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Warriors thirsting for playoff victory

November 10, 2011|By MARK KELLER | keller@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO — The Boonsboro football team is hoping to see a couple of droughts end tonight.

The Warriors have lost six straight postseason games since a state quarterfinal win over Snow Hill in 2001.

That dry spell coincides with one that all of Washington County has endured. No county football team has won in the postseason since North Hagerstown won a region semifinal game in 2006.

Boonsboro aims to reverse those trends when it plays host to Mountain Ridge in the Maryland Class 1A West semifinals at Warrior Field.

“Having the game here is very important,” said Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders. “Any time you can get a playoff game on your home field, you’ll take it. It helps with the emotions.”

The Warriors (9-1) are the No. 2 seed in the region, while the Miners (9-1) are seeded third. Top-seeded Fort Hill (10-0) hosts No. 4 Brunswick (7-3) in the other semifinal game.

“They’re a pretty good team, 9-1 just like us,” Boonsboro tight end Aaron Turner said of Mountain Ridge. “The only team they lost to is Fort Hill, who’s very good.”

There are plenty of similarities in the two teams.

 Both teams started the season on eight-game winning streaks before suffering their only losses in Week 9. Mountain Ridge lost 41-0 to Fort Hill; the Warriors lost 28-21 in overtime to North Hagerstown.

n Both the Miners and Warriors have proven to be prolific offensive teams this season. The Miners scored 396 points in the regular season, topping 50 points four times; the Warriors scored 352 points, topping 40 on three occasions.

n Both teams have been stingy defensively at times. The Miners allowed 180 points, giving up 12 or fewer points five times; the Warriors gave up 163 points and held seven opponents to 14 points or fewer.

The Miners are led by senior running back Jarrod Harper, who has committed to West Virginia, and junior quarterback Dan Streitbeck, but Anders said Mountain Ridge has as many weapons as any team the Warriors have faced this season.

“As far as the sheer volume of what they do, they’ll be the most talented we’ve faced,” Anders said. “We’ve played a bunch of spread (offense) teams, but Mountain Ridge does a lot of shifting.

“They’ll line up in almost a wishbone set, then shift to an empty backfield. They’re all over the place in what they do with their sets.”

While Harper gets the majority of the carries — and the ink — for the Miners, he has plenty of support around him.

“He’s not a one-man show, that’s for sure,” Anders said. “But you realize that they do things to put him in a position to make plays, to get him into space. You always have to account for him, certainly.”

That type of versatility has been one of the trademarks of the Boonsboro offense this year, too. Quarterback Ryan Ruiz has proven adept at running the Warriors’ new no-huddle offense. And while Boonsboro is still a run-first team, Ruiz can put the ball in the air and on target when the situation calls for it.

But the Warriors’ bread and butter is still the running game out of the wing-T formation. J.T. Rice and Justin Jardeleza both are nursing injuries, but are expected to play. Zach Poffenberger and Gunnar Whipp carried the load in last week’s win over Smithsburg, giving Anders five solid options — including Ruiz — to advance the ball on the ground.

“They have a set defense that they work out of and they’re pretty good at it,” Anders said. “So it’s up to us to execute plays and sets based on what they’re giving us.”

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