North-South not the only game in town

November 08, 2002|by MARK KELLER

The North-South football game always seems to grab much of the attention at the end of the season, but there are some other solid rivalry games on tap for this weekend.

Here's a quick look at some of the other grudge matches in the Tri-State area and beyond:

  • Boonsboro (5-4) at Smithsburg (2-7), tonight, 7: The county series doesn't date back as far as the city series, but it has had its share of big games, with none bigger than the Class 1A state final showdown at School Stadium in 1994.

    Smithsburg won that game 29-22, but the Leopards haven't been on the winning end of this matchup since, dropping seven straight.

    The Warriors gained control of the series lead (18-17) with a 28-13 victory last season.

  • Middletown (8-1) at Walkersville (5-4), tonight, 7: The Knights are coming off a huge win over South Hagerstown that earned them no less than a share of their seventh Monocacy Valley Athletic League title in nine years.

    Middletown has had Walkersville's number since 1997, the same year this game became the season finale for the teams.


Walkersville has been playing as well as any team in the league since a three-game losing streak took the Lions out of the playoff and league races. They'd like nothing more than to ruin the Knights' playoff plans.

Middletown leads the series, 18-6.

  • Brunswick (5-4) at Catoctin (5-4), tonight, 7: A tightly contested series led by the Railroaders, 17-15.

    Both teams will be fighting to finish the season with a winning record. If Brunswick does so, it would be their fourth winning season in five years. The Cougars are trying for their first winning season since going 6-4 in 1997.

  • Frederick (2-7) at Thomas Johnson (4-5), Saturday, 1:30: The Patriots have dominated this series, winning nine of the last 10, including a 22-20 win last season that got their record to 4-6 in coach Gary Liddick's first season.

    A win would give Liddick what every coach craves at the beginning of a season: A better record than the previous year.

    The Cadets have struggled mightily at times this season and avoided a possible winless season in the Central Maryland Conference with a 21-20 win over cellar-dwelling Liberty last Friday.

    Thomas Johnson leads the series, 23-13.

  • Allegany (5-4) vs. Fort Hill (7-2) at Greenway Avenue Stadium, Saturday, 12:30: One of the best ... if not the best ... rivalry games in the state played at the best high school stadium in the state. This game is the Homecoming game for the schools and routinely draws 10,000-plus fans.

    Many years, one or both teams are in the running for a playoff spot ... and this year is no different. The Sentinels are on the outside looking in right now, sitting ninth in the Class 2A standings behind No. 8 Middletown. Fort Hill needs a win and some help from Walkersville to have a shot at reaching the postseason.

  • Linganore (7-2) at Urbana (6-3), Saturday, 2: The youngest of the rivalry games mentioned, this battle of Frederick County foes has grown along with Urbana's status as one of the elite teams in Maryland.

    Linganore beat Urbana 21-3 to end the 1997 season - the first full varsity season for the Hawks. Following that defeat, Urbana rolled to four consecutive state titles and 50 straight victories, a streak which ended in the first game of this season.

    The Lancers are on the verge of their first playoff appearance since they won the Class 2A title in 1995 and, in a way, they probably owe some thanks to Urbana for that.

    Linganore's first-year head coach is Rick Conner, who was Urbana's defensive coordinator during their state playoff domination.

    Urbana leads the series, 4-1.

  • Notables

    Martinsburg set a state record for points scored in a season (544) in last week's 63-6 win over Musselman. The Bulldogs' average of 54.4 points per game shattered the old mark of 50.9 by Marlinton in 1968. The win also wrapped up Martinsburg's first perfect regular season since 1976. ... The 63 points Martinsburg scored against Musselman was the most ever against the Applemen in the 30-year coaching tenure of Denny Price. Records before that time are incomplete. ... Brandon Monroe had a big game for St. John's at Prospect Hall last Friday night, but his former team - St. James - still came away with the win. The Saints scored 22 unanswered points in the second half to end a four-game losing streak with a 30-12 win over the Vikings. Mo Rodriguez, who opened holes for Monroe as his fullback last season, ran for two touchdowns and scored on a fumble recovery as the Saints sent the Vikings to the first loss in the program's history. ... Mercersburg Academy's loss to Kiski School on Saturday resulted in the Blue Storm's first winless season since 1992. They have lost 15 straight dating back to last season. ... Berkeley Springs (6-3) is on pace for its best season since 1995, but it probably won't be enough to get the Indians into the playoffs for the first time. They are 18th in the Class AA ratings with one week to play. The top 16 teams qualify.

    Player of the week

    Mo Rodriguez, St. James: The senior fullback rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns, returned a fumble for another touchdown and added a two-point conversion - his 12th of the season - to lead the Saints to a win over St. John's at Prospect Hall. Rodriguez is third in the area in rushing with 1,054 yards.

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