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Wildcats, Warriors live to play another day

November 06, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Forget about the mammoth job facing the Williamsport Wildcats on Friday night.

Sunday night, Williamsport coach Randy Longnecker and his staff assembled to start pouring over videotape, something that normally doesn’t happen at this time of year for Wildcats’ football.

“Normally we’d be turning in and stocking equipment,” Longnecker said. “You kind of pinch yourself a little, but (Sunday night) we start on a game plan.”

And it will have to be a perfect game plan under any circumstance.

The Wildcats (5-5) officially reached the Maryland state football playoffs for the first team in school history and will hit the road Friday night at Middletown (9-1), Class 2A West’s No. 1 seed. Kickoff is tentatively set for 7 p.m.

“We’re the oldest Washington County Schools program that hasn’t been to the playoffs,” said Longnecker. “We came close in 1989 and coach (Eric Michael) came close down to the last game.

It’s the first year Williamsport has been in the 2A classification.

“We feel like we’ve earned our spot,” said Longnecker. “We played a tough schedule and really could have been looking at being 7-3 or 8-2. It all goes back to December of last year with the 7 a.m. weight sessions.”

The other West semifinal pairing will be South Carroll (6-4) at Walkersville (9-1).

In the 1A West Region, Boonsboro will make its ninth trip to the postseason under coach Clayton Anders. The Warriors were in the playoffs annually from 2005-2009.

“It’s always one of your goals to be in a position to qualify and we have been all the way through,” said Anders. “We’d like to have been No. 1 in the region but anytime you stay home for a playoff game you’ll take it.”

Boonsboro (9-1) will entertain Mountain Ridge (9-1) on Friday in a 7 p.m. kickoff. This will be the Warriors’ first home playoff game since hosting Allegany in 2006.

The other half of the 1A West bracket has Brunswick (7-3) playing at Fort Hill (10-0), the only team to beat Mountain Ridge.

“We know Mountain Ridge is a good team, but right now we’re concerned with our team,” said Anders. “We’re nicked up right now.”

Elsewhere, Greencastle returns to the PIAA District 3 playoffs for the sixth straight year. The Blue Devils (8-2) will host Shippensburg (8-2) on Friday at Kaley Field at 7 p.m.

Greencastle edged Shippensburg 28-27 on Oct. 21 in a Mid-Penn Conference regular-season game.

Chambersburg, at 5-5, managed a spot in the Class AAAA District 3 playoffs will be on the road Friday at Daniel Boone (9-1).

In West Virginia, defending Class AAA champion Martinsburg (10-0) begins its title defense by hosting Beckley Woodrow Wilson (5-5).

Musselman (7-3) also qualified for the postseason and will travel to meet Morgantown (8-2).

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