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Have some cheese with your white

November 11, 2002|BY MARK KELLER

One of my favorite Web sites is MDVarsity.com, which features message boards on which high school sports fans from around the state post their opinions, predictions and game updates.

I usually stick to the football message board to see what's going on around the state. Most times, the posts are pretty intelligent and members don't resort to a lot of name-calling or the typical "you stink" (or fill in a similarly derogatory verb) messages.

Please note that I said most times.

Cumberland football fans are the most rabid in the state. I won't even say that they are "among" the most rabid, because I don't think any other fans really come close.

The Fort Hill-Allegany Homecoming game, which was played Saturday, is one of the spectacles of high school sports in Maryland. It draws a bigger crowd than nearly any Montreal Expos or Florida Marlins home game did last season.

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But if you're not for Fort Hill or Allegany, watch out.

I logged on to the site Friday night to see what had happened around the state and how the results would affect South Hagerstown and Middletown, two area teams that locked up playoff berths with wins.

As expected, the Fort Hill and Allegany fans were out in force making their predictions on Saturday's games and opining on the rest of the game results that were coming in from around the state.

And then it started.

If you could hear these messages, they'd sound like Joe Paterno at his weekly press conferences.

Waaahhhhh!

For instance, one post reads (paraphrasing): South and Beall are in the playoffs? Fort Hill and Allegany are not? Who could have predicted any of this? Congrats to South Hagerstown and Beall.

The reply to that message (quoting): "How about congrads (sic) to the MPSSAA - who would have thought the system could send so many second-class teams to the playoffs while the real teams stay home?"

The post goes on to say that Fort Hill could beat most 2A playoff teams and Allegany beat Beall like a drum.

Awwwww! (sniffle)

Beall did, however, beat Keyser, a West Virginia Class AA team that finished the season 9-1. Allegany lost to Keyser.

The same user says in another post (quoting): "It's a shame (Fort Hill) didn't get a crack at Middletown and (Allegany) didn't get a match against South - typical as usual half-tailed teams will be in the playoffs. ... Both programs are better than several who are playing next week."

Still another user said (quoting): "It is sad that the winner of the Homecoming game will finish the season undefeated against Maryland teams but not get the chance to compete against Maryland teams in the playoffs."

Boo-hoo!

What they're trying to say is that they deserve to be in the playoffs because, traditionally, they are better teams and because they play what they perceive to be a tougher schedule.

Fort Hill fans went out of their way to dog Martinsburg for three weeks leading up to their matchup with the Bulldogs. They called Martinsburg overrated. They said they were beating up on lesser teams. They predicted a Fort Hill win.

Then, when Martinsburg beat them on the field, they spun the outcome into a good ol' moral victory.

"The mighty Martinsburg offense didn't score a touchdown."

"Turnovers hurt, but it wasn't because of big hits. Weather caused the fumbles."

Yeah, all nine of them. But the weather had no bearing on the Martinsburg offense, either.

It's all or nothing for a lot of these folks. They should be in the playoffs, or nobody should.

And let me be clear, it's the fans - this type of fan - that I'm talking about, not the players.

So South and Middletown (you too, Beall) ... don't let it bother you that the Fort Hill and Allegany fans say their teams are actually better than you.

Don't feel bad that, were they to play you on the field, they would beat you ... because their fans say they would.

No, just go about your business with the knowledge that - despite the fact they have state football titles in the bank and you don't - you've got something that their teams don't have.

A date in the football playoffs next weekend.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at keller@herald-mail.com.

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