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Leopards will try to spoil Warriors' season

November 06, 1998|By RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

Smithsburg High football coach Buddy Orndorff has a lighter side, and at times can't, or won't, hide it.

When a reporter called and asked him about this year's renewal of the Smithsburg-Boonsboro rivalry, Orndorff cracked, "Tell Clayton to go easy on me.''

When the message was relayed to Clayton Anders, the Boonsboro coach, Anders didn't bite.

"I don't think Smithsburg is the kind of team we can take for granted,'' Anders said totally straight. "They've improved dramatcially. They've been very competitive.''

But the relative merits of each team this season - Boonsboro has playoff possibilities and Smithsburg is rebuilding - are not the key issues in tonight's regular-season-ending matchup at Smithsburg.

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The key issue is that these teams are traditional rivals.

"It's the Auburn-Alabama of Washington County,'' Orndorff said.

The way folks in Smithsburg feel is thusly: "If they had to pick a team to beat on the schedule, it would be Boonsboro,'' Orndorff said.

That having been said, the rivalry isn't what it was in the past.

"It's toned down some,'' Anders said. "In other years, there was more at stake because the teams were headed in the same direction.''

Meaning both had playoff possibilities. This year, Boonsboro can get in with a win and losses by Edgewood and Stephen Decatur. Smithsburg can only play spoiler.

Orndorff agreed with Anders' assessment.

"It's not as fierce as it used to be,'' he said, referring to the era two decades ago when Carroll Reid coached Smithsburg and Dwight Scott coached Boonsboro and there were no state playoffs.

Reid eventually led the Leopards to five state titles - 1976, '79, '84, '88 and '94. Coincidentally, when the Leopards won that last state championship, it was against the Warriors, who had beaten them in the regular-season game.

The Warriors, under Anders, won their only state title the year before.

But all of that is history, and so are the records of this year's teams. Emotion runs so high that past performance may not be an indicator of future success.

"I'd like to think we could play with Boonsboro ... depending on which one of our teams shows up,'' Orndorff said.

No, the rivalry may not be what it once was.

But as Orndorff said: "It's still Boonsboro, and we're still Smithsburg.''

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