Cal­darelli, Elks break away for win over Pan­thers

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ By ADRIAN MARTIN

ELK­TON

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

He may be in his first year as head coach of the Bo­hemia Manor foot­ball team, but Joe Graf is quite fa­mil­iar with the ri­valry that ex­ists be­tween the Ea­gles and Per­ryville.

Af­ter play­ing with Bo Manor on the 2002 state cham­pi­onship team and later ac­cept­ing an assistant coach­ing job with his alma mater, Graf has per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced the an­nual con­test that takes place be­tween Ce­cil County’s only 1A East Re­gion pro­grams.

“It is a big ri­valry and it’s not a game we have to build up as coaches at all,” Graf said. “The coach­ing staffs know each other very well, [Per­ryville coach] Chris [John­son] does a tremen­dous job of pre­par­ing for teams, es­pe­cially con­fer­ence games, and the kids know each other. It’s two of the more dec­o­rated teams in Ce­cil County his­tory.”

Al­though the Pan­thers strug­gled to make the play­offs when Graf played quar­ter­back, the con­test has taken on a greater mag­ni­tude since Per­ryville hired John­son prior to the 2011 sea­son. Over the past six years, no Ce­cil County team has won more games than the Pan­thers, mak­ing this an­nual meet­ing a crit­i­cal con­test in the race for the post­sea­son.

Both teams will face off tonight, with play­off fates once again hang­ing in the bal­ance.

“This is the kind of game that makes foot­ball fun be­cause you’ve got two ri­vals that know each other re­ally well. The games have al­ways been very com­pet­i­tive one way or the other,” John­son said. “We’re both in the same re­gion, so this game has a lot of im­por­tance. I know Bo’s coaches are telling their kids that and we’re telling our kids that. I told them to be ready for a very phys­i­cal game.”

The im­por­tance of tonight’s game is made more ob­vi­ous by last year’s out­come, when Bo Manor edged Per­ryville 27-19, even­tu­ally fin­ish­ing the year with one more win than the Pan­thers and ad­vanc­ing to the re­gion play­offs as the fourth — and fi­nal — seed.

“To get where we want to be, this is an im­por­tant game. It’s the only school in the re­gion that we Spe­cial to the Whig

— Ready to put their rough start be­hind them, the Golden Elks quickly turned a cor­ner on Tues­day night.

Elk­ton scored three times in just 10 min­utes early in the se­cond half, turn­ing a tight game into a 5-3 Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion vic­tory at home over Per­ryville.

Both teams en­tered the match with just one win on the sea­son and bat­tled to a 2-2 tie at the half. Sud­denly, the Elks of­fense went into con­stantly are bat­tling with for a play­off spot. To get where we want to be and have a home play­off game, this is ex­tremely im­por­tant,” Graf said. “Us two teams have been com­pet­ing for two of the four play­off spots for at least six straight years now.”

Both teams en­ter tonight’s con­test with sim­i­lar blue­prints on both sides of the line of scrim­mage. Through five games, both of­fenses have found suc­cess rush­ing the foot­ball, with Bo Manor (3-2) fo­cus­ing their at­tack around ju­nior Bobby McLen­nan (nine rush­ing touch­downs), while Per­ryville (2-3) has had suc­cess hand­ing the ball off to se­nior Zac Zacer­ous (four rush­ing scores last week).

The Pan­thers, cur­rently seeded fourth in the re­gion, re­turn home af­ter play­ing four con­sec­u­tive games on the road. The Ea­gles, ranked se­cond in the re­gion, are un­de­feated at home and win­less on the road.

“I think the game will come down to which team plays more men­tally tough and doesn’t turn the ball over,” Graf said. “We’re mir­ror images of each other: We’re go­ing to play solid de­fense and run the ball to set up a big play on of­fense. One mis­take, one penalty, one mis­cue could de­cide this game.” over­drive. Se­nior for­ward Emily Cal­darelli led the way, scor­ing two of her three goals dur­ing the rally.

