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Boonsboro embraces the role of underdog

November 16, 2007|By MARK KELLER

BOONSBORO - One week ago today, the Boonsboro football team was on the outside looking in.

Sitting in fifth position in the Class 1A West standings, only a win over arch-rival Smithsburg would get the Warriors tickets to the region playoffs without paying for them.

Tonight, the Warriors will be admitted to Cumberland's Greenway Avenue Stadium at no charge as the No. 4 seed in the 1A West playoffs, ready to take on top-seeded Allegany.

The Warriors (7-3) beat Smithsburg 25-20 last week in the traditional season finale for the Washington County rivals. The victory over the then-unbeaten Leopards gave Boonsboro enough points to leap over Mountain Ridge for the final postseason berth.

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"It was a real big win because of the scenario," said Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders. "That's the first time we've ever been in that situation, where you have to win to get in. But you always want to win in week 10, because even if it's your only win, it sure makes the offseason easier."

But Boonsboro isn't ready for the offseason yet, and certainly a meeting with Allegany (10-0) will be anything but easy.

The Warriors need look back no further than last season to realize that. Allegany came into Boonsboro as the No. 3 seed in the region and dismantled the Warriors on their home field, 33-0.

Boonsboro, which has been a run-first team for ages, rushed 30 times for minus-10 yards and did not get a first down on the ground until the final two minutes of the game.

"They played a great ballgame ... all the credit to them. But I don't feel that was anywhere close to our best effort," Anders said. "They had a lot of injuries and we thought we might have caught them at a good time, but they were really inspired. Players stepped up and they took it to us."

Anders said he realizes the Warriors are a decided underdog tonight, but that's no excuse for not playing well.

"You know it's a longshot, but at the same time, you want to go out and compete and give a good accounting of yourself and your team," Anders said. "The only thing that is not acceptable is to be defeated before you even take the field and not compete. That's what I don't want to see."

Boonsboro will have its hands full trying to stop the many weapons in Allegany's wing-T offense tonight. Fullback Mike Twigg gets the majority of the carries in the backfield and quarterback Travis Orange isn't afraid to put the ball in the air, often looking for receiver Jeff Babich when he does.

That's a tall order for the Warriors defense, which has been Anders' biggest worry all season.

"Week in, week out, that's been a concern. If we can't stop the fullback game, we'll see a lot of it," Anders said. "They'll use the halfback to spread out the field a little bit, but if we can't stop the belly and trap and waggle, they don't need to show us anything else."

Boonsboro has some weapons of its own, with 1,300-yard rusher Ryan McLean, 600-yard runners Andrew Griffith and Brandon McLean and 900-yard passer John Shobe.

Whether this year's offense fares better against the Campers than last year's remains to be seen.

"We have to take care of the football and play with passion and courage. We're spotting them size at every position," Anders said. "They're bigger and stronger. We might be faster, but they're definitely bigger and stronger.

"We have to hope they're going to help us some, whether it's not tackling well, putting the ball on the ground, penalties ... anything where they're going to give us opportunities."

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