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Warriors facing a new challenge

November 14, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

BOONSBORO -- The Boonsboro football team has been there, but hasn't done that.

Boonsboro will be making its fourth straight trip to the Maryland Class 1A West semifinal tonight, playing at 7 p.m. at Fort Hill. But it will be the first time this season that the Warriors will be playing after a loss.

It's the first of a long line of questions to which coach Clayton Anders is trying to find answers as Boonsboro hooks up against the region's top seed at Greenway Avenue Stadium.

"We have not had to experience that this year," said Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders. "We have not had to go into a game after a loss. How will we do is the big question."

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The Warriors (9-1) cruised through the early season before struggling against Brunswick and Catoctin in the last month. Boonsboro still came through it all undefeated heading into last week's rivalry showdown with Smithsburg, which was also undefeated.

Smithsburg scored and took the lead midway through the fourth quarter and dealt Boonsboro a 20-13 loss. In turn, the Warriors enter the regional as the No. 4 seed, will be forced to play on the road as long as they remain in the playoffs and must try to regain emotional balance and momentum for this game.

"There was some disappointment after that game," Anders said. "Let's not take anything away from Smithsburg. They made plays and they answered everything we did. But when we looked at the films, we saw that we missed a couple of opportunities. There were a couple of times we had chances to score and didn't convert. Still, we were 18 seconds away from playing Smithsburg again this week."

And with that comes a lesson in playoff football. The team that usually wins is the team that usually converts on opportunities.

That will be another part of the challenge for Boonsboro. The Warriors will be facing a power football team steeped in tradition, which just adds to the problem of succeeding.

"Fort Hill is big and strong and well coached," Anders said. "They scheme well. They are a fullback-oriented team and they are basic where they show you what they are going to do and tell you to come beat it. But if you find a way to stop them, they come at you a different way and they are not afraid to go over the top."

Those are much the same Boonsboro used for much of the season, save for the power game. The Warriors boast a multifaceted running game centered around halfback Brandon McLean, who rushed for more that 1,000 yards this season. Boonsboro added a passing attack with quarterback Tyler Walsh and receivers Sean Colgan and Seth Poffenberger, but that was somewhat quiet against Smithsburg.

Anders admits the Warriors will need all their weapons to take down Fort Hill and then some as they head to Cumberland, Md.

"I just hope we get a fair shake up there," he said. "I just hope the officials don't become a big part of it."

There also is that Fort Hill tradition and Boonsboro's run of short stays in the playoffs.

"I want us to get out of the 'one and done' playoff mentality," Anders said. "It is what seems to happen to all schools in this area when they go up against those Western schools. It might be good to play someone different because we played Allegany the last two years, so this might help us break that.

"Whenever those teams play each other up there, they show up and play and it's a ball game. We have gone up there and failed to play with courage. I want our kids to go up there and come off the field saying they played with courage. Let's go play. We can win. Let's go."

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