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Orndorff, Leopdards set to go

November 14, 2003|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

As a Fort Hill graduate, Smithsburg football coach Buddy Orndorff always returns to his hometown for the annual Homecoming game between his alma mater and Allegany.

Orndorff was pulling for the Sentinels a little harder when he made his pilgrimage to Greenway Avenue Stadium on Saturday, knowing that a Fort Hill victory would eliminate Allegany from the playoff hunt and put his Leopards into the postseason for the first time since 1994.

"Oh yeah, I was up there rooting for the home team," Orndorff said. "I go up every year, but this year I knew we needed Allegany to lose to get into the playoffs."

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The fact that Smithsburg is preparing for tonight's Maryland Class 1A West semifinal matchup at Beall indicates that Orndorff's old school took care of business for the Leopards.

Orndorff said he's seen enough of Beall the last two seasons to know that Smithsburg has its hands full when they make the trip to Frostburg today.

"They're very aggressive with great skill players," Orndorff said. "(Running back Mahlon) Harper is being touted as Cumberland's Offensive Player of the Year and their quarterback (Eric Parker) can throw and runs well."

Orndorff said the Leopards (6-4) won't do anything different than they've done all season, which means the Mountaineers (7-3) will likely see a lot of running backs Brandon White and Matt Feiser and quarterback Nate Steelman.

"We're not going to do anything different," Orndorff said. "We're primarily a running team, but we have a quarterback who's a heck of an athlete and can throw the ball, too. We're going to try to do everything we can to beat Beall.

"They play a couple of different defenses and every defense has a weakness. We're going to try to take advantage of what they give us and hopefully we can find those weaknesses."

Just as the Leopards will keep their gameplan the same, Orndorff has kept his weekly routine the same, preparing the team just as he did the first 10 weeks of the season.

"To me, it's like playing another league game. You've got to win," Orndorff said. "But in the season, if you have an off game, you have next week to redeem yourself. Now, you go home.

"It's up to them how far they want to go."

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