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Walkersville, Grau won't be happy with less than playoffs

September 05, 2000

Walkersville, Grau won't be happy with less than playoffs



By DAN KAUFFMAN / Staff Writer


Hal Grau is not satisfied.

The Walkersville football coach knows his Lions have been good. They're coming off an 8-2 season where they finished second in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League and defeated Class 1A finialist Brunswick in the process.

Grau shrugs. "We don't consider it to be a successful season unless we make the playoffs. (Going) 8-2 is a good season, but we're not looking for good seasons, we're looking for great seasons."

Good isn't good enough.

Walkersville is consistently mentioned with the "big dogs" of the MVAL - Brunswick and Middletown - but unlike the Railroaders and Knights, the Lions were left sitting at home when the playoffs began last season.

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On paper, this seems to be a rebuilding year for Walkersville, which lost nine starters on offense and five on defense to graduation.

But Grau will have none of that.

His goal this year is the same as every year: Make the playoffs.

"We set our goals high, but I think our expectations are realistic," Grau said.

And while the Lions lost a lot, they return "Mr. Everything" in senior Cory Hoffman, who will move from tailback in Walkersville's wing-T scheme to behind center, where he'll run the show.

Hoffman has the credentials. In the offseason, he participated in the Maryland Football Coaches junior combine and finished as one of the top 16 quarterbacks in the state. He'll compete against the other 15 at halftime of the Baltimore Ravens' game with the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 26.

Before then, he'll showcase his talents against Linganore in the season opener on Friday in a critical game for the Lions, before taking his show against the rest of the MVAL.

Hoffman is such a talented and versatile player, Grau has implemented a few option and shotgun plays into the offense to give him the ability to create and make plays.

"What we're trying to accomplish with him is to be less predictable with him," Grau said. "We want to be a little more of a threat throwing the ball and running Cory outside a little bit. I think that will open up the offense."

Hoffman's surrounding cast includes two seniors - fullback Pat Calloway ("He's one of the best backs in the area," Grau said) and halfback Scott Beaver, a shifty, change-of-pace runner who led Walkersville with a 10 yards-per-carry average last year.

Hoffman also has a target outside in senior receiver Robbie Dodd.

Hoffman will also play as a defensive back, joining two other key defensive seniors - end Matt Weddle and linebacker Jason Abbott - as the anchors.

Still, the departures left from last year mean several underclassmen will have to step in and fill the holes, including sophomores Nick Collette and Nick Keiser, who will both start on defense.

"They've got to grow up fast," Grau said. "I wish we had another week, but they've done well."

Are the playoffs in reach for this year's Lions? Grau himself says the MVAL is a deeper league this year, mentioning Francis Scott Key and South Hagerstown as "vastly improved."

Waiting in the wings are Brunswick and Middletown, and the opener against the Lancers is no small test.

"There are challenges along the way," Grau said. "We've gotta step up to the plate."

After all, that's what seperates a good team from a great team, and only greatness will leave Grau satisfied.

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