Football: Eagles-Mavs matchup a fight for first county win

FSK quarterback Steven Keeney runs the ball during the third quarter of the Eagles' game against Berkeley Springs in Uniontown Friday, Sept. 7, 2018.
FSK quarterback Steven Keeney runs the ball during the third quarter of the Eagles' game against Berkeley Springs in Uniontown Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Francis Scott Key and Manchester Valley are both looking to snap two-game losing skids when they meet on Friday, and both of those losses came against the same teams.

The Eagles (2-3, 0-2 in the county) lost to Century by one touchdown in Week 4 and fell to Westminster 33-7 last Friday. The Mavericks (1-4, 0-2) are looking to bounce back from defeats at home against Westminster and Century as well.


“We can kind of see how we had success in some things against both and what they did to kind of make adjustments with our guys,” Eagles coach Josh Rutter said. “Based on those things, I think we have a good opportunity this week.”

Senior lineman Will Sturdivant is returning to the lineup this week, Rutter said, and the coach is optimistic he’ll stay healthy through the remainder of the season. Rutter confirmed the loss of senior linebacker Kane Richardson, however, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament early in the second quarter against Westminster.


Rutter said Richardson, who leads the team with 38 tackles, is out for the rest of the year.

“That’s a tough one,” Rutter said. “My first year here was his first year on varsity and he’s one of those guys you take for granted … the guy is a phenomenal competitor and a better person. I feel for him in his senior year, he’s at practice helping out with the young guys.

“Football is one of those games that teaches you adversity, but we still have to play our games to continue.”

Rutter praised his team’s strong team defense through the first five weeks. The Eagles have shown a willingness to hit through most games, but Rutter said he hopes to see his defense create more turnovers. The offense is capable of putting together drives of eight to 10 plays, but Rutter has yet to see something explosive.

The Eagles had that with standout running back Nate Imes, who compiled nearly 600 rushing yards by this point last year. Imes has since graduated, but junior Trace Shiftlet has molded into a consistent player capable of contributing from multiple spots.

“We have different guys each week that lead our offense statistically, but he’s one guy who has been consistent for us,” Rutter said. “He gets the ball at running back and stepped in to play receiver. Between him and [Steven] Keeney, they’ve been good at running our offense. … Trace has been on the receiving end with two touchdown passes so far and he has the most catches on the team, he’s done a really nice job.”

Century (4-1, 2-0) hosts Westminster (4-1, 2-0) on Friday and both teams are looking to improve their undefeated county records. The Knights have won four straight since their Week 1 loss to John Carroll, and the Owls are on a two-game win streak since falling to Linganore in Week 3.

South Carroll (3-2, 1-0) earned its first county win with a 28-26 victory over Winters Mill last week. The Cavaliers travel to Liberty with hopes to improve their county record. The Lions are 5-0 for the first time in program history, thanks to securing a thrilling 36-33 victory over South Hagerstown last week.

The Lions (1-0 county) recovered an onside kick late in the game to help take the lead, and linebacker McClain Butler recovered an interception with seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Winters Mill hosts Watkins Mill for the lone out-of-county clash this week. The Falcons (1-4) have lost four straight and last won in Week 1 with a 21-6 victory over Joppatowne.

“Our guys are excited for this county slate coming up,” Rutter said. “It’s nice to play different teams but these are the guys who go to the career and tech center together and they see each other in the community. Even though we won a couple games last year, I still think we have some opportunities being a small school. We have opportunities to sneak up on some people and our guys are excited for the opportunity to hopefully knock some teams off.”

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