Football: Knights use strong regular season to excel in playoffs

The Knights have benefitted from a tough regular season when the playoffs come. Can they use that experience to head to Baltimore for the 4th consecutive time?

By Ben Spector
Round Table Sports Editor

The Middletown High School Knights varsity football team has looked cool, calm, and collected in their systematic destructions of the Poolesville High School Falcons and the South Carroll High School Cavaliers during the regional rounds of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) 2013 2A State Football Championship.

While the debate over the reasons why the Knights have looked so good could last for a long time, one fact that cannot be denied is that the Knights’ schedule and the strength of the teams on the schedule has helped the Knights in the long run.

Playoff football is a stressful type of experience whether you are playing the worst or the best team in the state of Maryland. Therefore in hindsight the pressure packed atmosphere of the Knights’ regular season schedule has helped the team get acclimated to the pressure of playoffs.

Based on the results of the Knights games the indication might be that the Knights didn’t have any difficulty at all except for one or two games.

For those who watched the Knights’ season closely though it is a much different feeling as even the games in which Middletown won by a large margin were against tough opponents.

The pressure of the regular season started from Week 1 for Middletown as their first game of the season was against the Westminster High School Owls a team that had made it to the state semifinals the previous year for 4A.

There would also be challenges throughout the season with the Knights having to take on an undefeated Tuscarora High School Titans team, an Urbana High School Hawks team that was led by NCAA D-I recruit Raekwon Gray, and a matchup of 8-0 teams against the Linganore High School Lancers team that was labeled the “Game of the Year in Maryland” by various newspapers and television stations in the state of Maryland.

The strength of the schedule is not only a testament to the decision of head coach Kevin Lynott to schedule better opponents like Westminster during the first three games of the season but of the increasing talent level of the quality of football inside the county.

Frederick County will have two teams in the state semifinal as Linganore will take on the River Hill High School Hawks at the same time as the Knights game on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.

Middletown will hope to use their previous experience from a tough regular season tonight when they take on the Kent Island High School Buccaneers, as they look to punch their fourth consecutive state championship appearance.

The Knights come into the game on a 34 game win streak, the 14th longest in the whole country and have not lost since a 2011 showdown in Urbana that saw the Knights end up on the wrong side of a 28-6 score line.

On top of those accolades, the Knights are ranked as the 227th in the country, sixth in the Capital Metro Region, fourth in the state of Maryland, and first out of all Maryland public schools and Maryland schools in 2A.

If the Knights hope to keep those accolades where they are and advance to Baltimore they will need to stop a Buccaneers’ offense that has pounded the ball at their opponents, using a double-wing attack similar to that of Navy’s offense to succeed.

The Buccaneers are a rushing team in every way you could imagine, using senior running back Evan Greenwood to lead a backfield that also includes junior running backs Zach Smith and Zach Goodrich.

Greenwood has had a breakout season for Kent Island as he has amassed 2,190 yards and 32 touchdowns on 306 carries.

Smith and Goodrich have also done their part carrying the ball when Greenwood is out of the game and providing blocks for Greenwood when the leading rusher on the Eastern Shore of the Maryland is in the game.

The Buccaneers are coming off a game in which they took down the Fallston High School Cougars by a score of 28-12 and set state history with their rushing offense.

Greenwood ran the ball 56 times for 254 yards and four touchdowns breaking the state record for most rushing attempts in a game with three attempts to spare.

The previous record was held by Alvin Boor of the Fort Hill High School Sentinels and had stood for 48 years before Greenwood knocked it off last week down in the eastern Shore.

Even though Kent Island has a strong rushing attack this should not be a problem for Middletown having only giving up 701 rushing yards this season and making stopping the rushing offense of other teams one of their specialties.

The 2.2 rush yards per attempt and 58.4 yards per game would rival almost any other team in the state and be one of the top statistics in the Northeastern region.

This is the second time that the Buccaneers have made it to the state semifinals with their last appearance this deep in the playoffs coming back in 2011, when they were knocked off by Frederick Douglass High School of Prince George’s County by a score of 22-6.

Middletown, on the other hand, will look to advance to the state championship for the fourth time in a row and if they do that might have to thank their Frederick County