Warriors want their chance to ring Beall

October 29, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

Boonsboro boys coach Brad Distad was one of roughly 2,500 fans who witnessed a dramatic night of prep soccer on a cold November night in Frostburg, Md., last year.

The second-seeded Williamsport boys team capped the Maryland Class 1A West championship doubleheader by defeating top-seeded Beall in a penalty-kick shootout, after rallying to tie the game in the final minutes of regulation on the Mountaineers' field.

"That was amazing," Distad said. "I don't think I've ever seen a more exciting end to a game."

Of course, he rather would have been doing more than just watching.

"It's fun to watch," Distad said, "but you always want to be in the game."

The MVAL Antietam Conference champion Warriors (14-1) have been in every game this season, as has Beall, which has the top seed again in the 1A West bracket. Boonsboro is seeded second.


All the makings for another exciting night for Distad in Frostburg, right?

"We've got Smithsburg first (in the quarterfinals Monday after a first-round bye), and we can't look past them," Distad said. "It will be the third time we face them this season, and it's tough to beat a team three times in one season because you know they're going to make adjustments. Smithsburg's our main concern right now."

Defending champ Williamsport (7-7-1) also shouldn't be overlooked. The fifth-seeded Wildcats, who are in Beall's half of the bracket, enter the playoffs with four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over Boonsboro.

"Williamsport's playing good ball right now. They're a very good team," Distad said. "I'd like to have another shot at Williamsport, but on the other hand, I'd like to play some teams out west because we haven't played them before."

But this time of the year, nobody's going to be overly picky about the matchups.

"Hopefully, we can escape the upset bug," Distad said. "Every other year it seems like we're the ones trying to do the upset."

ยท In the first game of the Frostburg doubleheader last November, the second-seeded Smithsburg girls also prevailed in a shootout, knocking off top-seeded Beall after 100 minutes of scoreless play.

The Leopards (10-4) are seeded second again this year, and no area team is hotter. After starting 0-3, Smithsburg has won 10 of 11, including its last eight.

And no area team recently has been better in the postseason than the Leopards, winners of the last three region titles.

"We only have two seniors, but we're blessed with experience," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "For our juniors, this is their third year of playoff experience and hopefully that will carry us a ways."

After a first-round bye, the Leopards host Southern Garrett in a quarterfinal matchup Tuesday.

"Our philosophy when we get to the playoffs is the old clich: You take one game at a time," Fowkes said. "We're focused on Southern Garrett right now. I think every team can be dangerous if you don't take them seriously and give a good, solid effort."

Allegany is the top seed, and if the Campers play like one, Smithsburg really shouldn't have to do more than go through the motions for a chance to face them.

"If we show up and we play, we should be OK," Fowkes said. "But we'll see what happens."

As for the potential final, he said, "I've seen Allegany play. It looks like they'll be a team that's going to contend."

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