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Leopards-Warriors has become the main event

November 06, 2007|By MARK KELLER

In high school football this week, there are big games - and then, there are big games.

As big games go in Hagerstown, the North-South game is it. Rival schools playing for city pride and bragging rights ... that's big.

Add to it the fact that Friday's 51st meeting will be the first played at North Hagerstown ... that's big, too.

But while interest in the city matchup may be high, it's hard not to look at it as something of an undercard this year to Washington County's other major rivalry game.

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Smithsburg enters its annual season finale against Boonsboro with a chance to go 10-0 for the first time since 1984. The Leopards already have locked up the No. 3 seed in the Maryland Class 1A West playoffs.

The Leopards also have clinched no less than a share of their first MVAL title since that 1984 season. No doubt, they'd like to win the Antietam Conference outright rather than share it with Boonsboro and possibly Catoctin.

While that sounds like plenty to play for, Boonsboro, indeed, may have even more at stake.

Yes, the Warriors (6-3) are aiming to knock off their arch rival. But they're also playing for next week ... because, chances are, if they don't beat the Leopards, they won't make the postseason.

Each team has a piece of history on its side. Boonsboro has dominated the series recently, winning 12 of the last 15 meetings.

However, each time a team has come into the game undefeated, it has left the game undefeated.

More big games

West Virginia and Pennsylvania teams start their playoffs this weekend and three area teams have qualified.

Greencastle-Antrim will host a playoff game for the first time Friday at 7 p.m. when it welcomes Daniel Boone. Tickets for that game go on sale today at 11 a.m. in the main office of the high school.

Advance tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets at the gate are $5.

One week ago, Martinsburg was on top of the West Virginia Class AAA playoff ratings. This week, after the state Supreme Court sided with the WVSSAC in forcing the Bulldogs to forfeit two games and a 29-6 loss to Jefferson, Martinsburg is 11th and will travel to Bridgeport for a first-round game Friday at 7:30.

There will be a playoff game played at Martinsburg on Saturday, though the Bulldogs will not be involved. Berkeley Springs, the No. 4 team in Class AA, will play Logan at Cobourn Field at 1:30.

In the polls

Smithsburg is the only undefeated team remaining in the area following Martinsburg's loss to Jefferson and the Leopards become the first team besides Martinsburg to hold the No. 1 spot this season.

The Bulldogs drop to No. 2 as voters placed them anywhere from first to fifth on ballots this week, while Greencastle holds steady at No. 3.

Jefferson jumps two spots into a tie at No. 4 following the win over Martinsburg, while Berkeley Springs holds onto a piece of the fourth spot after beating Hancock.

Boonsboro falls from No. 5 to No. 6 after its loss to Catoctin, and Mercersburg Academy stays at No. 7 by beating Kiski Prep.

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