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Buddy system works for Smithsburg

December 16, 2007|By MARK KELLER

Buddy Orndorff isn't one to get caught up in postseason honors.

Don't misunderstand: The Smithsburg coach said he was flattered to be selected The Herald-Mail's Washington County Football Coach of the Year, but something inside of him prevents him from dwelling on the award for too long.

"I don't do a real good job of reflecting on the past. Maybe it's a character flaw or something," Orndorff said. "I have a real hard time appreciating what's happened. I appreciate that we had a good year. I appreciate that we had a great group of kids. But I immediately get nervous about how are we going to do that again?

"You've been successful, now what?"

Since Orndorff finds it difficult to look back on the 2007 season, we'll do it for him. The Leopards finished the season 9-2, clinching their third playoff berth in five seasons. They also won a share of the MVAL Antietam Conference title, their first piece of a league title since 1984.

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Certainly the season didn't end as Orndorff or the Leopards would have liked, with back-to-back losses to arch-rival Boonsboro in the season finale and Fort Hill, Orndorff's alma mater, in the Maryland Class 1A West semifinals.

"There was disappointment in losing to Boonsboro, there always is when you lose that one. I just didn't think we played well in that game," Orndorff said. "Then we were kind of in awe, kind of star struck by Fort Hill's stadium. By the time we were ready to play ball, it was 21-0.

"No coach likes to end the season like that, but this was one of the best groups of kids to be around. They were a team in every aspect of the word."

Orndorff has a 48-61 record in 10 1/2 seasons as the Leopards head coach. He took over the team when longtime coach Carroll Reid stepped down midway through the 1997 season.

He often credits his assistant coaches in postgame comments, and does the same when discussing postseason awards.

"It's all a product of having a great coaching staff from the bottom all the way to the top," Orndorff said. "The freshman and JV coaches all care about the kids. Obviously, I do or I wouldn't be here. And we all work well together. I want opinions from them. I don't want "yes" guys.

"But the bottom line is I've got the hammer because it's my butt that's on the line. It's a teaching process for everyone involved, myself included."

Orndorff pointed to two games - wins over Winters Mill and Walkersville - as those that set the tone for the 2007 Leopards.

"All teams have that game where they have a couple of breaks," Orndorff said. "Those were ours. Bryan (Faulders), Kevin (Kocsis) and Josh (Conway) make some plays in the passing game, Alex (Akers) makes a simple but great run, Danny (Rishell) does big things on defense. Years past, those things go against us and we're 5-5."

But that's all yesterday's news for Orndorff. He's already moved on.

"I'm already filling in who we're losing, looking at JV film, we started lifting weights the other day," Orndorff said. "I've never been able to live on the past.

"OK, that's nice. Now what are we gonna do next year?"

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