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Keller - Opportunity still loyal despite all of Blazers' hard knocks

September 28, 2011|By MARK KELLER
  • Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor
Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor

My wife tells a story of one of her high school teachers who would respond to every knock on his classroom door with the same phrase.

“Well, it can’t be oppportunity because opportunity only knocks once.”

She arrived to that teacher’s class late one day, only to find the classroom door closed and locked.

Hoping to at least give the impression of wanting to be in the class, she knocked on the door.

Once.

The teacher eventually answered the door with a puzzled look.

“Opportunity AND I only knock once,” she said.

Then she went to the office.

Certainly “opportunity knocks but once” is a well-known phrase.

It’s also totally bogus.

Louis L’Amour agreed, saying this:

“Some say opportunity knocks only once. That is not true. Opportunity knocks all the time, but you have to be ready for it. If the chance comes, you must have the equipment to take advantage of it.”

Opportunity knocked for the Clear Spring football team Saturday morning.

Off to the first 3-0 start in the program’s brief history, the Blazers faced Boonsboro in a matchup of the final two unbeaten Washington County football teams.

It was a measuring-stick game for Clear Spring, a chance to see just how far the program had come in the last couple years.

Between 2004 and 2008 — the first five years of varsity football at Clear Spring — the Blazers won just three of 50 games.

The school did a sort of soft reset on the program, pulling the team out of the MVAL Antietam and scheduling schools much more comparable in size.

The result: 11 wins combined the last two years and a run at a playoff berth that fell just short last season.

Following up with their strong start this year, the Blazers went to answer that knock Saturday morning.

The knock turned out to be a gallop that belonged to the Boonsboro running game, as the Warriors became the last unbeaten standing with a 28-7 win over Clear Spring.

That the Blazers were even in that position — unbeaten against unbeaten in late September — is proof that the phrase is false.

The team has had numerous opportunities in its eight varsity seasons.

The fact there was a first varsity season was improbable. Clear Spring has always been very supportive of its soccer team and there were lots of questions about whether the small school could field a team long-term.

After treading water for those first five years playing — and being bludgeoned by — the likes of Boonsboro, Brunswick, Catoctin, North and South Hagerstown, the Blazers got the opportunity to play an independent schedule, likely saving the program.

In 2009, the wins started to come. The combination of a more competitive schedule, better coaching, better talent and — maybe most importantly — more confidence led the Blazers out of the darkness and into the competition for a playoff berth in 2010.

Saturday’s game was another knock at the door for the Blazers. And though the door knocked them down this time, you can bet they’ll be better equipped to answer in the future.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7728 or by email at keller@herald-mail.com

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