Here comes the stretch run for high school foot­ball

Dorchester Star - - Sports - DAVID INSLEY

The North and South Bay­side have big foot­ball ri­valry games this week. Week 6, which marks the start of the sec­ond half of high school foot­ball sea­son, also brings a cou­ple Satur­day con­tests.

Satur­day’s first game is a clas­sic con­fronta­tion be­tween Stephen De­catur and Queen Anne’s County (it seems like this game only takes place on Satur­days now, when the Li­ons host; it may also be home­com­ing there). Later that af­ter­noon Colonel Richard­son has its home­com­ing against a Kent County team it has its best chance to beat in years.

Fri­day night, though, is where the big­gest bat­tles take place. In Sal­is­bury, Park­side and James M. Ben­nett bat­tle at Wi­comico County Sta­dium in the game which will es­sen­tially de­cide the city cham­pi­onship.

In Eas­ton, it’s time to take on North Caro­line once more. The Bull­dogs have held the up­per hand in this ri­valry in re­cent years, but I clearly re­call a very hot open­ing night five years ago in Eas­ton which saw Davon Arm­strong run al­most half­way to the Moon on the same day Neil Arm­strong, the first man to set foot there, passed away.

That was the hottest night of foot­ball I have ever at­tended. Tal­bot County, like Worces­ter and Caro­line at the time, had just moved up the start time for Eas­ton home games by an hour, from to 6 p.m., and the tem­per­a­ture on the field at kick­off, ac­cord­ing to my notes, was 96 de­grees Fahren­heit. Yeah, 96. Oh, and 92 per­cent hu­mid­ity. So, ba­si­cally, the game was played on a three­acre veg­etable steamer.

Davon Arm­strong was even hot­ter that night, torch­ing the Bull­dogs for three touch­downs as Eas­ton won by two scores. The Bull­dogs threat­ened to come back in the fi­nal five min­utes, though, mak­ing it a nail-biter.

Though I think North Caro­line will win by mul­ti­ple scores, there are a cou­ple of other games which might be in­ter­est­ing, such as Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s trip to Wash­ing­ton.

The Jaguars haven’t beaten the Vik­ings since 2003, but when they did, they did it twice in a pe­riod of about 50 days.

In Week 4 of that year, the Jaguars won a 28-23 bat­tle at Vik­ing Sta­dium, up­end­ing a 3-0 C-SD team. The Vik­ings, to that point, had beaten North Caro­line 23-20 in a come-from-be­hind rally, topped Queen Anne’s 19-6, and then gone to Wi­comico and edged the In­di­ans 7-6.

(The ex­tra point that won that last game was pro­vided by kicker Brendan Kin­caid, who missed the first half be­cause of a soc­cer game, and was in Ch­ester­town tak­ing on Kent County. He later ad­mit­ted to me he was do­ing over 80 miles an hour in his car to get to County Sta­dium, where he kicked that sec­ond-half PAT which pro­vided the mar­gin of vic­tory.)

In Week 4’s up­set by the Jaguars, who en­tered that game 0-3, the win­ning score came on a con­tested call of a fum­ble. The Vik­ing faith­ful swore it was a dead ball, but a Wash­ing­ton player picked it up and ran it in for the de­cid­ing touch­down, and it counted.

Wash­ing­ton, fully staffed for the first time that sea­son that week due to in­juries and other is­sues, pum­meled peo­ple for the rest of the sea­son with a three­headed ground at­tack fea­tur­ing Ear­lee Corbin, Trey Collins, and Trey Church. The team went 5-1 af­ter beat­ing C-SD, mak­ing the play­offs for the first time since 1989 (I saw them play that year too; they lost at home to Smiths­burg, if mem­ory serves).

In Week 1, the third­seeded Jaguars came to C-SD again, and af­ter fall­ing be­hind 13-0, ral­lied, and rolled to win 35-19. Wash­ing­ton beat Snow Hill the next week to win the 1A East, but then lost to now-de­funct Beall, 130, in the state semi­fi­nals. (Beall, along with West­mar, which it­self was the re­sult of a merger of two other schools, are both closed now, and com­prise the student body of Moun­tain Ridge.)

Can the Jaguars re­cap­ture some of the 2003 magic? We’ll see. I think I may be there to find out.

Wi-Hi heads to Kent Is­land in another lit­mus test for the former; I don’t see the pa­per turn­ing the right hue for the In­di­ans, though, as Kent Is­land is shap­ing up to be a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent.

Snow Hill, now 27 losses into a streak dat­ing back to Oc­to­ber, 2014, heads to Nan­dua, Va., in what should be a close game, so we’ll see if the Ea­gles can pick up a win.

There are games in four Bay­side coun­ties, Tal­bot and Queen Anne’s in the North, and Wi­comico and Som­er­set down south, on Fri­day, so no­body in the con­fer­ence is more than half an hour or so from a game. Caro­line and Wi­comico coun­ties host games on Satur­day, too, so no one’s more than about an hour from a game.

As al­ways, I en­cour­age you to take in a Bay­side game. They’re the fu­ture, and there are few bet­ter ways to rem­i­nisce about sports than be­ing able to say “I saw that guy when he played in high school!”

Fri­day’s Games Game of the Week N. Caro­line (5-0) at Eas­ton (2-3)

The War­riors will give their guests a fight, but I don’t see the home crowd leav­ing happy this time. — Bull­dogs, 35-14.

Cam­bridge-SD (2-3) at Wash­ing­ton (1-4)

Af­ter back-to-back, sea­son-sav­ing wins, the vis­i­tors look to make it three in a row. — Vik­ings, 41-20.

Snow Hill (0-5) at Nan­dua, Va. (2-4)

A win by the vis­it­ing squad wouldn’t sur­prise me ter­ri­bly, but I lean to­ward the War­riors, who’ll be an­grier over their loss to CSD than the Ea­gles will be over los­ing to Ben­nett last week. — War­riors, 34-13.

Park­side (3-2) at J.M. Ben­nett (4-1)

I just typed “4-1” next to James M. Ben­nett’s name. The Clip­pers are back. Can they re­in­force that point this week, with Rams tail­back Nayel Oge avail­able again? — Clip­pers, 27-26.

Wi­comico (2-3) at Kent Is­land (5-0)

A loss here es­sen­tially kills the In­di­ans’ play­off hopes. Four teams en­ter the week 5-0, with three more 3-2. That leaves too much ground to make up. — Buc­ca­neers, 41-8.

Satur­day’s Games De­catur (2-3) at Queen Anne’s (3-2)

If the Li­ons lose, their play­off chances are shot, too. Ex­pect De­catur to bat­tle, though. They’re not the same team as last year. — Li­ons, 31-18.

Kent County (1-4) at Colonel (2-3)

Re­vi­tal­ized af­ter a big road win, Colonel needs this one to keep its post­sea­son hopes alive. A Tro­jan win is pos­si­ble, if Si­las Phillips and com­pany get some mo­men­tum. — Colonels, 21-19. Last Week: 7-0. Sea­son: 31-5 (.861). Ca­reer: 881-184 (.8267).

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s Ja­cob Smith makes a tackle for a loss against Colonel Richard­son Fri­day, Sept. 22.

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