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Knights' day a repeat of preseason

November 18, 2002|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - For some coaches, playoff time is the beginning of the second season.

But for Middletown coach Tim Ambrose, it's simply the 11th game of the regular season. And in this case, that might be the most logical approach.

When the Knights travel to Glenelg today to square off against the Cardinals in the Class 2A quarterfinals, it'll be the second time this season the two teams have faced each other.

"We scrimmage them every year in our first scrimmage," said Ambrose, "and we beat them last year 7-0 in the first round of the playoffs. We know what to expect. I don't think we'll be caught by surprise."

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Glenelg - located just west of Baltimore - finished the regular season undefeated at 10-0, while playing primarily other 2A schools or larger.

The Knights, by virtue of their Monocacy Valley Athletic League affiliation, were matched up with six Class 1A schools, while going 9-1 on the year. That, according to Ambrose, puts Middletown at a disadvantage.

"We're locked into the MVAL," said Ambrose, whose teams are 6-7 in post-season play since 1991. "We have to play the schools that are there. It does take its toll. We don't play the caliber of ball that we see in the playoffs. If we played bigger teams every week, it might help us."

But that doesn't mean that games against Class 1A opponents can't be valuable tools.

"We were behind in two games this year," said Ambrose, "and we had to come from behind to win. Those were good experiences. You can't teach that."

Ambrose said he'll be going with the same game plan he employed all season ... give the ball to Josh Keeney, and watch him run. And why not? The senior tailback led the area in rushing with 1,911 yards while carrying the offensive load all year for the Knights.

"We're going to go with our strength," said Ambrose, "and our strength is our offensive line and our backfield. We just need execute, and hang on to the football. It's the same thing that wins football games in the regular season."

But Ambrose was quick to admit that "we always put in a couple wrinkles to see if we can catch them off guard."

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