Football: Knights won’t panic, they look to win 31 straight

“We are aware of the potential threats they have at wide receiver, but we are not going to sweat about that,” says Rinehart. “ Their number one receiver, Gontarek, I plan to shut him down.”

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Photo by Eva Tooley

This is the biggest game of the year for the Knights. They will face Linganore, another undefeated squad, and a team that most consider to be the most talented and deepest team in Frederick County.

Linganore is known for its highflying powerful offense, Middletown for its hard-nosed defensive football. This contrast in styles is sure to make this an interesting matchup.

The Knights have only given up an average six points per game this season, and MHS senior linebacker Frankie Meighan leads the team in tackles with 34.5.

“There is no game plan I have individually, and there is no game plan that we are changing,” said Meighan. “We are going to focus on our jobs and buy into what the coaches are saying.”

Last week against Governor Thomas Johnson High School, the Knights got off to a slow start. MHS senior quarterback Tim Pirrone had three turnovers in the first half, but the Knights were in good shape heading into the half; they led the Patriots, 49-14.

“You just have to stay fired up,” said Pirrone. “Keep everyone motivated and not stress too much about penalties and fumbles; you just have to come out and play smart. Just do your job.”

The Knights came out strong in the second half, spearheaded by the strong running of Meighan. They opened the second half with a 2:56 drive that went for 65 yards.

After the disappointing first half for Pirrone, he came out strong in the second half and threw the football better than he ever has. Pirrone totaled 151 yards on 10-of-17 passing, and two touchdowns with one interception.

MHS senior Bradley Rinehart, the leading rusher for the season, tallied up 108 yards on 13 carries. His rushing total now stands at 640 yards with 11 touchdowns.

Rinehart will be needed most on defense this week, going up against Linganore senior quarterback Greg Stieren and his lethal repertoire of talented receivers.

“We are aware of the potential threats they have at wide receiver, but we are not going to sweat about that,” said Rinehart.  “Their number one receiver, Gontarek, I plan to shut him down.”

Rinehart certainly has the ability to shut any receiver down; he has six interceptions this season, along with 22 tackles.

Still, Rinehart won’t be able stop every receiver on the field. Their number two receiver, Sam Weir, is very strong as well.

“Coaches have been making us bust our tails on practice all week with our defensive back drills,” said Rinehart.  “We’ve been working with our line a lot to get their hands up in the quarterbacks face, get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. “

The Knights will certainly need to stop the high-flying offense of the Lancers to win this game and extend their winning streak to 31.

Some extra motivation: only one of the sports reporters at The Frederick News-Post picked the two-time defending state champions to win.