Back to the Grid­iron: Week one set for Fri­day

Ri­val­ries, his­tory re­newed: Bay­side foot­ball Week 1 is upon us

Dorchester Star - - Sports - DAVID INSLEY

Three matchups be­tween long­time ri­vals high­light the open­ing week of Bay­side Con­fer­ence foot­ball for 2016.

Two games may stick out more than the third, though.

Top­ping the list is Kent County’s trip to Queen Anne’s. While many might not see this as a big ri­valry... oh, it has been. To quote one Tro­jan backer on Twit­ter, “we hate each other in sports.”

Kent County has won the last two meet­ings. The gnomes in my base­ment re­minded me that from 19972014, though, the Lions won 16 of the teams’ 17 meet­ings, the Tro­jans’ only win com­ing in 2002, 2814 dur­ing Week 5. (Queen Anne’s won just one game that year, Kent County three.)

In 2013, Queen Anne’s won by a sin­gle score, and the writ­ing was on the wall that the Tro­jans were

The two teams didn’t play foot­ball head-to-head from 1985-1996 (our records for 1984 are in­com­plete, so I’ll be bug­ging my old friend Michelle Phillips in the Tro­jan me­dia cen­ter soon, to go dig­ging through year­books again) but that was prob­a­bly due to the fact that Queen Anne’s didn’t play hardly any Bay­side foes at that point. At that point, Queen Anne’s County High was a mas­sive Class 4A school (the big­gest on the Eastern Shore un­til Kent Is­land opened in 1999, tak­ing half its en­roll­ment 15 min­utes west), while Kent County was a lit­tle 1A, half an hour or so north.

Since the teams have be­gun play­ing again, Queen Anne’s has held sway in most sports, but in foot­ball, for the time be­ing, Kent County has the up­per hand.

This year, though, si­lence seems golden for Queen Anne’s.

Not ap­pear­ing for the an­nual Bay­side Me­dia Day three weeks back, the Lions have kept a rel­a­tively low pro­file, though the smile on coach Donny Graef’s face when I asked him in May how they’d be may have given away a lit­tle bit.

Queen Anne’s will be very good this year. Ex­pect the team’s Week 9 (at home against North Caro­line) and Week 10 (Kent Is­land) games to be ab­so­lutely mas­sive, in terms of hype and play­off im­pli­ca­tions.

For now, there’s the Tro­jans to worry with. And they’re still plenty.

With Tyson John­son tak­ing over for Ste­vie Cur­ran (the Bay­side’s all-time lead­ing passer), who grad­u­ated last spring, there’s not much of a tal­ent drop-off at all at quar­ter­back for the Tro­jans, and with Mar­c­quan Greene back, we’ll see.

There’s a name at Queen Anne’s I’d like to drop as well, but I’m gonna hold on to that se­cret for the time be­ing, and let fans find it out on their own Fri­day night.

About 25 min­utes south of Lions Sta­dium, an­other big ri­valry gets re­newed, as North Caro­line vis­its Eas­ton. (Eas­ton fans have called it “Eas­ton vs. Den­ton” for a long time, so long, in fact, it seems to have orig­i­nated be­fore the open­ing of North Caro­line High, at the tail end of the Eisen­hower Ad­min­is­tra­tion, in the heady days when ever y town, in­clud­ing Pre­ston, Trappe, and Hur­lock had their own high schools).

Eas­ton is 4-1 un­der Matt Grif­fith against the Bull­dogs; that one, how­ever, came last year, as we all know. Eas­ton had a dis­mal 2-8 cam­paign last year, while North Caro­line, well, we know what they did, don’t we?

The third ri­valry game is pos­si­bly the old­est, but also the least fa­mil­iar: Wi­comico vs. Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester. Way back in the days of Cam­bridge High, Wi-Hi was the Raiders’ ab­so­lute neme­sis.

