Middletown, Walkersville renew 'sibling rivalry'

November 05, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

As far as rivalries go, the Middletown-Walkersville football matchup is a young one at just 20 games old.

But as much as the two towns these teams represent have seen of each other over the years, it doesn't take much to get the blood pumping.

"It's kinda like two brothers fighting out there," Walkersville head coach Hal Grau said. "It's a classic rivalry."

Which means everyone in town will be talking before, during and after Friday night's showdown in Walkersville. As usual, it will decide the MVAL title and the playoff fate of both teams.

"This is real important to us," Middletown coach Tim Ambrose said. "The kids have been talking about this for about three weeks ... they're excited about this one."


Just dropping the words "Middletown," "Walkersville" and "athletics" into a sentence together makes things interesting. Way before there was football, the two towns duked it out in any sport available: club soccer, Frederick County baseball, anything.

"You go back to the '40s, even the '30s ... and you read articles about kids playing ...," Grau said. "You read those names and they're the same names of the kids now. It's their grandparents you're reading about."

"They know these kids because they've been playing together since midgets," Ambrose said. "There's no grudge matches or anything like that. The only thing they talk about is the past years that they've played against them."

And with the expansion of high school sports, it gives them more chances to see each other on the playing field - and more chances for bragging rights.

"I have been around long enough to know that regardless of what the sport is, it's such a good rivalry that a lot of times upsets occur," Grau said. "Name your sport, and no matter who's the underdog, when these teams get together, the underdog sometimes pulls it out."

Which means Middletown, despite its 9-0 record and No. 1 area ranking, won't rest on last year's 24-0 victory. The Knights know the last time they drove to Walkersville (7-2), they came home losers, 29-25.

"As a coach, it's nice to have this at the end of the season," Ambrose said. "It makes the week that much more interesting.

"We've explained to them that ... as far as the playoffs goes, we could be second seed (in Class 2A). We definitely want to get to that point."

Meanwhile, the Lions are just trying to get to any point in the playoffs. Walkersville is on the outside looking in, but with a win over Middletown and a couple of other losses around the state, it will get in.

"Every season, our goals are to win the MVAL, make the playoffs, and then beat Middletown," Grau said. "Usually, those three things go together."

That's something everyone in Walkersville and Middletown has known for a long time.

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