Bucs host Bull­dogs in Week 9

Eas­ton vis­its Wi-Hi in an­other ex­cit­ing 2A tilt

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Last year in Week 9, North Caro­line High’s football team de­feated vis­it­ing Kent Is­land by three touch­downs in a game many thought was a play­off pre­view, my­self in­cluded.

Well, we were right. But ev­ery­one un­der­es­ti­mated Kent Is­land’s abil­ity to bounce back.

In Week 10, the Buccaneers wel­comed cross-county neme­sis Queen Anne’s to Andy Schipul Sta­dium, and meted out the most lop­sided drub­bing in the his­tory of the ri­valry, win­ning 48-0.

The Buccaneers didn’t stop there. The fol­low­ing week they went back to Ridgely and out-

lasted the un­beaten, top-seeded Bull­dogs. Scor­ing on a last­minute touch­down pass, Kent Is­land won 33-29, in the open­ing play­off round and knock North Caro­line out.

This year, a lit­tle bit has changed. The Bull­dogs aren’t the of­fen­sive pow­er­house they were last year — but their de­fense is down­right sti­fling. The first-stringers have al­lowed one field goal and a sin­gle touch­down, in eight games. The back­ups have al­lowed just 34 points.

Teams are av­er­ag­ing less than a sin­gle touch­down (5.5 points) per game against North Caro­line right now. WBOC-TV sports an­chor Matt Pencek was right when he pre­dicted last week that vis­it­ing James M. Ben­nett would be the first team to score dou­ble-dig­its on the Bull­dogs (but still lose).

Af­ter giv­ing up an eight­minute touch­down drive to the Clip­pers, the Bull­dogs made the rest look easy, blow­ing by Ben­nett with six straight touch­downs en route to a 40-14 blowout, im­prov­ing to 8-0.

Ben­nett’s only two losses have been against Kent Is­land, and the Bull­dogs, who meet this week. That game, at 7 p.m. Fri­day, is the Bay­side Con­fer­ence Game of the Week, in my hum­ble opin­ion.

At the other end of Caro­line County, things had been go­ing swim­mingly for Colonel Richard­son. The first 42 min­utes of Fri­day night’s game at Northamp­ton, Va., ended with Colonel ahead 37-21 and look­ing poised to pick up their big­gest win of the year.

Then the Smiths came to play. Carl­ton Smith, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound full­back, and Corey Smith Jr., a light­ning-quick tail­back, be­came a late-game 1-2 punch which the Colonels couldn’t stop. The Yel­low­jack­ets ral­lied to edge the Colonels, 45-43, in over­time.

Colonel had run the clock on Northamp­ton in their 2017 meet­ing, win­ning 43-0 in a laugher.

Now, the Colonels’ post­sea­son hopes, which they held firmly in their hands Fri­day night as the clock wound down, are no longer to­tally in their con­trol. Up­per Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Ath­letic Con­fer­ence teams Bo­hemia Manor and Per­ryville both could out­pace the Colonels and make the play­offs above them if things pan out just right.

How­ever, those two UCBAC squads face one an­other in Week 10, and the loser might be knocked out of post­sea­son con­tention. Plus, the Colonels host Wash­ing­ton this week­end for home­com­ing, and the Jaguars have the most losses of any Bay­side team since 2003.

Colonel kicker Remy Mangum, a Di­vi­sion-i prospect in baseball, ap­par­ently set a school record last week in the loss, his 40-yard field goal in the first quar­ter break­ing the record he set him­self ear­lier in the sea­son, when he booted a 37-yarder against Wi­comico in a loss at home. So, not all is lost yet for the Colonels.

“Neil (Lam­bert) has been here for­ever,” said Dan Mangum, Remy’s dad and the Colonel head coach for five years now, “and he thinks that 40 is the record. Remy hit two field goals in that game, but that’s not a record, though he might have tied that, too. We don’t ex­actly kick a lot of field goals here.”

With Wash­ing­ton at around 30 turnovers over the last five games, it prob­a­bly won’t take much scor­ing to beat the Jags.

Park­side vis­its Queen Anne’s County in a game with play­off im­pli­ca­tions; the Rams are hop­ing to ei­ther stay at their cur­rent fourth spot in the Class 2A East play­off pic­ture, while the Lions, who’ll miss the play­offs this year for just the sec­ond time, I think, since 2003, are hop­ing to play spoiler.

Wi-Hi hosts Eas­ton in a bat­tle of de­cent teams, and the In­di­ans still tech­ni­cally have a chance of mak­ing the post­sea­son, but will need a ton of help.

Eas­ton could have the plea­sure of pre­vent­ing three teams from ei­ther host­ing a home play­off game (at C-SD Week 10), or pos­si­bly mak­ing the post­sea­son at all (Kent Is­land last week, and Wi-Hi this week), but will prob­a­bly not make it there it­self, short of a mir­a­cle.

If nei­ther Kent Is­land nor Queen Anne’s makes the play­offs this year, it will be the first time since 2003 that’s hap­pened. That was also the last sea­son the Lions didn’t have a win­ning sea­son; they went 2-8 that year. if they don’t win out this year, it’ll hap­pen again.

Get out and see a game this week; you’re run­ning out of chances.

Fri­day’s Games Game of the Week North Caro­line (8-0) at Kent Is­land (4-4)

This could be a re­peat of 2017, and if it is, there will be no Week 11 re­match for the Bucs to avenge them­selves this time. — Bull­dogs, 34-14.

James M. Ben­nett (6-2) at Stephen De­catur (2-6)

The last time, I think, Ben­nett went 8-2, they made the 2A East play­offs and lost in the first round to De­catur, way back in 2003. They’re both 3A now, and a lot of other stuff has changed, too. — Clip­pers, 35-6.

Cam­bridge-SD (5-3) at Snow Hill (0-8)

Like in the game just be­fore this one, a lot has changed in what was the best 1A ri­valry in the Bay­side for a long time. — Vik­ings, 42-13.

Eas­ton (4-4) at Wi­comico (5-3)

The War­riors have many ways to win this game, but also a few ways not to do so. Can Wi-Hi pre­vail at home against a pass­ing at­tack that’s un­matched in the con­fer­ence? — In­di­ans, 27-26.

Park­side (6-2) at Queen Anne’s (4-4)

The last time Queen Anne’s had a non-win­ning sea­son (2003), the Rams went 0-10 and scored just 46 points all year. Again, the times have changed. — Rams, 21-19.

Satur­day’s Games Kent County (2-6) at Con­cor­dia Prep (7-2)

I know very lit­tle about Con­cor­dia, ex­cept its been win­ning a lot this year. — Saints, 35-13.

Wash­ing­ton (1-7) at Colonel (4-4)

This win has to hap­pen for the Colonels or they will prob­a­bly spend Week 11 think­ing about try­outs for basketball, in­door track and wrestling in­stead of the football play­offs. — Colonels, 45-6.

Week 8: 5-2.

Sea­son: 49-8 (.860). Ca­reer: 967-197 (.831).

FROM THE BLEACH­ERS DAVID INSLEY

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