Football Notes - Finding the Key to MVAL race

October 06, 2000

Football Notes - Finding the Key to MVAL race

It's hard to say what the biggest surprise or shock of the 2000 football season is because, frankly, there have been so many.

Among them:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> None of the top five teams in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League are from Frederick County.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Musselman winning its first two games - including one over Eastern Panhandle rival Martinsburg - before dropping four in a row to put itself in the role of longshot for the playoffs.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Jefferson, a talented team led by Player of the Year candidate Damon McDowell, winning just one of its first six games - and that over first-year program Stone Bridge (Va.).

But probably the most surprising is a non-local team that carries major local interest because of its league affiliation.

Francis Scott Key has won its first four games of the season and sits tied with South Hagerstown at 3-0 atop the MVAL standings.


Think that's impressive? Consider this: The Eagles are second in the Class 2A West point standings, just behind two-time defending state champion Urbana. They are fourth overall in the points, just ahead of Fort Hill.

FSK's newfound stature in the state playoff rankings is meriting the Eagles consideration in the Associated Press state poll.

FSK has never made it into the top 20 since the inception of the poll back in 1990. The Eagles received 10 votes this week, good for 23rd.

The Eagles have also never received a postseason bid in the 26-year history of the state tournament.

FSK enters a crucial stretch on its schedule tonight when it plays host to Boonsboro. The Eagles travel to South next Friday before returning home to play Walkersville on Oct. 20.

Another big one

South, meanwhile, is in a crucial stretch of its own.

The Rebels, 3-1 overall and 12th in the Class 1A standings, play at Walkersville tonight before next Friday's game against FSK.

Both games are important to the Rebels' playoff hopes and their shot at the MVAL title.

Several big ones

Martinsburg coach David Walker said it was like preparing for a playoff game last week as the Bulldogs got ready for a road trip to undefeated Keyser.

"If we don't play better than we have been, we could easily end up 4-6 this season," Walker said.

No. 2 Martinsburg did play better, did hand the Golden Tornado their first loss of the year 21-7, and did gain some major bonus points in its quest for a third straight Class AAA playoff spot.

But the road doesn't get easier for the Bulldogs, who are now No. 8 in the playoff rankings. Their final four games are at 3-1 Allegany (on Saturday), home for 3-1 Southern Garrett, at Jefferson and home for 4-0 Fort Hill.

Southern Garrett and Fort Hill have both beaten Musselman, in all likelihood bringing the Applemen's postseason hopes to an end.

4th and inches

Smithsburg has been held scoreless for 12 straight quarters. The Leopards put up 46 points in a season-opening win ovr Hancock, but have not gotten on the board since. ... Brunswick's four-game losing streak is its longest since it lost 14 straight over the 1996-97 seasons. ... South Hagerstown's win over Boonsboro last Thursday snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Warriors. Prior to that streak, the Rebels had won eight of nine in the series. ... Since going 2-5 to start the 1997 season, Mercersburg Academy has won 20 of 23 games, including 14 of its last 15. ... Things don't appear to be getting better for James Buchanan, losers of 32 straight games. Through five games last year the Rockets had been outscored 192-14. This season, they've been outscored 203-14.

This week's football notebook were compiled by sports editor Mark Keller.

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