Can the Bucs top­ple an­other un­beaten host?

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Much as I hate to sound like I’m en­dors­ing him (be­cause it’ll make my wife think I want to drive her to Nashville to see him while I’m nurs­ing a torn quad ten­don again), five words, from a ditty by coun­try singer Eric Church, keep bounc­ing through my head when I think of last week, and this week, in Bay­side Con­fer­ence foot­ball. “I’m havin’ a record year.” At 10-0 and with a Divi­sionI-col­lege-com­mit­ted player on each side of the ball, North Caro­line High was, un­til last week, when Kent Is­land came to town.

The next thing ya know, while I’m watch­ing Havre de Grace, up by seven touch­downs, still pass­ing the ball against Colonel Richard­son in the Class 1A play­offs, the 2A Buc­ca­neers laid a 3329 de­feat on an un­beaten, top-seeded team which was think­ing of play­ing in Annapolis in De­cem­ber.

As a mat­ter of fact, Fri­day, for the Bay­side, was a worstcase play­off sce­nario. Only the bare min­i­mum num­ber of teams which could ad­vance, in fact, did; heck, that even in­cluded two play­off vol­ley­ball losses.

On the much warmer in­door court, North Dorch­ester went to Per­ryville and lost in the 1A East fi­nal. Queen Anne’s County, in the 2A East, went to nearby Ris­ing Run and also lost. So that’s two.

In foot­ball, on a night when the kick­off tem­per­a­ture was 30 de­grees, the cold­est it’s been all sea­son by far, 3A James M. Ben­nett lost its open­ing-round home playof f game to Atholton. In the 1As, Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester lost at Bo­hemia Manor, and Colonel fell at Havre de Grace.

Only the win­ner of the 2A Kent Is­land-North Caro­line re­gional semi­fi­nal would ad­vance, and as it turned out, it wasn’t the 10-0, ranked-19th-in-thes­tate hosts.

Maybe the mut­ter­ings around the prover­bial camp­fires in Bull­dog Na­tion, that the play­ers were so used to run­ning the clock on peo­ple it might cost them in terms of en­durance, were true. Maybe not.

Maybe it wasn’t about North Caro­line’s fail­ings, but rather, about Kent Is­land’s suc­cesses. Trent Jack­son, as I warned ev­ery­one last week, was a dan­ger­ous passer. The of­fense is strong, and the de­fense bent but didn’t break.

(Granted, I didn’t even heed my own warn­ing, and I picked North Caro­line, so there’s that.)

Kent Is­land’s 48-0 de­feat of Queen Anne’s in Week 10, which put them in the play­offs, should’ve been a sig­nal that some­thing had changed.

And it had. So, con­grat­u­la­tions to the Buc­ca­neers for mak­ing the re­gional fi­nal.

Now, it’s time for Kent Is­land to try to re­peat a lit­tle his­tory.

Four years ago, the Buc­ca­neers had to go to Har­ford County. Four years ago, they had to face an un­beaten team on its home field. Four years ago, they were the un­der­dog.

And four years ago, they won, top­ping 11-0 Fall­ston, 28-12. The Cougars had never posted an un­beaten sea­son un­til then, and in the pre­vi­ous week, they held off an up­set-minded Eas­ton in a game I saw, 21-19, not tak­ing the lead un­til the fourth quar­ter.

The Buc­ca­neers made the state semi­fi­nals with that 2013 win at Fall­ston, which fea­tured Evan Green­wood run­ning the ball on all 53 of­fen­sive plays. That, to my knowl­edge, is still a state record.

It isn’t the only one set, though the other one is un­of­fi­cial. Were there a sec­ond cat­e­gory, called Fewest Play­book Pages Used By Team In Sin­gle Play­off Game, it would read sim­ply, (1, Kent Is­land, 2013). But hey, it worked! Now, how­ever, Green­wood is gone, and the task re­mains: head to Har­ford County... and see if you can stop Tech this time in­stead of Fall­ston.

The Co­bras are hav­ing a record year too; in search­ing for in­for­ma­tion on­line, I saw an ar­ti­cle in an­other pa­per from late Septem­ber which dis­cussed how they had gone 4-0 for the first time ever. So, ob­vi­ously, the pro­gram has bested its own record for seven straight weeks since then.

Sopho­more quar­ter­back Ryan Hunt, who passed for two scores, and speedy tail­back Jalen Danger­field, who ran for al­most 12 yards a touch Fri­day night (he had 11 car­ries for 131 yards) as the Co­bras beat Elk­ton 35-0, are dan­ger­ous.

And then there’s Jor­dan Bright.

Not only is he the team’s place kicker, Bright had two picks on de­fense; one of them set up a 19-yard touch­down pass from Hunt to... Bright.

The kid’s ev­ery­where. So Kent Is­land has to look out for that.

Tech, for its part, has to be­ware a Kent Is­land back­field which fea­tures Dy­lan Fin­lay, who scored twice Fri­day, along with Jack­son, who re­minds me a lot of Dono­van McNabb, and is even an inch or two taller.

Jack­son also ac­com­plished a feat Fri­day that’s rare in the Bay­side: he not only hit three re­ceivers three or more times each, he threw for 220 yards; J. C. Getz, who caught the gamewin­ning pass, had 102 yards re­ceiv­ing.

Both of th­ese num­bers are uni­corn-rare in the Bay­side Con­fer­ence... and, as I’ve been scream­ing for years, pass­ing teams do bet­ter in the play­offs.

This year’s def­i­nitely a prime ex­am­ple. Hint, hint...

Fri­day night is shap­ing up, the more I think about it, to be a great, great game. If you can make it, please, go. If you can’t, fol­low our staff on Twit­ter; we’ve been there all year and cer­tainly won’t be stop­ping un­til no­body’s left from the Mid-Shore. Fri­day’s Games 2A East Fi­nal (4) Kent Is. (9-2) at (2) Har­ford Tech (11-0)

I’m not known for pick­ing many up­sets. And it could go the other way, quite eas­ily. But here ya go. (Ra­dio: 94.3 WINX-FM, pregame 6:45 p.m.) — Buc­ca­neers, 21-19. Last Week: 2-3. Sea­son: 64-12 (.842). Ca­reer: 916-189 (.829). Fol­low me on Twit­ter: @ SDBaysideS­ports.

Re­fresh­ments & free give-a-ways for the chil­dren

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