Leopards' big secret is no secret at all

November 06, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

SMITHSBURG - Coach Buddy Orndorff has a secret.

It isn't of the guarded or top variety, but it is a secret all the same.

"The whole secret is to win the game," Orndorff said. "We do whatever it takes to do that."

There you have it, folks - the driving point which controls the success of the Smithsburg football team.

The Leopards have long been considered a ball-control team. They run the ball and depend on stifling defense to get the job done. But this season, image isn't everything.

"We like to throw the ball to keep teams honest," Orndorff said. "But when you have the weapons we have, you have to get them the ball. You can talk about balance, but we do whatever it takes to win the game."


The philosophy has meant all the difference in the world to Smithsburg, which is 9-0 for the second straight season as it enters Friday's pivotal showdown with 9-0 Boonsboro for everything ranging from a perfect record to playoff seedings at stake.

But if there is a real secret to Smithsburg's success, it stands front and center.

"It came down to the offensive line coming together," Orndorff said. "We had the skilled kids, but we lost five linemen, including the whole one side. We weren't sure what we needed. It took a lot of reps and scheming, but they have done well."

Because of the line play, the Leopards are a much different team than Orndorff anticipated.

"It's funny. I thought we would be throwing the ball more," he admitted.

With questions about the line, quarterback Kyle Orndorff would have been called on for quick passing, basically beating the defensive pressure to the punch.

But when the line came though, the Orndorffs had a full array of weapons to choose from.

Running backs Erick Parker and Tyler Scott became relevant and receivers Josh Conway and Billy Lawrence have been able to show big-play capabilities. Parker went over the 1,000-yard mark during the Leopards' 41-0 win over Williamsport last week and Lawrence is one touchdown catch away from setting Smithsburg's single-season school record.

"Our line came out to play," Conway said. "It has been the whole team. The line has blocked. Erick and Tyler have been running the ball. And Kyle has spread the ball around. We've pulled it all together and we've been solid."

Kyle Orndorff's part in the passing game has been deceiving. By percentage, he probably wouldn't get passing marks. But he has 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 77 attempts.

"He's done a great job ... and I'm not just saying that because he's my son," Buddy Orndorff said. "He's not a surprise because I knew what he is capable of. He's not afraid to stand in there and take a hit."

Smithsburg's defensive side has held its own, too, allowing the Leopards to play strong defense and shut out four opponents.

"It all comes together," said Scott, who also plays linebacker. "(The line keeps) the linebackers free so that they can make the hits. We are able to keep less in the box, but we have to cover more space.

"The major thing is that we have all been playing together for 10 years. We have had the same coaches for 10 years. We are all friends and we depend on each other. We all know what everyone is doing so it makes it easier."

Put it all together and Smithsburg is 9-0 again, a place that Buddy Orndorff cautiously expected.

"I'm surprised, but I'd be disappointed as heck if we weren't here," he said. "We have got here with our senior leadership. This is a good group. They know what it takes to win and they work hard."

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