BOONSBORO — Sometimes you have to know when to say 'when.'
In preparing for Friday night's Maryland Class 1A West final against Fort Hill, Boonsboro football coach Clayton Anders and his staff have viewed plenty of game film from the Sentinels.
But after a while, enough is enough.
“All of their games are available online, so we got as much video as we could stand,” Anders said. “I like to see what they've done the last three or four games and go with that.
“Actually, you want to look at the closest games they've had and what they've done in situations there. That's where you get real tendencies. Of course, they haven't had many close games this year.”
That's putting it mildly. The Sentinels (11-0), the No. 19 team in the state and the top overall seed in the 1A playoffs, have outscored their opponents 503-70 this season. Only one team — Taylor Allderdice of Pittsburgh — has stayed within 20 points of Fort Hill.
“That's what makes it difficult in watching film. If you're watching games that are blowouts, they can run anything they want,” Anders said. “If they get in a second-and-long or third-and-long, it doesn't matter what they run because they know they'll either get it or they're just so far ahead it doesn't hurt if they don't get a first down.”
What Anders saw a lot of in the film he did watch was Fort Hill's Clay twins — Dylan and Garrett. Both had huge games in the Sentinels' 49-27 semifinal win over Brunswick last Friday.
Dylan Clay, a running back, ran for 120 yards and three touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass from backup quarterback Mike Austin, a former Boonsboro player.
Garrett Clay, Fort Hill's starting quarterback, ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
“We certainly saw a lot of the Clay kids,” Anders said. “They're really nice players. I'm really impressed with their speed. They're a big-play team, and if they're able to get those kids in open space, watch out.”
Anders said the Sentinels have the best collection of skilled players and size on the lines that the Warriors (10-1) will have faced this season.
“If North had two Phillip Butlers, it would be something like that,” Anders said. “We've been out-personnelled all year long, so this is nothing different. Our collective worth as a team is what has made us successful this season.”
The Warriors don't have Clay twins, nor do they have two Phillip Butlers. What they do have is a stable of ball carriers who, like the rest of the Boonsboro team, are greater than the sum of their parts, Anders said.
J.T. Rice returned to the lineup last week after missing the season finale with a concussion to rush for 113 yards in the Warriors' 27-12 semifinal win over Mountain Ridge. Zach Poffenberger, who filled the void left by Rice's absence, ran for 103; Gunnar Whipp rushed for 59 yards; Justin Jardeleza had 53 yards before leaving with an injured ankle; and quarterback Ryan Ruiz added 36 yards.
Jardeleza said after the Mountain Ridge game that he would not miss the region final game, and Anders confirmed that Jardeleza had been cleared to play on Wednesday.
“The reality is we don't have any superstars. They have better people than us,” Anders said. “We've had that all year and we've been able to overcome it.”
Anders said in order for Boonsboro to do what no one else has done this year — beat Fort Hill — the Warriors will have to take care of football fundamentals. That means blocking, tackling, protecting the football and executing the game plan.
“The team that puts the ball on the ground or gives it away is going to be in trouble,” Anders said. “They're bigger than us. So what? So is everyone else. They're fast. So what? It means we have to tackle.
“There were 32 playoff games last week and the lower seed won seven of them. Based on that, three or four games will be won by the lower seed this week. We want to be one of the upsets.”