Ea­gles keep one streak alive, but ready to put end to an­other

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

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.”

See EA­GLES Page B4

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SCOTT SERIO

Se­nior quar­ter­back Johnny Knight leads the Bo­hemia Manor foot­ball team into tonight’s 1A East Re­gion semi­fi­nal against Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester.

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