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Warriors' win something special

October 08, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

BOONSBORO - There's a reason why they call them special teams.

In many cases, special things happen when a football is either kicked or returned. You won't have to convince the Boonsboro football team or Mike DeBarge of that.

In a nutshell, it's the reason the No. 4 Warriors won on Saturday. The kicking game had a hand in all four Boonsboro scores as the Warriors used special teams to make a special delivery of a 23-0 Homecoming victory over county and MVAL Antietam rival Williamsport.

"Our special teams were strong. That's why they are part of the game," DeBarge said. "If your offense or defense isn't carrying you, special teams can make a big play and change the momentum of the game."

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Heavy rains turned Warrior Field into a sitting duck pond. Defenses dug in while the offenses skated around like a Scott Hamilton figure skating program. When push came to shove, the whole game boiled down to pushing and shoving.

DeBarge gave the Warriors a huge upper hand - and a 10-0 halftime lead - with a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown in the final 10 seconds of the first half. He later broke off a 54-yard run after faking a punt in the fourth quarter to set up Boonsboro's final score.

"I told the team after the game that this is the way you learn to win ugly," said Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders. "We weren't sharp, but we persevered. The defense carried us. The special teams carried us. And we were able to punch it in when we needed to."

The kicks provided the open field, giving the returner the upper hand. He knew where he was going while the defense was doing everything in its power to prevent itself from falling on its collective wallet.

"It was wet and slippery and I used it to my advantage," DeBarge said. "I'm used to playing in this a lot, so I was accustomed to it. I was just trying to feel my way around."

It was a weird day for Boonsboro's quarterback. DeBarge had a tough time holding onto the ball from under center - accounting for eight of the Warriors' 10 fumbles - but when the ball came from long distance in special teams situations, he clutched it like a bargain shopper at a White Sale.

First, DeBarge booted a 30-yard field goal with 6:57 left in the half to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead after an 11-play drive.

The game started to turn when Williamsport punted from its own 46 with 20 seconds remaining in the half. DeBarge moved over from the left hash mark and took the punt at the 22 and charged up the right sideline to the end zone while the Wildcats tried to navigate through the muck.

Kyle Kane added the extra point to give the Warriors a 10-0 lead.

"I told our kids all week that it was going to be tough," Williamsport coach Adrian Custer said. "In this rivalry, it always seems to be played in the slop. We knew it was going to be that way this time and told the kids to be ready for it. This is our Backyard Brawl. We didn't get the breaks and they got some big ones."

Williamsport tried for the quick score to open the second half and it backfired. After losing seven yards on the first three plays of its second-half opening drive, punter Brad Hewitt watched as the snap sailed by him at the Williamsport 11. He tried to get his footing to pick it up but had trouble as he was hit. The ball popped loose and rolled into the end zone, where Boonsboro's Will Dayhoff fell on it for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.

Boonsboro's final score was set up when DeBarge took a punt snap on a fourth-and-2 at the Warriors' 46. He bolted around right end and got free to go all the way for a score, but a holding penalty at the 2 took away the score. Instead, on the following snap, DeBarge charged on a left sweep for 12 yards to get into the end zone for the score and the 23-point final bulge.

Williamsport couldn't use Boonsboro's four turnovers and multiple fumbles to its advantage. The Willcats finished with 28 yards off total offense off 57 plays. Kyle Cunningham ran for 45 yards on 15 carries.

Boonsboro managed 123 yards of offense, including 117 on the ground. DeBarge finished with 47 yards on 14 carries, despite seven of his carries going for negative yardage.

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