Commentary

Programs of the Decade: 1-5

Updated: December 31, 2009, 10:22 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?

Ambrose Wooden
Andy Altenburger/Icon SMIAmbrose Wooden was the 2002 Offensive Player of the Year.
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 completes its look at the best programs of the decade, looking at the Top 5 programs of the past 10 years.

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.

Seneca Valley was the team of the 1990s with a 6.298 rating. Who will be the program of hte 2000s?

The team's mathematical rating is in parentheses.

1. DeMatha (6.3560)
Record this decade (Championships): 106-11(2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Best Team: 2003
Best Player (Grad. Yr.): Ryan Mitch (2003)
Overall: There is no arguing DeMatha as the No. 1 program of the decade. The Stags won eight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) championships, including six straight this decade and have put at least 10 players into college every season. DeMatha has been the most consistent program in Maryland, winning more games over the past 10 years then any other program in Maryland except Hereford who also has 106 victories. The 2003 team that finished 12-0 may have been head coach Bill McGregor's best. That team had four college-bound running backs: Anthony Wiseman (Maryland), Jeff Allen (Maryland), Jordan Scott (Colgate) and Kenny Jefferson (Virginia Tech). The team scored 405 points while the defense allowed only 53. Ryan Mitch was a three-year starter, the only player to start for the Stags three-straight seasons at the same position. A 2002 Consensus All-State selection threw for 1,708 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games and played college football at Maryland.

2. Gilman (4.9747)
Record this decade (Championships): 68-28 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009)
Best Team: 2002
Best Player (Grad. Yr.): Ambrose Wooden (2003)
Overall: Gilman put the finishing touches on its seventh MIAA A conference championship this season which puts them back where they were at the beginning of the decade. No team except DeMatha has more No. 1 finishes in the MDVarsity.com High School Football Media State Poll then Gilman which has taken the top spot three times (2000, 2002, 2005). In 2005 the team went 9-0, allowing only 59 points all season, and went wire-to-wire as the state's No. 1 team, but the 2005 team would have to be considered the Greyhounds best. The 2002 Greyhound team did something that had never been done before or since in Maryland - it produced both the offensive and defensive Players of the Year. Ambrose Wooden was named offensive player while his teammate Victor Abiamiri was named defensive Player of the Year. That team went 10-0 and scored 358 points while allowing only 151. Wooden gets the nod as the Greyhounds best player. At the time of his graduation, Wooden held the state record for most total offensive yards with 7,261. As a senior, Wooden rushed for 1,635 yards, passed for 1,217 and had 35 total touchdowns.

3. Damascus (4.6018)
Record this decade (Championships): 98-23 (2003, 2005, 2007)
Best Team: 2007
Best Player (Grad. Yr.): Kyle Frazier (2008)
Overall: Primarily known as a running team over the past 10 years, Damascus won three titles with three different running backs - from Matt Reidy in 2003, Steve Anderson in 2005 and Evan Zedler in 2007. The Swarmin' Hornets have not missed the playoffs since 1997 and won two Class 4A state championships (2003, 2005) and one Class 3A championship (2007). The 2007 team may have been the most balanced of Damascus' three championship teams. Led by All-State quarterback Kyle Frazier and All-State running back Zedler, Damascus scored 520 points and won the Class 3A title 40-20 over a previously undefeated Hereford team. Frazier was a three-year starter and won two state championships. The 2008 graduate was Maryland's most efficient passer during his senior season, completing 68 percent of his passes on his way to 1,770 yards and 20 touchdowns.

[+] EnlargeTavon Austin
Mike LovedayTavon Austin is Maryland's all-time leader in rushing and touchdowns.
4. Dunbar (4.5860)
Record this decade (Championships): 102-24 (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Best Team: 2007
Best Player (Grad. Yr.): Tavon Austin (2009)
Overall: Dunbar kept getting better as the new century began. The Poets finished at .500 in 2000 and progressively won more games every year through 2004 when they won the first of four Maryland Class 1A state titles. Dunbar made the state semifinals every year beginning in 2003 and won three-straight titles from 2006 to 2008. The Poets won 24 straight games from 2006 to 2008. It is hard to argue against the 2007 squad as the Poets best team. The closest game Dunbar played that season was a 12-0 win over Megenthaler Vo-Tech on Oct. 26. In the playoffs, Dunbar defeated every opponent by at least 20 points. While the debate for best team might be up in the air, the debate for best player is not. Tavon Austin was a three-time Consensus All-State player and two-time Offensive Player of the Year. The 2009 graduate is Maryland's career leader in total offensive yards (9,259), rushing (7,962) and touchdowns (123).

5. Hereford (4.4407)
Record this decade (Championships): 106-18 (2001, 2002)
Best Team: 2004
Best Player (Grad. Yr.): Adam Goloboski (2003)
Overall: Since the current decade began, Hereford head coach Steve Turnbaugh led his teams to two state championships and to the playoffs in all but one season. After moving up to Class 2A in 1999 the Bulls began the decade as the model of consistency - losing only one game in three years and winning back-to-back 2A championships. When the program moved up to Class 3A in 2005, it suffered only its second five-loss season since Turnbaugh took over the program in 1995. Even with two state championship teams in 2001 and 2002, Turnbaugh said his best team may be the 2004 team that finished 13-1 and state runner-up to Potomac. That year the state championship game was marred by injury when Hereford's Joe Akers was injured and flown to shock trauma. The game was delayed 45 minutes and after that Hereford was stunned and eventually lost 19-12. "If Joe doesn't get hurt we win that football game," Turnbaugh said in a previous interview. That team had six players that went on to play college football at either IA or IAA schools. Goloboski gets the nod as the Bulls best player. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker was a two-time All-state selection and went on to college at Richmond where he was a three-time All-American.

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