Commentary

Programs of the Decade: 6-10

Updated: December 31, 2009, 10:04 AM ET
By Mike Loveday & Sheldon Shealer | ESPN RISE

1-5 | 6-10 | 11-50 | All-Decade Team | Decade's Top Performances |

Who are the best programs of the decade?

Zach Zwinak
Mike LovedayZwinak was a 2009 Consensus All-State selection.
This could be quite a subjective debate. However, we have tried to apply a little science to this argument, and below is our countdown to the No. 1 program of the decade.

MDVarsity.com continues its look at the best programs of the decade, counting down to the No. 1 program which will be released on Thursday. Today, we take at look at teams six through 10.

In sizing up the best programs, the following factors are given consideration: win-loss record, number of playoff appearances, quality of postseason results and, ultimately, number of championships. Each program in Maryland was ranked based on win-loss records and quality points in each of these areas to arrive at the overall Top 50 programs for the decade of 2000-2009. A perfect score would be 8.000, and that could only be achieved by winning 10 straight Class 4A state titles with a perfect record every season.

The team's mathematical rating is in parentheses.

6. Linganore (3.8910)
Record this decade (Championships): 91-25; (2009)
Best Team: 2009
Best Player: Zach Zwinak (Grad. Yr. 2010)
Overall: The Lancers got off to an auspicious start this decade - going 3-5 in 2001. But the Lancers rebounded with a state title in 2003 and never won fewer than seven games the rest of the decade. Beginning in 2006 Linganore won more games each year (8, 9, 13, 14) and culminating in a state championship this season. The Lancers saved their best team for last with the 2009 team finishing 14-0 in the toughest class in Maryland and winning the 3A championship. Linganore scored 571 points this season and boast two of the most sought after recruits in the nation in running back Zach Zwinak (Penn State) and offensive lineman Robby Havenstein (Wisconsin). This year's Linganore team had wins over Class 4A state semifinalist Thomas Johnson and playoff teams, Tuscarora, Huntingtown, Damascus, Quince Orchard and Middletown. And speaking of Zwinak, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior gets the nod as Linganore's best player. The 2009 Consensus All-State selection, Zwinak rushed for 3,457 yards and 42 touchdowns over the past two years.

7. Joppatowne (3.8184)
Record this decade (Championships): 96-28; (2003)
Best Team: 2009
Best Player: Jeremy Navarre (2005)
Overall: Although Joppatowne won a title in 2003, its best team was the 2009 squad that finished second to Catoctin. The Mariners scored 400 points led by its best quarterback of the 2000s - Dominic Harper - and a pair of solid running backs in Epe Henriques and Chris Wright. Defensively, the Mariners allowed only 146 points, but 44 of those came in two playoff games in which its best player, Jake McGinnis, was out with injury. As for the best player this decade, Jeremy Navarre is a no-brainer. A two-time Consensus All-State selection, Navarre never recorded less then 147 tackles in three years at Joppatowne and led the team to the 2003 state title. In that championship game, Navarre recorded 14 tackles.

8. Eastern Tech (3.7884)
Record this decade (Championships): 101-20; (2009)
Best Team: 2007
Best Player: Dietrich Wright (2004)
Overall: Eastern Tech is quietly one of the steadiest programs in the state, but often gets overshadowed in Baltimore County by Hereford. The Mavericks' win-loss percentage is above .800 and has the fourth-most wins this decade just behind DeMatha, Hereford and Dunbar. The Mavericks won at least 10 games five times this decade, including three straight 13-1 seasons. Head coach Marc Mesaros took Eastern Tech to the Class 2A state championship game in each of the past three seasons, winning the title this year. While the 2009 squad won the title, the nod for the best team goes to the 2007 squad. The 2007 team was dominant on offense and defense and led River Hill 7-0 at halftime of the title game. It was the first time that season the Hawks had allowed a first half touchdown and trailed at halftime. The offense boasted Darian Conners and Emmanuel Gbor in the backfield. Accoding to Mesaros the 2007 team, "was explosive on offense and had that refuse to lose mentality." As for the Mavericks best player over the past 10 years, Dietrich Wright gets the nod. The 2003 Consensus All-State selection, Wright rushed for 1,738 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior. At the time of his graduation, Wright held the state record for career rushing touchdowns with 86.

Jelani Jenkins
Photo courtesy of Jenkins familyJelani Jenkins was a two-time Consensus All-State selection.
9. Good Counsel (3.7656)
Record this decade (Championships): 85-27; (2009)
Best Team: 2008
Best Player: Jelani Jenkins (2009)
Overall: The Falcons made six Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Championship games this decade and earned its first title game victory this season with a 14-7 win over DeMatha. Since Bob Milloy has taken over the Good Counsel program the WCAC has become a two-team race with the Falcons consistently challenging the Stags for supremacy. While the 2009 team won the championship, the Falcons 2008 team would have to be considered their best. Last year's team, which went 11-0 until losing to DeMatha in the WCAC final, boasted future Division I players: Jelani Jenkins, Mike Wallace, Caleb Porzel, Tyler Campbell among others. On that same team, Troy Gloster, E.J. Scott, Frank Tamakaloe, Mike Pitsenberger, A.J. Bowman and Louis Young were juniors. As for the program's best player this decade, Jenkins gets the nod. A two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, the 2008 State Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time Consensus All-State selection, Jenkins currently plays for the University of Florida.

10. Allegany (3.7656)
Record this decade (Championships): 90-31; (2001, 2005)
Best Team: 2005
Best Player: Donavin Vinson (2006)
Overall: The last time Allegany had a losing season was 1993 and they rebounded after that season to make the state semifinals. Since 2000, the program has won two state titles and made three appearances in the 1A championship game, most recently in 2007. The Campers 2005 team finished 14-0 scored 451 points and only allowed 157 on its way to the Class 1A state championship. Donavin Vinson could be considered the Campers best player of the past 10 years - making Small School All-State in 2004 and 2005. Vinson earned the honors as an all-purpose player in 2004 after he made 33 catches for 673 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense. Vinson also had four interceptions on defense and returned two kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns that season. In 2005, Vinson made 32 catches for 738 yards and eight touchdowns and earned All-State honors as a defensive back. On defense the senior made 79 tackles and four interceptions.

ESPNRise encourages comments from its users. Leave a comment below. Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com