“Their record doesn’t show it, but they’ve been con­stantly get­ting bet­ter in all as­pects of the game,” Elk­ton first-year coach David Low­ell said. “They just need to know how good they are.”

Uncer tainty plagued the Elks (2-3-1 over­all, 2-0 di­vi­sion) at the start of the fall, as Cal­darelli and other key play­ers were side­lined with in­juries. With nearly ev­ery­one back, Low­ell now has the op­tion to sub­sti­tute play­ers in and out, a lux­ury most coaches take for granted.

Each squad bat­tled equally for pos­ses­sion in the first half. Cal­darelli put her team on top in the 16th minute. Run­ning full steam with the ball from the mid­dle of the field, she thread the nee­dle be­tween two de­fend­ers, out­run­ning them both be­fore punch­ing it past goal­keeper Shan­non Poole.

“I got a ball played up from the top from Kristina Keith­ley and I just saw the open­ing,” she said. “Per­ryville didn’t make it easy.

“They had re­ally good de­fense. I couldn’t have done it with­out my team­mates. (Mid­fielder) Al­li­son Rogers on the

John­son fore­sees the con­test be­ing de­cided in the fi­nal min­utes.

“I think it will be one of those games where it will come down to the fourth quar­ter and who can make plays in the fourth quar­ter,” John­son said. “There’s so much fa­mil­iar­ity, it’s al­most like an NFL game with two teams from the same di­vi­sion. You can al­most throw the records out be­cause of how well the teams will be pre­pared for one an­other.

“I love to be coach­ing, and I wouldn’t want be do­ing any­thing dif­fer­ent, but if I wasn’t coach­ing, I’d be in the stands go­ing to this game.”

Fol­low the 2016 UCBAC Foot­ball sea­son on Twit­ter: @UCBACFoot­ball left wing, she’s like my other half on the field.”

The Pan­thers (1-6, 0-3) an­swered right back three min­utes later on Alex Koons’ cor­ner kick that sailed into the net. Per­ryville briefly took its only lead of the match when Mad­die Carr snagged the ball from Elk de­fend­ers in­side the box and scored the first of her two goals.

Elk­ton re-tied the game less than the minute later, how­ever, on a goal from mid­fielder De­laney Shertz, who was as­sisted by a well-placed cross pass from Keith­ley.

The Elks took the lead for good 3:21 into the se­cond half when Cal­darelli scored af­ter Rogers’ at­tempt bounced in and out of Poole’s hands. Rogers got a se­cond chance three min­utes later and didn’t miss, mak­ing it a 4-2 game. Cal­darelli put the fi­nal stamp on the frenzy with her third goal.

“It’s hard for your MVP to also be your un­sung hero,” Low­ell said of Cal­darelli. “She brings more to the field than peo­ple see from the stands. She’s very un­selfish and has a good shot. She picks up passes well and she’s the equiv­a­lent of hav­ing a coach on the field. All I can do is yell from the side­lines and some­times they can’t hear me. She al­ready knows what needs to be said.”

Elk­ton stacked play­ers on de­fense as time ticked off the clock. The Pan­thers didn’t score their third goal un­til the 73rd minute.

“I’ll take the hit for [the three-goal swing],” Per­ryville coach Cay Weller said. “We switched up po­si­tions and Elk­ton took ad­van­tage. They shoved it down our throats. I’m happy be­cause that’s the most in­ten­sity we’ve had when we’ve been down more than one goal. That’s what we’re try­ing to teach the girls, not to look at the score­board.”

As the Elks con­tinue into the con­fer­ence-heavy por­tion of their sched­ule, they hope to stay healthy and put to­gether more dom­i­nant surges.

“If they keep play­ing the way they have been and be­lieve that they’re a great team, they’ll be fine,” Low­ell said.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Per­ryville will host Bo­hemia Manor Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion foot­ball ac­tion tonight.

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