THE WEEKEND BLITZ
Perryville at Bo Manor, 7 tonight
— Different season, same scenario for the Bohemia Manor and Perryville football teams.
For a second consecutive autumn, the two archrivals will face off in their regular season finale hoping to keep their seasons alive. Both teams are vying for berths in the 1A East Region playof fs, which begin next week.
“The last two years, with the new schedule making us play Week 10, I remember telling [Bo Manor athletic director] Bruce [Kline], ‘Holy crap. It’s going to be one team or the other probably Every year, whoever wins that game is going to get in,’” Bo Manor head coach Joe Graf said. “It’s good for football and the high schools, and it’s always nice to have something to play for
Week 10. Everybody would love to wrap up a playoff spot in Week 7, but it’s nice to have something to play for and it’s good for the kids.”
The Eagles (4-4), who can only earn a spot as the third seed, must win to earn the program’s seventh straight postseason berth. Perryville (5-4), which will remain as the third seed with a win, can still make the playoffs with a loss — as the fourth seed — but would need a loss by current fourth seed Colonel Richardson (5-4), which plays undefeated North Caroline tonight.
A fourth seed would also mean a rematch with top-seeded Havre de Grace (7-2), which defeated Perryville 45-14 on Sept. 13. Meanwhile, Cambridge-SD (6-3) is slated to be the No. 2 seed
even with a loss to Easton tonight, and will host the winner of tonight’s game at Bohemia Manor High.
“It’s absolutely a playoff game on Friday,” Perr yville head coach Chris Johnson said. “The one thing that we need to do, and I’m challenging my players, is that we’re 4-1 at home and 1-3 on the road. They need to understand that a football field is a football field and we need the same level of focus no matter where we go. If we do get into the playoffs, we’re going to most likely be on the road anyway, so we need to learn how to win on the road, plain and simple.”
In this same game last year, the Eagles defeated the Panthers, 280, sending the Chesapeake City squad to the playoffs and knocking Perryville out. The Eagles went on to earn their first region championship appearance since 2010, eventually falling to Havre de Grace.
“The team has been very focused. We knew last week that it’s basically win and in for us. We’ve had a great last couple of practices leading up. The kids know what’s in store, and they know what they want year in and year out is to get in and play a Week 11,” Graf said. “I think it’s going to be a traditional Bo Manor, Perryville game. It’s going to be hard hitting, well-coached football and the kids leaving everything out on the line. Talking to Chris and ourselves, both teams would rather be in the three seed moving forward and that’s what we’re playing for.
“We’re playing for a Week 11 that Perryville didn’t get to last year.”
Bo Manor enters tonight fresh, having not played in two weeks after its Week 9 opponent canceled its season prior to the start of the regular season. The Panthers will take the field just seven days after defeating Cecil County opponent North East, 42-7, in a must-win contest — the program’s biggest win this season.
The foundation has now been laid for a smash-mouth Week 10 showdown that will pit the team with two weeks to prepare against the team with momentum following an impressive victory.
“There is a chance that we can both make it in but it’s going to be close,” Johnson said. “What’s going to be interesting is how much of an advantage is it for them to have that week off, as far as getting rest and having two weeks to prepare for us going in. They’re always prepared anyway, but getting that extra week, they’ve already got a head start on us.”
With last Friday off, members of the Bo Manor football team made the trip to Perryville to see the Panthers top North East.
“My assistants and some of my players got to go to see it live. Watching film is one thing, seeing it live and seeing the different speeds and plays that they do in person allows you to gain a little extra knowledge of what they’re trying to do in a game, rather than just watching it on a computer,” Graf said. “It was a big win for them. Both us and them lost to North East last year, so it’s always nice to get that win back. But moving forward, I would have rather played last week. It’s odd, it’s something that you don’t get used to in a high school schedule is a bye week.
We kind of found our identity the last couple of games and hopefully we can carry that momentum into this week.”
Bohemia Manor and Perryville will clash tonight with playoff berths on the line.