By Tommy Keeler Jr. -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Todd Dean has always looked up to his father, former Strasburg standout Jeff Dean. That's why Todd Dean took his father's jersey number (33) and enjoys playing the game, including the same position as his father -- running back.
"I always wanted to be like may dad," Dean said. "I just look up to him, and I want to be like him."
Dean said he remembers going to Strasburg games with his father when he was younger and watching former coach Glenn Proctor coach the team.
Dean has made a big impact at Strasburg during his seasons with the team. Last year as a junior, Dean was a first-team all-Bull Run District running back.
He ran for 742 yards on 98 carries, while splitting carries with teammate Rakwon White. White ran for 1,896 yards on 226 carries.
Dean said he and White get along great and enjoy playing together in the backfield.
"We work together all the time, give each other breaks during practice," Dean said. "We just do what we got to do, and we get it done and we never argue."
Roller said the combination of the duo and fullback Darius Lozado gives the Rams a strong running game.
"Just having [Dean and White] is a good combination of backs, and at any time one of them can make a big, long run," Roller said. "It's nice having those two guys and to have Darius there in the backfield to open up some holes for them, and to lead them up through there is a key."
Dean is only 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, but he said he doesn't worry about being undersized, and he likes to show other teams that size doesn't matter.
"Short's always better, nobody can see you," Dean said. "They don't think I can do what I can do."
Roller said Dean is a great example for other small players on the team.
"He's not afraid to stick his nose into things," Roller said. "That's something you like from a little guy like that. It kind of lets the guys his size know that you can still play football even if you're small. You just gotta have a lot of fight in the dog."
Dean is also a force on the defensive side of the ball, where he helped lead a very solid defensive team last season. Dean finished with three interceptions for the Rams from his linebacker spot.
Dean said there's nothing quite like the feeling of making a big hit during a game.
"I just like going and hitting people," Dean said. "It feels good. I don't know how to explain it. I love hearing the crowd go, 'Ooh,' when I make big hits."
The Rams have high expectations for the season, after a great year last year. Strasburg went 8-4, losing to Amelia in the second round of the playoffs, but also came up just short of being co-district champs.
"We just strive to do better than we did last year, and to go out and do what we can do," Dean said. "Hopefully, we can become district champs. We lost by one point last year against Central. That's going to motivate us to go get it even bigger this year."