Week 10 HS Football Thoughts/Playoff Preview

by Greg Swatek. 0 Comments

Though there was little drama regarding playoff spots, the final week of the regular season certainly didn’t lack intrigue in Frederick County.

Tuscarora capped its fine season by upsetting playoff-bound Oakdale, and Walkersville snapped a 10-game losing streak against Middletown to wrap up its first playoff spot since 2012.

The Bears and Lions will be joined in the postseason by Linganore, which capped its second straight unblemished regular season with a no-fills, 35-0 home win over chief rival Urbana, snapping the Hawks’ three-game winning streak and sending them to the second .500 season (5-5) in school history. With the county’s leading rusher, Dante Butler, sidelined by an injury, Linganore’s running game fell onto the shoulders of quarterback Nathaniel Musselman (126 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries) and Butler’s younger brother, Davon (131 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries), who filled in more than adequately.

Linganore (10-0) is the No. 2 seed in the Class 3A West playoffs and will host speedy and once-beaten Seneca Valley Friday night in the regional semifinals. The winner of that game will meet face the winner of the other 3A West semifinal between top-seeded and defending regional champion Damascus (10-0) and fourth-seeded Oakdale (8-2) the following week.

The Bears season-long turnover problem reared its ugly head again in the 30-19 loss at Tuscarora, as they saw potential scoring drives stall on the Titans’ 12- and 9-yard lines due to giveaways. The turnovers spoiled a 174-yard, two touchdown performance from junior Percy Agyei-Obese, who is a defensive standout as well. Oakdale can’t afford any turnovers if it plans to extend its season Friday night at Damascus.

Full credit also belongs to Tuscarora for making a 14-10 lead in the first half stand. Senior John Chaney rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns and junior Rodney Dorsey scored on a 55-yard pass from sophomore Christian Edwards and a 35-yard run. The Titans (7-3) will forever rue those back-to-back losses to South Hagerstown and Urbana in the middle of the season, which likely ruined their playoff hopes.

Walkersville, meanwhile, extended its fine season with a thorough 21-7 victory at Middletown. The victory didn’t just snap a long losing streak against a main nemesis. It also capped a remarkable turnaround for the Lions, who were 2-8 just two seasons ago. Now, with a fairly young cast, they are 8-2 and the No. 4 seed in the Class 2A West playoffs. Walkersville will face top-seeded Oakland Mills (8-2) on the road Friday night firmly believing it has a good chance to win. Middletown, meanwhile, finished its second straight season at 4-6.

In the other rivalry games, Catoctin (5-5) pulled away from Brunswick for a 47-27 road win, sending the Railroaders to their first winless season in school history. And Thomas Johnson (4-6) rolled to a 40-0 road win over Frederick (1-9) in a physical installment of the intracity game. It marked the Patriots’ third consecutive victory over the Cadets and ninth in the last 10 years.

In private-school play, St. John’s Catholic Prep capped its first unbeaten regular season in school history with a 42-0 victory over Friends School at McCurdy Field. The Vikings (9-0-1) will face Annapolis Christian (6-2-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Archbishop Spalding in Baltimore, trying to win their second MIAA C Conference championship in three seasons. The teams played to a 30-30 tie in the season opener at Annapolis Christian before St. John’s won the later meeting between the teams, 28-18, on Oct. 9 at McCurdy Field.

Elsewhere, Maryland School for the Deaf (10-1) wrapped up its season and, more than likely, another deaf prep national title with a 52-0 win at Florida School for the Deaf. Orioles’ junior running back Austin Latin surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, joining sophomore teammate Brady Perry.

Frederick County Playoff Schedule

Class 3A West Semifinals

7 p.m. Friday

No. 4 Oakdale (8-2) at No. 1 Damascus (10-0)

No. 3 Seneca Valley (9-1) at No. 2 Linganore (10-0)

Class 2A West Semifinal

7 p.m. Friday

No. 4 Walkersville (8-2) at No. 1 Oakland Mills (8-2)

MIAA C Conference Championship Game

4 p.m. Saturday at Archbishop Spalding in Baltimore

St. John’s Catholic Prep (9-0-1) vs. Annapolis Christian (6-2-1)

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