CUMBERLAND — The “second season” begins tonight as playoff football sweeps through Maryland and West Virginia for the top three teams in the Times-News area poll.

Keyser, the top-ranked team in the area and West Virginia Class AA, will play Wyoming East in an unusual home game in Morgantown.

Greenway Avenue Stadium will host the Fort Hill Sentinels, the top seed in Maryland 1A West, going against the fourth-seeded Boonsboro Warriors.

Allegany, the third seed in the 1A West, heads to Washington County to play unbeaten, second-seeded Smithsburg.

Wyoming East (6-4)

vs. Keyser (9-0),


At University High

The Golden Tornado secured home field advantage throughout the Class AA playoffs, but will take to the road anyway to play its first-round match with Wyoming East at University High School in Morgantown.

Keyser finished its season two weeks ago, and had a week to rest before entering the playoffs. The Tornado boast the area’s leading all-purpose gainer in Matt Wilmer, who is a averaging 155.6 yards a contest. Quarterback Preston Hartman is fourth, averaging 123.7 yard per game, and Jeremy Green is ninth with 104 yards a game.

Wilmer is third in the area in rushing at 102.3 yards per game, and Green is seventh, averaging 61 yards per game. Hartman is second in passing with 811 yards in nine games.

Wyoming East, from New Richmond, improved to 6-4 by beating Liberty 34-6 in its final regular-season game. The win snapped a three-game losing streak.

Boonsboro (9-1) at Fort Hill (8-1)

The Sentinels ride the momentum of a thrilling 26-22 victory over rival Allegany into tonight’s meeting with the Warriors, looking to begin a run to a state title.

The clock read 18 seconds when Eric Howser slipped over the goal line to score the winning touchdown and give Fort Hill the victory over the Campers last Saturday. It was the second touchdown of the afternoon for the Offensive Player of the Game, who directed Fort Hill 80 yards on the winning drive.

Devin Lee made two big grabs on the final drive, including a 35-yard gain down the home sideline. Johnathan Foster also had a touchdown with a 26-yard pass from Howser.

Jordan Helmick earned Defensive Player of Game honors, and got Fort Hill the early lead when he picked up a blocked punt and went 27 yards for a touchdown.

Boonsboro enters tonight’s game coming off of its only loss of the season, 20-13, last week to Smithsburg.

Boonsboro ended the regular season the highest scoring team in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League’s Antietam Conference, averaging 37.4 points a game.

Brandon McLean leads the team with 18 touchdowns and has rushed for 1,064 yards. Tyler Walsh is third in the conference with 771 yards, and has completed 54.7 percent of his passes.

Allegany (8-2) at Smithsburg (10-0)

The Campers must put a disappointing Homecoming behind them and concentrate on the Leopards in pursuit of a ninth state championship.

The Campers had completed an 81-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run from Dustin Wharton that gave them 22-19 lead with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter against Fort Hill last week. The Sentinels won it, 26-22, on a fourth-down, one-yard quarterback sneak with just 18 seconds remaining.

The Campers finished with 306 total yards of offense to Fort Hill’s 172, and outgained the Sentinels on the ground 238-74.

Allegany lost the area’s second-leading rusher, J.D. Hook, to a knee injury, but still sport Sean Collette, who is eighth in the area with 57.6 yards a game. End Ryan Kane is fifth in the area in receiving with 19 receptions in 10 games.

Wharton averages 5.6 points a game, good for eighth place in area.

Smithsburg completed an undefeated regular season by beating previously unbeaten Boonsboro 20-13 last week.

The Leopards are led in scoring by Erick Parker with 13 touchdowns. Parker is also the leading rusher in the MVAL Antietam Conference with 1,133 yards. Quarterback Kyle Orndorff is second in the conference with 804 passing yards, and Billy Lawrence is tops in receiving touchdowns.

Chris Appel is a sportswriter for the Cumberland Times-News. Contact Chris Appel at cappel@times-news.com.

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