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Change could be good for Warriors' hopes

September 03, 1999|By MARK KELLER / Sports Editor

BOONSBORO - Although Clayton Anders would never admit it, things could be a little easier for the Boonsboro Warriors in 1999.

After two years toiling in the always packed Class 2A playoff hunt, the Warriors drop back down to 1A this season, brightening Boonsboro's chances of earning one of the eight coveted postseason berths.

"It can't be any worse than it was in 2A," said Anders. "We're certainly hoping that it helps us."

So this year, instead of battling the Middletowns, Walkersvilles and Urbanas of the state for a playoff spot, Boonsboro will fight with the Brunswicks, Williamsports and Alleganys.

But, as Anders quickly points out, the schedule is the same. Although the Warriors won't be fighting with Walkersville and Middletown for a playoff berth, they still have to play those teams.

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And in order to get into the playoffs in any classification, a team must win the games on its schedule before it worries about any other team.

"We've always kind of looked at it as getting a winning season first," Anders said. "You get the winning season, then you start seeing what everyone else is doing and see if we have a shot at getting in the playoffs."

During their two years at the 2A level, the Warriors remained one of the top teams in the Tri-State area, going 8-2 and 7-3. But they had no playoff berth to show for their efforts.

"Each year there was a game that came back to haunt us," Anders said. "Whether it was a game that we felt we didn't prepare as well, didn't have good practices or play as well ... whatever it was, both years we pretty much missed by a game.

But Anders said he knows his team was not alone.

"We would have liked to have had a chance to compete in the playoffs, but we also know there were a lot of 8-2 teams that didn't get in," Anders said. "And there were years where a lot of 7-3 teams didn't get in. It wasn't like we were by ourselves."

The Warriors have only two returning starters on offense - 1,000-yard rusher Chris Dankmeyer and All-Area lineman Josh Lashley. Those two join linebacker Kevin Bigelow and safety Corey Dixon as the only starters back on defense.

"We graduated a very nice team, so we don't have a lot of experience as far as game players," Anders said. "With Dankmeyer and Lashley ... they're both very good and that's who we're building around. We have good people in place, but they don't have varsity experience.

Anders said his senior class this year is smaller than any he's had in five or six years. The result is juniors moving into starting roles sooner than they normally would and the need to promote more sophomores to the varsity squad.

Anders said he will have three sophomores seeing "extensive time" this season, with the hope being that the team will come into its own in time to make a run at the 1A playoffs.

"We're hoping there's a little bigger margin for error in 1A," Anders said. "But we're not counting on it."

Boonsboro




Nickname: Warriors

Coach: Clayton Anders

Experience: 15 years, 82-64

1998 record: 8-2

Conference: MVAL

Returning starters: 2 off., 4 def.

Key players: Chris Dankmeyer, RB/LB; Josh Lashley, OT/DT; Chris Wright, QB; Kevin Bigelow, WB/LB; Corey Dixon, WR/S; Bobby Ord, RB/LB.

Key stat: Boonsboro's records the last two years - 8-2 and 7-3 as a Class 2A school - would have been good enough to get them into the 1A playoffs.

Schedule:

  • Today, at Liberty; Sept. 11, Brunswick; Sept. 17, at South Hagerstown; Sept. 24, at Walkersville.
  • Oct. 2, Francis Scott Key; Oct. 8, at Catoctin; Oct. 15, Williamsport; Oct. 22, Middletown; Oct. 29, at North Hagerstown.
  • Nov. 5, Smithsburg.
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