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Knights keen on Keeney's scoring

November 11, 2002|By ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

WALKERSVILLE, Md. - Middletown running back Josh Keeney's reputation for power rushing proceeds him.

The host Walkersville Lions were well aware that Keeney would be muscling it up the middle against them in the teams' Monocacy Valley Athletic League regular-season finale Friday night.

But breakaway sideline speed? That's another tag that will now likely be on Keeney in the upcoming Maryland Class 2A football playoffs.

Keeney rumbled and raced for 267 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns, as the No. 2 Knights (9-1, 8-1) stormed past the Lions (5-5, 5-4) 37-6 to defend their MVAL title outright and earn a second-straight playoff berth.

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"Keeney's the real deal," said Walkersville coach Hal Grau. "We knew he ran pretty tough, but we'd never seen that speed."

Keeney, the area's leading rusher with 1,911 yards, waited for the perfect moment to reveal his jets.

After Tony Flammetta busted up the middle for a 56-yard TD run late in the third quarter to cut the Lions' deficit to 16-6, Keeney answered on the Knights' very first play of the ensuing possession. The Middletown senior powered through the line before switching gears down the right sideline, blazing his way to a a 77-yard score.

"Good players make big plays in big games. He showed some speed tonight that we've only seen glimpses of," said Middletown coach Tim Ambrose. "And you have to give the offensive line a lot of credit. They blocked, and he made the plays."

"They came back, but we came back after that," said Knights right guard Troy Birkenbuel. "You can't keep a machine down, and our offense is a machine."

And it wasn't done punching out touchdowns.

Keeney, who gave Middletown a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard run in the second quarter, made it 30-6 on a 55-yarder down the right sideline with just less than nine minutes to play. Two minutes later, the Knights rounded out the scoring on Adam Ellison's 1-yard TD run.

Now, Middletown, which outgained Walkersville 419-176 in total offense, is ready to showcase its attack on the playoff stage.

"The momentum we got this week is going to carry us through the playoffs," said Keeney. "I'm ready to roll. We just have to leave it all on the field every game.

"Everyone left it on the field tonight. It was a team effort."

The Knights took a 10-0 halftime lead on Will Gawler's 36-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter. They went up 16-0 on a 15-yard run by quarterback Tyler Lushbaugh, who was 6 of 8 passing for 88 yards.

Meikos Parker rushed for a team-high 83 yards on 16 carries for Walkersville, while Flammetta added 79 yards on seven carries.

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