Cumberland Times-News

November 6, 2013

In this case, the first time might not be the charm

Mike Burke
Cumberland Times-News

— The possibilities are seemingly

endless this weekend,

which, depending on your

point of view,

can be a

good thing

or a bad

thing. Of

course, all


could be

locks by the

time Friday

night’s high

school football


conclude, leaving Saturday’s

often imitated, never duplicated

Allegany-Fort Hill Homecoming

Game to be nothing

more than a dress rehearsal

for the following week’s playoff

game, which means,

thanks to the Maryland

regional playoffs system, it

has become somewhat duplicated,

and with quite more

regularity than some of us

would like.

But as long we do our part,

or North Carroll does its part,

and the MPSSAA receives a

check from us with some

zeroes on it that following

week, nobody east of the

Rocky Gap Casino Resort will

care anyway.

Fort Hill is already a lock to

be the No. 1 seed in the Maryland

1A West Region playoffs.

North Carroll is currently second

with a rating of 5.56 while

Hancock is third at 5.47, Allegany

fourth at 4.95 and Manchester

Valley fifth at 4.00. Friday,

North Carroll will host

Manchester Valley while Hancock

is at Berkeley Springs. If

Manchester Valley loses to

North Carroll, Allegany would

be the fourth seed before even

setting foot in Greenway

Avenue Stadium on Saturday,

for the most bonus points

Manchester Valley could

receive from previous opponents

would be five and the

Campers hold a lead of over

eight points.

Should Manchester Valley

beat North Carroll, though,

Allegany will be fighting for

their playoff lives on Saturday,

with a win over Fort Hill

securing the berth regardless

of what happens Friday.

Either way, Fort Hill will be

fighting for the No. 1 or No. 2

seed in all of Class 1A, with

Douglass-Baltimore a point

behind the Sentinels and Surrattsville

within shouting distance

of both.

All of which could add up to

some mystery and intrigue or

merely the aforementioned

dress rehearsal, although the

feeling here is it’s going to be

much more than a dress

rehearsal because that’s what

makes Allegany-Fort Hill

often imitated but never

duplicated. The feeling here is

it’s going to be a tight game

on Saturday, no matter what

we believe the records tell us

because we’ve seen this scenario

play out too many times

through the years to truly

believe otherwise.

If 9-0 Fort Hill controls the

line of scrimmage as most of

the experts say they will, and

if Fort Hill continues to limit

the mistakes, then, yes, Fort

Hill should win. If 5-4 Allegany

continues to make the mistakes

they’ve made seemingly

all season, it would seem

impossible for the Campers

not to lose. But there was just

something in the bounce of

Allegany’s step during the

second half of its win over

Towson on Saturday that left

a favorable impression, and

the suspicion that this Saturday’s

game is going to be anything

but a rout.

Allegany gladly, even eagerly,

enters the game as the

underdog which Campers

coach Tom Preaskorn readily


“I like our odds coming in

Saturday,” he said on Wednesday.

“We’re going in as underdogs,

but we play a good

schedule and without a few

mistakes here and there people

would be surprised what

our record could be.”

On the other side of town,

Fort Hill coach Todd Appel

says his Sentinels must

conduct the week of preparation

and the game itself

as business as usual, which,

of course, is easier said

than done when it comes to

this rivalry.

“This is always a strange

game because of the magnitude

that people put on it,”

he said. “But the kids have

to stay focused on the task

at hand. They have to prepare

like it’s any other

week, make it a faceless

opponent and try to win

every battle at the line of

scrimmage basically.”

Both teams produced big

wins last week, Fort Hill

beating Mountain Ridge

with a stronger running

game and defense and Allegany

solving the age-old

puzzle of the single-wing in

its win over Towson. The

wins were big because both

were confidence builders,

with one helping solidify

Fort Hill’s standing in the

overall class seedings, and

the other one, with some

good 3A ratings points from

Towson, keeping the

Campers alive for the postseason

and a chance to

meet their ancient rivals

two weeks in a row.

Which, of course, would

be a great opportunity for

both teams, but one a lot of

us could do without until a

little later in the tournament.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the

Cumberland Times-News. Write to

him at