All-Metro football offense 2023: Archbishop Spalding QB Malik Washington named Player of the Year

Dec. 26—By Glenn Graham —

PUBLISHED:December 26, 2023 at 5:30 a.m.| UPDATED:December 30, 2023 at 12:20 a.m.

Here are The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro football offensive teams for the 2023 season.

Player of the Year

Malik Washington, Archbishop Spalding, junior, quarterback

In his second season as a starter, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound signal caller continued his consistently superb play in leading the No. 1 Cavaliers (10-2) to a second straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship.

Washington had complete command of the offense, bringing poise that rubbed off on teammates and produced wins. He completed 195 of 313 passes for 2,093 yards with 21 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. He added 225 rushing yards and six more scores. The Cavaliers went 8-0 in league play for a second straight year, capped by a 40-7 win over McDonogh in the championship game.

Appreciative of the support from teammates and the coaching staff, he's honored to be recognized as the area's top offensive threat.

"I'm very grateful, very blessed to be in the position I'm in," he said. "It's taken a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice to keep on pushing to where I want to get to because it's not the end goal for me. I want to make it to the next level and, God willing, make it professionally and that all starts now."

A repeat choice for MIAA A Conference Player of the Year, Washington is 21-3 as a starter and 18-0 against state competition.

"It really all started early, like January, February with the offseason — that's where we separate ourselves from everybody else by putting in the work. And then it's all about preparation from there — week by week preparing for the opponent you have to face and never looking past anybody," he said. "It just carries from there and when we get toward the end of the season, you have to make that last sprint to the finish line and that's what we did in accomplishing our goal."

Washington has offers from Maryland, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Oregon, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Duke and Illinois.

Coach of the Year

Joe Battaglia, Concordia Prep

In his fourth season at Concordia Prep — the first limited to two games because of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions — Battaglia has turned the program into one of the area's finest. The proof is in the trophy case after the No. 3 Saints (11-1) won their first MIAA B Conference championship.

After falling to St. Mary's in last year's title game, Battaglia emphasized getting tougher in the trenches and his team responded in a big way. Behind quarterback Keshawn Mister, the offense relied on a powerful running game with a sprinkle of big-play passes.

Defensively, the Saints overwhelmed opponents with a havoc-wreaking line. After a 32-31 loss to MIAA A Conference champion Archbishop Spalding on Sept. 1, Concordia Prep rattled off 10 straight wins, capped by a 28-7 semifinal win over St. Mary's and 35-0 victory over John Carroll for the title.

Battaglia, a Gilman graduate, came to the program with 12 years of college coaching experience and has a 31-7 career mark at Concordia Prep.

"The key to our program's success is the people it's made up of. We have hard-working, talented student-athletes who are dedicated to bettering themselves every day on the field and in the classroom. They love their teammates and push each other to be successful," he said. "Additionally, our assistant coaches are extremely dedicated to our players in helping them grow as young men and just not football players."

First team

Michael Van Buren, St. Frances, senior, quarterback

With No. 2 St. Frances (5-6) playing a demanding national schedule, the 6-foot, 185-pound four-star prospect brought his do-everything skills and important leadership playing behind a largely inexperienced offensive line. The repeat first-team selection and Mississippi State commit finished with 2,100 passing yards and 23 touchdowns in addition to 350 yards and five scores on the ground as the Panthers won five of their final seven games.

Max Jones, Old Mill, senior, running back

Powerfully built and equally explosive with his 5-9, 200-pound frame, the two-year starter posted staggering ground numbers in his workhorse role to lead No. 11 Old Mill (10-2) to the Anne Arundel County championship. He carried the ball 260 times for 1,865 yards (7.17 yards per rush) and 23 touchdowns to follow up on his 1,538-yard, 21-touchdown junior season.

Jacob Wagner, Perry Hall, senior, running back

In addition to the fine numbers he produced — 1,054 total yards and 14 touchdowns — Wagner brought vital leadership qualities in the Gators' breakthrough Baltimore County championship season. Breaking a long run or gaining a yard to move the chains, Wagner closed with 902 rushing yards and 152 receiving yards.

