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Warriors win, make playoffs

November 10, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

SMITHSBURG - When it comes to gifts, the Boonsboro football team knows how to deliver.

This one didn't have a bow or any wrapping paper, still coach Clayton Anders couldn't have asked for anything else.

The Warriors presented Anders with the birthday gift to beat all, complete with a celebration, as fullback Andrew Griffith scored his third touchdown of the night with 30.6 seconds remaining on Friday for a 25-20 victory over arch-rival Smithsburg.

With the victory, the Warriors gave Anders his cake and ate it too. Boonsboro won the fourth seed in next week's Maryland Class 1A West playoffs and a tie for the MVAL Antietam title. It also stopped Smithsburg - which had already clinched the West's third seed - from winning the outright league title and completing its first undefeated season since 1984.

"I told the team after the game that I gave them a present (Thursday)," Anders said. "We have a tradition that when it's a coach's birthday, they have to do up-downs to match his age. I didn't say anything about my birthday because we would have spent two days doing 54 up-downs.

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"This is the greatest gift they could have given me. They made me proud. This is huge."

There was no shortage of heroes for Boonsboro (7-3, 4-1), starting with Griffith's 94 yards and touchdowns of 3, 2, and 7 yards. Ryan McLean added 110 yards in 21 carries in the wet, sloppy conditions.

But quarterback John Shobe made the most decisive cut in Anders' cake of all with one fearless play with 1:45 remaining.

Smithsburg had rallied back for a 13-0 halftime deficit to take a 20-19 lead with 4:27 left. The Leopards had tightened up their defense in the second half, pressuring Shobe into bad throws and sacks.

Boonsboro started from its 36 and drove to the Smithsburg 47 before beginning to sputter. On fourth-and-15 at the Leopards 44 and following a timeout, Shobe stepped back in the pocket, stepped up into the rush and lofted a perfect strike down the right sideline to catch Chris Selby in stride for a 33-yard gain.

"I knew I had to throw it," Shobe said. "I had to make the play because if I didn't, there would have been no more after that. Our season would have been done. I'm a senior and I didn't want it to end now."

Three plays later, Griffith capped the drive with his 7-yard run. The Warriors failed on the conversion to keep the lead at five with 30.6 seconds remaining.

"We struggled," Anders said. "We tried to do some things on the fly. John isn't comfortable. Still, if you look at his numbers, he'll take a sack before he'll throw an interception to keep the ball. He did a great job and Chris has been there all year for us."

Smithsburg took a swipe at stealing the game in the end, running six plays in the final 26 seconds to get to the Boonsboro 39 before time ran out.

"We didn't play well. I'm upset that we couldn't get up for a Smithsburg-Boonsboro game," Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "But my hats off to them. They wanted to get in the playoffs. This game comes down to which team wants it more and has the most will and heart."

Boonsboro made its statement early by controlling the ball in the first half with the ground game. Griffith cashed in the Warriors' first possession with his 3-yard score to cap a 13-play, 5:19 drive for the 7-0 lead.

The Warriors pushed out to a 13-0 halftime lead when Shobe connected with Jordan Young across the middle for a 32-yard catch-and-run score, 23 seconds before intermission.

Smithsburg got into the game with a 3-yard run by Bobby Smith and a 19-yard run by Erick Parker to wrap around Griffith's second score for to move into 19-14 after three quarters.

The Leopards took the lead when Bryan Faulders hit Matt Plumley on a 57-yard scoring strike. Smithsburg failed on a conversion pass to give them the 20-19 lead to set up the Warriors' heroics.

"What you want as a coach is for your team to play well. It is a reflection on you and your staff," Anders said. "This present is huge."

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