Football: Knights look to end South Carroll’s season – again

Middletown has seen South Carroll time and time again during playoffs and has dispatched them with ease. Can the trend continue on Friday?

The+Knights+will+look+to+take+down+the+%232+seed+Cavaliers+on+Friday.

Photo by Jess Molander

The Knights will look to take down the #2 seed Cavaliers on Friday.

The Middletown High School football team will face a familiar opponent on Nov. 22 in the 2A West Regional Finals. The Knights (11-0) have beaten South Carroll (9-2) five times in the last four years; three of those victories coming in the playoffs.

“We had success with South Carroll over the past few years,” said MHS senior Brad Rinehart, “but like any other team, players come and go.”

The Knights took down South Carroll, 21-7, in the Regional Finals in 2009, 30-6 in the Regional Finals in 2010 and 38-0 in the Regional Semifinals last year.

As Rinehart said, “players come and go,” and the Knights will have to come out and attack this game no differently than any other.

“It’s a new year and a new team,” said Rinehart. “We have to come out ready to play.”

Middletown certainly took care of business last week in the Regional Semifinals against Poolesville, coming away with a 45-6 victory. The Knights were able to plug in the back-ups midway through the second quarter, but Poolesville couldn’t even control the Knights reserves.

The Knights were able to contain the passing attack of Morningstar and the Falcons, but this week they will face what may be the best passing game they have faced all year.

South Carroll quarterback Ben Nardo lit up the versatile defense of Westminister – a team the Knights only scored 19 points on – two weeks ago for four touchdowns, but the Cavaliers lost, 43-40, in the final minute.

“We have to contain their quarterback tonight, and make plays when the ball leaves his hands,” said Rinehart.

Rinehart certainly has the ability to make plays on the defensive side of the football; he leads the team with seven interceptions.

South Carroll’s defense is definitely its biggest weakness. The Cavaliers have allowed 214 points this season, to put that into perspective the Knights have given up only 75.

Middletown likes to pride itself on its defense, but it would really set the tone if the Knights came out and took over on the offensive side of the football.

The man who has carried the Knights in big games this season is Rinehart, and his clutch gene never shined brighter than in the Knights’ 42-7 victory over Linganore. Rinehart rushed for 134 yards that night, and ran the ball in for five touchdowns.

In addition to the game against Linganore, Rinehart has 1,263 all-purpose yards, and 27 touchdowns.

“The ultimate goal at the beginning of the season was to win that third state title,” said Rinehart. “We have had a great journey so far, but it’s far from over.”