Jeff Exinor, McDonogh, junior, wide receiver

The dynamic 6-3, 210-pound Exinor overwhelmed opposing defenders with his size, speed and athleticism and made several game-changing plays. A prized recruit, he finished the season with 72 receptions for 872 yards and 11 touchdowns in leading the No. 4 Eagles (7-3) to the MIAA A Conference title game.

Eli Harris, Broadneck, senior, wide receiver

A four-year starter and Navy commit, the 6-foot, 275-pound Harris was a precise route runner with exceptional speed and hands, finishing with 56 receptions for 884 yards and 13 touchdowns to lead the No. 9 Bruins (11-3) to the Class 4A state title game. He ranks second in program history with 167 career catches, 2,671 yards and 32 touchdowns.

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Antonio Lyde, Dunbar, senior, wide receiver

Mostly lining up at wide receiver, Lyde was at his versatile best in the Poets' 8-0 Class 2A/1A state championship win over Calvert, accounting for 194 scrimmage yards, highlighted by a 36-yard touchdown run. It was Dunbar's third straight championship and Lyde, who produced 1,135 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns this season, scored in each of the three title games.

Jameson Coffman, Archbishop Spalding, senior, tight end

One of the top priorities for the MIAA A Conference champion Cavaliers was getting the ball to the 6-2, 210-pound Coffman, and he made the most of his touches. An equally dangerous threat catching and running, he finished with 44 catches for 394 yards and seven touchdowns and ran the ball 28 times for 128 yards and 10 more scores.

Maurice Cocolough, Dunbar, senior, lineman

The leader on both lines for the Class 2A/1A state champion Poets, the 6-foot, 240-pound tackle banked on smart positioning and leverage to keep opponents in check whether in pass protection or opening holes for the running game. He was a leader and catalyst in the No. 6 Poets' past two Baltimore City and state championship seasons.

Dan Cousler, Concordia Prep, senior, lineman

The 6-5, 305-pound center was the anchor of a sensational offensive line that helped the Saints' offense average 30 points per game and pile up 2,193 rushing yards and 2,852 in all. Cousler set a sturdy tone with overwhelming power and fine mobility.

Amory Hills, Milford Mill, junior, lineman

A physical drive blocker, Hills brought overwhelming power using his 6-6, 340-pound frame to open holes and protect the passer during his breakthrough junior season. A physical drive blocker, his rugged play consistently wore down opponents in helping lead the No. 12 Millers (9-3) to the Class 2A state semifinals.

Jason Shipman, Archbishop Spalding, senior, lineman

An All-Metro second-team pick as a junior, the 6-2, 265-pound center made the jump to the first team with his exceptional steady play in anchoring the MIAA A Conference champions' line. Whether opening holes in the running game or protecting the All-Metro Player of the Year, Shipman was ultra-efficient as the Cavaliers racked up more than 4,000 yards of total offense while averaging 33 points per game.

Jayden Moore, Loyola Blakefield, senior, all-purpose

The Duke commit proved the area's most dynamic playmaker in helping the No. 5 Dons (7-4) reach the MIAA A Conference semifinals and notch a coveted Turkey Bowl win over Calvert Hall. He caught 44 passes for 852 yards and five touchdowns, ran 43 times for 454 yards and four scores, and also threw two touchdown passes.

Cooper Welch, Archbishop Spalding, senior, kicker

Welch connected on six of nine field goals and 44 of 46 extra points while also consistently sending kickoffs deep and averaging 39 yards per punt. His season highlight came in the Cavaliers' 32-31 win over MIAA B Conference champ Concordia Prep when he nailed a game-winning 31-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter.

Second team

Deshawn Purdie, Milford Mill, senior, quarterback

Kyreece Walker, Westminster, senior, quarterback

Adrian Alvarado, Reservoir, senior, running back

Kaden Curtis, Archbishop Spalding, senior, running back

Tyler Womack, Annapolis, senior, running back

Jahmari Powell-Wonson, City, senior, wide receiver

Jeremiah Koger, St. Frances, junior, wide receiver

Dan Cousler, Concordia Prep, senior, lineman

Liam Lynch, Archbishop Spalding, senior, lineman

Trevor Szymanski, Loyola Blakefield, senior, lineman

John Watkins, St. Frances, sophomore, lineman

Mason Williams, Mount Saint Joseph, senior, lineman

Keshawn Mister, Concordia Prep, senior, all-purpose

Chris Coleman, Broadneck, senior, kicker

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