I had to get through it. I can't sit out," Porzel said.

So while there wasn't much doubt he would play, his effectiveness remained in question.

For about five minutes.

Porzel, who said his ankle bothered him right after warm-ups, certainly showed no signs of it on Good Counsel's first drive, which ended in his seven-yard touchdown run on a dash up the right sideline.

Or on his next run--the 39-yarder. Or the next--his 56-yarder. He wasn't touched on either of the three scores.

"Thank God he went today," Milloy said.

After the game, a steady stream of reporters had questions for Porzel, even as the main attraction--highly touted linebacker Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins--stood a few feet away. Porzel smiled and laughed, all the while taking in his surroundings.

When asked what it meant to play in front of a bevy of college coaches and on national television, he said it was a great opportunity for younger players to make their names and maybe catch a coach's eye. When asked how he managed to weave through the DeMatha defense with ease and precision, he deferred credit to Jenkins, the fullback, quarterback Tyler Campbell and the offensive line.

"I just do all the dirty work," he said.

Perhaps dirty isn't the right word, but either way he did plenty of work. Even after cramping up the second half with Good Counsel comfortably ahead, he stayed in the game and added a few more carries.

Milloy said Porzel and the team will have a three-day weekend. He went on to call his running back the fastest guy on the team, a great player and thanked God he played. What more could he say?

"He's just a perfect player," Milloy concluded.

And as he stood in front of a television camera, Milloy paused and had a quick handshake and word with a visitor.

"You've got a good one," he said.

"I hope so," Friedgen said, an approving grin across his face.

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