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Warriors rule MVAL Antietam

October 29, 2005|By MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Zach Shoemaker called it a lucky play.

Brunswick coach Kevin Lynott saw it much differently.

No matter who's perception one chooses to believe, the facts can't be denied: Boonsboro's Shoemaker picked off an Aaron Main pass with 1 minute, 20 seconds remaining in the game to seal the Warriors' 20-14 victory over the Railroaders on Friday.

The win gives Boonsboro (6-2, 5-0) sole possession of first place in the MVAL Antietam Conference and strengthens the Warriors' bid for a Maryland Class 1A West playoff berth.

Boonsboro was fourth in the region standings entering Friday's action. Allegany, Beall and Fort Hill - the top three teams in the region - won their games Friday night, as well.

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"It's another step toward the goals we set at the beginning of the season," Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders said. "The first is to have a winning season. Goal No. 2, if you're undefeated in the league, you want to stay undefeated. And then you want to at least keep that fourth playoff spot, and the only way to do that is to win."

The Warriors accomplished all three of those tasks, though the Railroaders (5-3, 4-1) didn't make it easy. It took Shoemaker's heroics in the final moments of the game to allow Boonsboro to mark those goals off their checklist.

On a third-and-7 play from the Boonsboro 32, Main lofted a pass toward the sideline for Andrew Derr, who stands 5-foot-4.

But the 6-foot Shoemaker, who doubles as the Warriors' quarterback, had Derr covered. He outjumped Derr for the ball and came down with it at the 12.

"I saw him release and I had him off the line," Shoemaker said. "I got lucky. Quarterbacks aren't known for their hands."

Shoemaker is quickly proving that theory wrong. He had two interceptions in the game and has five this season.

"We did everything right, Shoemaker just made a great play," Lynott said. "We had the right route, a great pass ... everything was right. The guy just made the play."

Shoemaker then removed any doubt when, on second down, he ran a sweep around left end for a 35-yard gain, allowing the Warriors to run out the clock.

Shoemaker wasn't the only Boonsboro player to star on both sides of the ball. Adam Rippeon ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns, but arguably his biggest play of the night came on defense.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Warriors were nursing their six-point lead as Brunswick mounted a drive from their own 17. Eric Zwilsky, who finished with 147 yards and went past the 1,000-yard mark for the season, carried three times to move the ball to midfield. But on a second-down play, Rippeon burst through the line to drop Zwilsky for a 6-yard loss, forcing the Railroaders to eventually punt.

"Shoemaker and Rippeon, those are guys that would be starting both ways for any 1A school. That's life as a 1A. You have to have guys start both ways," Anders said. "But those are guys that you want to play both ways."

Boonsboro took a 20-7 lead into intermission when Shoemaker hit Dave Harmon on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the second quarter. Shoemaker intercepted a long pass by Main to close out the first half.

Zwilsky started to find daylight to the right side of the Boonsboro defense on the Railroaders' second possession of the second half. On that 10-play drive, Zwilsky had runs of 13, 21 and 7 yards to move Brunswick into the red zone. Zwilsky capped the drive with a 2-yard plunge, his second touchdown of the game.

That was the last time the Boonsboro defense broke, though it did bend a bit in the fourth quarter.

"With what was at stake and the emotion of the game, this one pretty much tops our other wins," Shoemaker said. "We stopped Zwilsky when we needed to, we made the plays when we had to have them."

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