Eagles keep one streak alive, but ready to put end to another
CHESAPEAKE CITY —Earning a trip to the state tournament is a goal for every high school football team, but it’s no longer enough for Bohemia Manor.
The Eagles clinched their ticket to the 1A East Region tournament with a win over rival Perryville a week ago. Bo Manor’s now been a part of the field six straight years.
But each of the past five postseason berths have ended with a firstround loss.
“That’s what our goal was – to not only get in, but to host,” Eagles coach Joe Graf said. “Last year, we were lucky enough to be the one seed and host. We didn’t get the job done. Hopefully this year, we’ll be able to get that win. It’s been since 2009 since we’ve won a playoff game, so that’s what the focus is on the team.”
Second-seeded Bo Manor hosts Cambridge-South Dorchester, the region’s No. 3 seed, at 7 tonight.
“It’s an honor. My parents went to school here and set records. I think I did pretty good here, too, but I want to finish my senior year with a playoff win,” senior fullback/defensive end Devin Gate- wood said. “It feels good, but every year that I’ve played, we lost in the first round. I think we’ve got a pretty good team and we’re going to come ready to play Friday.”
The string of first-round exits is something he and his teammates talk about often.
“Everyday,” he said. “It haunts us, so I think if we come together and play like we did last Friday, we should be OK.”
Last Friday was essentially Bo Manor’s first playoff game. The Eagles traveled to Perryville knowing the winner would be in the postseason and the loser would likely miss out.
Under do-or-die pressure, Bo Manor dominated their rivals, 280.
“We definitely played our best all-around game,” Graf said. “Rivalry team, win-or-go-home, but in the end, it was still a football game. My guys came out focused and they did their jobs. We didn’t have any penalties and we won the turnover battle.”
The Eagles hope to ride the momentum of a penalty and turnover-free game on offense and a shut-out effort defensively into tonight’s contest.
“It’s a good thing to do that play- off week because we can build off that momentum and roll into this week with that same mentality,” senior quarterback/defensive back Johnny Knight said. “We’re really focused this week. The goal this year is to get a win and break that losing streak.”
Bo Manor and Cambridge-South Dorchester enter with matching 6-4 records. The Vikings ended their regular season on a three game win streak to earn the third seed.
Graf called the two teams similar defensively. He expects Cambridge-South Dorchester to alternate between three and four-man defensive fronts and noted the Vikings’ discipline on the defensive side of the ball.
On offense, he said they run a similar scheme to several teams Bo Manor has faced this season.
“They use Wing-T concepts, but will spread it out and go shotgun as well. Pretty much what we’ve seen all year – what a lot of teams are doing in the area,” Graf said. “They’re big up front. Their one running back is real good and their quarterback makes plays. And they’ve got a huge receiver.”
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Senior quarterback Johnny Knight leads the Bohemia Manor football team into tonight’s 1A East Region semifinal against Cambridge-South Dorchester.