Cam­bridge sim­ply couldn’t beat Wi­comico. Through the 40s, when Wi­comico County leg­end Char­lie Berry coached the In­di­ans, into the 50s, the team was un­stop­pable, blow­ing Cam­bridge out some­times by 50 points or more.

But then 1962 came, and the Raiders fi­nally won; thanks to CHS Class of 1967 alum­nus Bill Hill­burg for peg­ging the ex­act year. Mr. Hill­burg emailed me re­cently and men­tioned as well that, ap­par­ently, af­ter the 33-0 Raider vic­tory, “I re­call there was some school-wide pun­ish­ment for some post-game van­dal­ism in Sal­is­bury, in­clud­ing mak­ing off with the goal­posts.”

Thanks for that tid­bit, Mr. Hill­burg. I love sto­ries like those.

While other games, like James M. Ben­nett vis­it­ing Wash­ing­ton or

Snow Hill head­ing to Park­side, might not jump out at you, they may still be worth a look, so if you’re nearby, go watch. (I bet those kids will stand the the Na­tional An­them, even the ones who’ll ride the bench, de­spite not get­ting paid $11.9 mil­lion this year.)

Make sure to tune in at 6:50 a.m. Fri­day to 94.3 WINXFM to hear the gnomes mak­ing their picks, with Mark Pot­ter of Over­time Live. Fri­day’s Games Game of the Week Kent County (6-5) at Queen Anne’s (7-4)

Both made the play­offs this year. Both will this year, too, so this one’s worth a dozen or so play­off points to the win­ner. I go home team this time un­less it’s re­ally

high-scor­ing, in which case the Tro­jans might win their third straight in this ri­valry. — Lions, 21-19.

North Caro­line (12-1) at Eas­ton (2-8) North Caro­line bears the bur­den of proof this sea­son, but this should, uh, prove to be a pos­i­tive open­ing for the team, though Eas­ton will be in this game for a good while. (Ra­dio: 94.3 WINXFM, pregame 6:15 p.m.) — Bull­dogs, 36-19. Wi-Hi (2-8) at Cam­bridge-SD (9-3) Wi-Hi’s only wins last year came against Wash­ing­ton and Snow Hill, who were 1-19 com­bined, that lone win be­ing Wash­ing­ton over Snow Hill. New coach Brian Han­son has work to do, but word is, it’s get­ting done. C-SD, though, will prob­a­bly be more ready as a whole. (Ra­dio: WCEM-AM 1240, pregame 6:45 p.m.)

— Vik­ings, 35-22. Park­side (6-4) at Snow Hill (0-10) The Rams came a Week 10 loss to ri­val Ben­nett away from the play­offs last sea­son. The road back starts here for them, while the road up for the Ea­gles has to be­gin soon, but likely won’t this week. — Rams, 42-6. Kent Is­land (9-2) at Col. Richardson (4-6)

Colonel will have to play well to stay in this one. Kent Is­land’s look­ing to im­prove on last year’s one-and-done post­sea­son, and this is the first step on that jour­ney. — Buc­ca­neers, 40-12. J. M. Ben­nett (7-4) at Wash­ing­ton (1-9) I can’t re­call off­hand the last time the Jaguars beat Ben­nett. I do not think this year will send me look­ing. — Clip­pers, 45-6.

De­catur (4-6) at Bo­hemia Manor (5-6)

Stan Grif­fin, who coached Snow Hill from 2000-05, takes the reins at De­catur this year as 33-year coach Bob Knox takes a leave to deal with a fam­ily ill­ness. The Sea­hawks be­gin and end the reg­u­lar sea­son fac­ing teams named the Ea­gles.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester run­ning back Tajh Molock runs around the end for a big gain against Wi­comico in 2015.

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s Tre Lake sprints up the mid­dle against Wi­comico in 2015.

PHOTOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester tight end Jake Mor­ris hauls in a Nathaniel Lowe pass and sprints 64 yards for a touch­down against Wi­comico in 2015.

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