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Warriors get caught up in Campers' confidence game

November 18, 2006|by MARK KELLER

BOONSBORO - It's not supposed to be easy to convert fourth-down plays into first downs.

Allegany took it a step further Friday night, converting fourth downs into touchdowns.

And they made it look awfully easy.

The Campers converted all three of their fourth-down tries in the first half - two for touchdowns - to help deflate Boonsboro in a 33-0 win in the Maryland Class 1A West semifinals at Warrior Field.

For Allegany, the idea of going for it on fourth down was a matter of building confidence in the wake of a tough defeat.

"We lost pretty bad to Fort Hill last week and we needed to somehow build the kids' confidence and show we had confidence in them," Allegany coach Tom Preaskorn said. "Our defense was playing really well, so we thought we would give it a shot."

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The gambles - such as they were - paid huge dividends for Allegany.

In the first quarter, quarterback Derek Haller picked up a first down on fourth-and-3 at the Boonsboro 38. Though the Warriors forced a fumble to end that drive four plays later, the Campers had set a precedent.

"We gave the quarterback the option on the sneak. If it's there, go ahead and take it," Preaskorn said. "Derek made some great decisions and that gave us the confidence."

Haller also made some nice throws, connecting with Jeff Babich on an 8-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-4 play and finding tight end Ryan Foutz down the middle for a 36-yard score on a fourth-and-6 with just 46 seconds left in the first half.

"The shots they took in their passing game were well timed," Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders said. "The score before the half was big because when you convert before the half with a little time, it's never good if you're on the wrong end of it."

Unfortunately for the Warriors, they found themselves on the wrong end of most everything Friday night, least of all the score.

A team that prides itself on its running game, Boonsboro was held to minus-10 yards on the ground and picked up just one first down in the running game.

There was nowhere to run inside. There was nowhere to run outside.

And with each play, the Campers' confidence grew, as did the Warriors' frustration level.

"We didn't have any first-down success, and if you're a running team and you get behind schedule, it can make for a long night," Anders said. "They schemed us well, but what it comes down to is you have to man up on them. And we couldn't do it."

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