Eagles punch ticket to playoffs with shut-out win over Panthers
PERRYVILLE — Another year, another postseason berth for the Bohemia Manor football team.
The Eagles shut out visiting Perryville, 28-0, Friday night to clinch a spot in the 1A state tournament for a sixth-straight year.
“It’s pretty special,” Bo Manor coach Joe Graf said. “I was able to take over for Todd [Shives], who did an excellent job of establishing the culture here. Just being able to continue his streak, I get great kids that buy into what we do, listen, and just want to soak up the knowledge of the game.”
The 1A rivals met in the regular-season finale with a playoff spot up grabs. The winner would get in, the loser’s season was likely over.
“We told them it’s basically win or go home, but it was still just a football game,” Graf said. “Stay mentally focused and put your teammates in the best position possible to win the game.”
Senior quarterback Johnny Knight accounted for all four of his team’s touchdown – three through the air and one with his legs.
The first came when he hit Jake Harris over the middle for a 54-yard touchdown midway through the opening quarter.
Less than a minute into the following quarter, Knight kept it himself for a 46-yard touchdown scamper.
“It was read-option – just reading the D-end. We practiced it all week, prepared for is. Saw it, pulled it, took off,” he said. “Our game plan coming in, we changed some things up and put a little shotgun in. That really helped us in the long run. Our line, give all the credit to them up front, they just did a helluva job blocking for us.”
Knight completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Garcia 28 seconds before halftime, then intercepted a Perryville pass on the final play of the half. The Eagles led 21-0 at the break.
“He’s a heck of a ball player, but it was all of our seniors,” Graf said. “The seniors really stepped up tonight and led us. The O-line played phenomenal – probably the best game they’ve played all year.”
Knight and Garcia connected again after halftime – this time for an 87-yard touchdown. The quarterback hit the wide receiver along the right sideline, who then spun out of a tackle before running more than 50 yards to the end zone.
“Great play. I had all day in the pocket,” Knight said. “He caught it and just did his thing.”
Knight noted the confi- dence Bo Manor gained from such a dominant performance entering playoffs.
The Panthers entered averaging more than 26 points per game. The shut out was the third the Eagles have recorded.
“We talked all week that we had to get back to the defense that we had in the middle of the season – playing aggressive, playing smart,” Graf said. “They did what they were supposed to do. They were focused all week in practice.”
Bo Manor, the second seed, will host third-seeded Colonel Richardson next Friday in the 1A East Region semifinals.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Bohemia Manor junior Zachary Laird runs ahead of Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Connor McCroy (white shirt) and teammates Alex Longeway and Grant Franceschina (rear) at the 1A East Region Meet at Fair Hill Thursday. Led by Laird’s first-place finish, the Eagles secured their 10th consecutive region crown.