Football: Knights look to take over the Lions den

Football: Knights look to take over the Lions den

By Dylan O'Toole, Round Table Sports Editor

The Middletown High School football team has found itself in rough water this season. The Knights lost their first game of the season to Westminster, 21-19, ending their 36 game win streak.

The Knights were able to bounce back in their second game to blowout Winters Mill, but the Knights experienced another slip up the following week against Boonsboro. The Warriors took a 28-14 lead into the fourth quarter and were able to hold on to beat the Knights, 28-21.

“I don’t think our slow start has hurt us too much,” said Knights senior Peter Heon. “It’s just really made us focus harder on what we have to do in practice.”

The Knights came out in the second half against Boonsboro with fire, but their poor start proved to be an insurmountable obstacle in the end. Knights senior quarterback Patrick Moore threw an interception on the Knights final drive; the Warriors were able to take a knee to run out the game clock.

The Knights problems didn’t end with lack of energy, they committed 12 penalties for a total of 110 yards.

“Tonight, we have to make sure we come out ready to play,” said senior tailback Nick Welch. “We didn’t do that against Boonsboro.”

Welch led the Knights with 170 rush yards on 16 carries for one touchdown last week. The Knights rushing attack was on point in the loss, sophomore Marquis Lauer rushed for 96 yards on 13 attempts with one touchdown.

“[Boonsboro] came out early and slapped us in the mouth,” said Welch “This week we’re going to come out early and slap Walkersville in the mouth.”

The Knights have beaten the rival Lions in every matchup since 2004, but that stat won’t fool anyone. This is a new season and at this point the Lions stand undefeated, while the Knights are looking to get back to .500.

Walkersville had one of its worst seasons in recent memory in 2013. They finished with a 2-8 record, and fell to the Knights in blowout fashion, 42-0.

Such a rough season prompted the transfer of Lions quarterback Nathaniel Musselman to Linganore. This left a huge hole at the quarterback position for the Lions and that weakness has shown so far this season.

To this point the Lions have only attempted 11 passes, and have relied heavily on their new sophomore running back Chad Gleason.

Gleason, weighing in at only 150 pounds, brings unprecedented speed to the field for the Lions, and has amassed 351 rush yards to go along with five touchdowns on the season.

“Gleason isn’t the biggest kid, but he’s real quick,” said Welch. “Hopefully we will be able to keep him off the outside, and force him inside.”

That way we will be able to just pound him physically.”

The Knights defense will have to step up in order to get the victory tonight.  After only giving up 6.9 points per game last year, the defense has been giving up a staggering 16 points per game thus far.

Even with the slow start the Knights aren’t getting down on themselves. There was a player’s only meeting this week in which each of the captains addressed the squad.

“If we all do our jobs I think we will be able to bounce back,” said Heon.

The Knights passing game hasn’t been very impressive either. The Knights completed their passes last week at a 40 percent clip.

The Knights may be having some serious trouble this season, but when they step onto the field against the Lions none of that will matter. Walkersville and Middletown have been rivals for a long time, and the Knights have a tradition to uphold tonight.

“We haven’t lost to Walkersville in ten years, and we don’t plan to tonight,” said Welch.

Their 36 game win streak may have ended, and their home win streak may have ended, but there is one thing that may matter more than anything to the Middletown community; the recent dominance against Walkersville. That’s what’s on the line tonight.