MVAL crown still up for grabs

October 25, 2002|by MARK KELLER

One week ago, the Monocacy Valley Athletic League looked like a two-team or, at the most, three-team race.

Today, it's anybody's guess who is going to take home the title.

Seven teams still have a shot at no less than a share of the league championship, though some are longer shots than others.

Here's a look at the seven contenders (with league record in parentheses) and what each needs to win the league.

Middletown (5-1)

League record of remaining opponents: 12-9

The Knights are one of two teams that plays a contender in each of the last three weeks, beginning with Boonsboro tonight. They are also the hottest team in the league, having won five straight since losing their league opener to Francis Scott Key. Middletown will win the league outright if it wins out.

Remaining opponents: Boonsboro, at South Hagerstown, at Walkersville.

South Hagerstown (5-1)

League record of remaining opponents: 7-14


The Rebels are coming off their first loss in the league last week at Catoctin. Like Middletown, South will win the league outright if it wins out. On paper, the Rebels have the easiest schedule of any of the contenders. But with Middletown and cross-town rival North remaining, South shouldn't put too much stock in the numbers.

Remaining opponents: Williamsport, Middletown, North Hagerstown.

Boonsboro (4-2)

League record of remaining opponents: 9-12

The Warriors haven't beaten Middletown since 1994, but they'll probably need to tonight - not only to keep their MVAL hopes alive, but their 1A playoff hopes, as well. A win over the Knights and a Middletown win over South next Friday would put the Warriors in position for a share of the title and give their playoff prospects a major boost.

Remaining opponents: at Middletown, North Hagerstown, at Smithsburg.

Catoctin (4-2)

League record of remaining opponents: 12-9

Last week's win over South vaulted the Cougars right back into the league picture, but the road ahead isn't easy. They'll have to slow down three of the league's best running teams in the last three weeks of the season to stay in contention. But Catoctin has surprised all season and sooner or later, people will start to believe in them.

Remaining opponents: Walkersville, at Francis Scott Key, Brunswick.

Francis Scott Key (4-2)

League record of remaining opponents: 9-12

Two weeks ago, folks were ready to hand the league title and a 10-0 season to the Eagles. Then running back Eric Saunders was removed from the team, South proved them vulnerable and Walkersville showed they were downright beatable. The Eagles are still very good, but they are reeling from the loss of their top back and their next two games are against teams that have looked very good in recent weeks.

Remaining opponents: at Brunswick, Catoctin, Williamsport.

Brunswick (3-3)

League record of remaining opponents: 12-9

The Railroaders aren't far from being unbeaten this season - a one-point overtime loss to Boonsboro, a two-point loss to South and a loss to Middletown in which the 'Roaders jumped out to a 14-0 lead. They need lots of help to earn a share of the league title, but are capable of finishing the season on a five-game tear and getting into the playoffs.

Remaining opponents: Francis Scott Key, Smithsburg, at Catoctin.

Walkersville (3-3)

League record of remaining opponents: 11-10

A three-game skid that started in the mud of Boonsboro came to an end last Thursday when the Lions knocked off FSK. With a game tonight against an ever-more confident Catoctin team and Middletown still looming on the schedule, the Lions are the longest shot at getting a piece of the MVAL pie.

Remaining opponents: at Catoctin, at Williamsport, Middletown.

Player of the Week

Josh Keeney, Middletown: The senior running back became the first player in the area to break the 1,000-yard mark in rushing with his 293-yard, five-touchdown performance against Smithsburg on Saturday.

Other top performances in the area last week included:

Jamar Garner, Thomas Johnson: The senior running back ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots beat then-state ranked Linganore 13-10 last Friday.

Pete Cross, Chambersburg: The sophomore running back ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns, but the Trojans still came up short against Central Dauphin East, 35-28.

Keith Ricca, St. John's-PH: The sophomore quarterback threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns as the Vikings stayed unbeaten in their inaugural season.

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