Weeks 1 and 2 HS Football Thoughts and Observations

by Greg Swatek. 0 Comments

Through two weeks of the 2015 high school football season, no team has separated itself from the rest of the pack.

Sure, Linganore and Oakdale seem like the teams to beat, with a tier of capable teams like Tuscarora, Middletown, Walkersville and Urbana following close behind.

But even the Lancers and Bears have shown vulnerabilities so far that make you wonder about their long-range prospects in a vicious region (the Class 3A West). Linganore’s offense, expected to be the strength of the team, has yet to get in sync. It turned the ball over on downs early in Friday night’s 49-6 home win over Indian River (Del.) and nearly did again only a few drives later. No rusher eclipsed 100 yards for the game, and senior quarterback Nathaniel Musselman completed just 4 of 14 pass attempts for fewer than 100 yards. This followed an uneven offensive performance in a season-opening win over Tuscarora for Linganore.

Oakdale, meanwhile, has two blowout wins on its resume so far. But the Bears turned the ball over six times in a 42-10 home win over Westminster. Coach Kurt Stein said he had never seen a team be that careless with the ball and still manage to win. He told his team afterward that it had lucked out, and he was right. Against most other opponents on its schedule, Oakdale would not have gotten away with that.

So, we are still waiting for the top teams to put forward their best foot. There are three 2-0 teams in Frederick County, but who is the best? Is it Linganore, the preseason favorite of many? Is it Oakdale? Or is it Walkersville? The Lions won an impressive game at Thomas Johnson (1-1) in Week 1 and then blew out Liberty, 41-6, in their home opener Friday.

Urbana (1-1) fell hard from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 30-point loss at 3A West rival South Hagerstown. The Hawks’ inexperience is likely to surface from time to time this season. Facing their first true test on the road, they obviously did not pass. Urbana faces 0-2 Westminster next week before traveling to Oakdale for another pivotal game.

Middletown also suffered its first loss after getting stuffed on the goal line in the closing moments by a fellow perennial power in Class 2A, Eastern Tech. The Knights (1-1) must shake off their 20-14 loss in Essex quickly because Linganore comes to town next Friday.

Teams that won to even their record at 1-1 included Tuscarora, Catoctin and Thomas Johnson.

The Titans, who gave Linganore all it could handle in Week 1, put together a solid first half in building a 26-point lead over visiting North Hagerstown. But Tuscarora lost its patience and composure in the second half, allowing the Hubs (0-2) to get back in the game and ultimately tighten the final score, 33-21. Titans coach Vince Ahearn knows they must do better going forward.

Catoctin, meanwhile, got its offense going with 317 rushing yards and five touchdowns via the ground attack in a 43-6 at Frederick (0-2).

And TJ played in the mud and rain Saturday afternoon and came away with a 24-20 victory at Forestville Military Academy in Prince George’s County. Junior Nick Bishop fueled the effort with four touchdowns, including three rushing scores. Bishop’s other touchdown came via an 85-yard pass play.

In private-school play, Maryland School for the Deaf improved to 3-0 under first-year coach Ryan Bonheyo with a 58-0 home win over Capital Christian. St. John’s Catholic Prep, meanwhile, went to Baltimore and beat Concordia Prep, 36-6, for its first win of the season. In Week 1, the Vikings (1-0-1) tied Annapolis Christian, 30-30.

What will next week bring? Will a clear favorite in Frederick County begin to emerge?

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