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  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 @ 7PM


Baltimore, MD: We have reached it football fans, the first weekend in September, and the start of the Maryland High School Football season.

As an area football fan, one could only hope that the changes that started this off season (new classifications announced), will ultimately end with either a new state champion in 1A, or at the very least a more competitive football season. 

Several small 1A football programs in Central Maryland either folded, or consolidated with another school, forcing the MPSSAA to move a lot more schools down in class then up in class for this years reclassification. 

So you ask, "what does that have to do with my school?, what does that have to do with my region?"

Arguably the toughest region in 1A (West), just got even tougher, with the additions of Catoctin, Francis Scott Key, and Mountain Ridge.

With those three schools joining the likes of Allegany, Boonsboro, Brunswick, Fort Hill, Northern, and Smithsburg in the 1A West, it is hard to see the champion not coming out of this region for the forceable future.

If there was one school that could start an argument around that above mentioned statement it would be the Dunbar Poets.

Dunbar has won 9 state championships in football, 7 since 2004, and will no doubt be the strongest contender to end the Fort Hill 4-in-a-row run this fall. After all, they did win three in a row, a streak that was ended by the Sentinels in 2013.

Cumberland football fans won't have to go far, nor wait that long to see the Poets in action, as they open the season at Greenway Avenue Stadium, this Friday evening against the Allegany Campers.

This will be a great test for both squads, especially this early in the season, and more so for Allegany, who is hoping to end their rivals streak of winning the City, Region, and State Championships in each of the past four years.

Three other area schools are in action at home Friday evening: Mountain Ridge will entertain John Marshall to start their season, East Hardy travels to Frankfort to face the Falcons, and Keyser gets their season underway as they host Berkeley Springs in Tornado Ally following their week one bye.

Meanwhile, in other local action, Northern travels to Brunswick, Hancock host Green Street Academy, Smithsburg welcomes Southern, and Catoctin hits the road to square off with Boonsboro.

Opening weekend will culminate with Fort Hill traveling to USO (Pittsburgh) and St. James hosting Clear Spring in Saturday action.

Now that we have gone over the changes for the upcoming season, previewed all the week one games, it is time to get to the guessing part of this season.

Each week I will put up all games that have 1A West teams involved, some local WV teams games, and try my very best to pick the winner of each game.

My goal for each week, and therefore for the entire season, will be to get 80% correct overall.

With that being said... let the guessing games begin:    




Frostburg, MD: It has been a long, tough 10 months, but the calendar will say September 1 this Friday, which can only mean one thing... MINERS FOOTBALL!!!

Mountain Ridge will start the high school football season this Friday night, when they welcome the John Marshall Monarchs to Miner Stadium in Frostburg, Maryland, and get their 2017 campaign underway.

The meeting between the two schools will mark the third straight year that Mountain Ridge has opened with John Marshall.

Each of the two previous years have begun with Mountain Ridge victories over the Monarchs. 35-27 in 2016, and 36-21 back in 2015.

Mountain Ridge will be looking to improve on the 3 wins and 7 loss season from a year ago.

That was the first year under head coach Ryan Patterson, who took over for Roy DeVore, when he decided to announce he would retire following the 2015 season. 

One of the biggest things that Coach Patterson focused on this off-season, and in turn this preseason, was how to play a full 48-minute football game. 

The main reason for that is the tendency for the football team to win first halves against teams in 2016, only to see the lead slip away and eventually losing in the game in the second half. 

"We looked at things as a coaching staff after six games," said Patterson, reflecting on his first season as head coach. "We we're 5-1 in the first half of those games, and 1-5 in the second half. We looked at things like conditioning, number of kids on the field, things of that nature, and came to the conclusion that we need to deal with adversity better. At one point or another, adversity is always going to be present itself, and we need to be better at handling it. And it starts with me and the rest of the coaching staff and trickles down to the players."

Mountain Ridge let early leads against Hedgesville and Chestnut Ridge slip away in the second half. That loomed large as the season went on because instead of starting off 5-1, they were just 3-3 through their first 6 games. The Miners' would of have a lot more momentum heading into games at Northern and against Spring Mills at home.

The Miners' added two new coaches to the staff in 2017. Dave Calcutta rejoins the staff as a defensive assistant. He was last on the staff back in 2013.

Ryan Harper, a 2002 graduate of Beall High, and former player under Patterson joins the staff as strength and conditioning coach.

This is big because one of the biggest things Patterson said his team needed to work on from a year ago was strength and conditioning.

Mountain Ridge lost 13 Seniors off of last years team with the two most glaring being Kaden McElhenny and Dan Bittinger.

McElhenny was the unquestioned leader, and quarterback of the team for the past two years, and filling his shoes has proven to be tough thus far in the preseason.

At the present time, there is a QB battle going on between JR Alec Deremer and SR Kory Hunter, with Patterson not quite set on who will be behind center to start the season. One thing he was clear about was whoever wasn't under center will definitely be on the offense somewhere else.

Deremer is coming up from the Junior Varsity squad a year ago, and is much more taller, giving him the ability to look over the line and see the field a bit better then Hunter can. This means he is much more of a better pocket passer then Hunter is.

Hunter's strong suit is his athleticism, his ability to run the option a bit better then Dremer, which would lead him to be a better running type option at the QB position.

We shall see who is under center on Friday night when the Miners' take the field against the Monarchs.

Coulter and McCool try to bring down Hawks reciever

John Marshall is coming off of yet another 2-8 season, a disappointing season as well for Monarch faithful, and already have a loss on the books at the hands of the University Hawks, 34 to 8, last Friday evening.

The advantage for the Monarchs is that they already have that one game in the books while Mountain Ridge only has scrimmages under their belts thus far on the season.

University was all set up in punt formation on the opening possession of the season, with quarterback Clay Bailey back to send away the punt, but little did John Marshall know that the Hawks have a punt/pass option built into every punt play.

It caught the Monarch defense off guard, and Bailey hit a wide open Buddy Leach, for a 26-yard gain and a first-and-10 for the Hawks.

Bailey completed the 15-play opening drive score by hitting Ben Grubble in the end zone for the Hawk touchdown, and 7-0 lead.

Following a field goal for the Hawks, the Monarch offense coughed up the ball on the very next play, and Trevor Barnhardt picked it up and went the 25 yards necessary for a Hawk touchdown and all the sudden it was 17-0 University.

John Marshall's very next possession came to a crashing end following a sack on a third down play.

University took over, was aided by a late hit penalty on the Monarch defense, and put the nail in the coffin when Bailey hit Evan Parow on a 51-yard touchdown strike to make it 24-0 Hawks.

That was the score at halftime and University scored a touchdown on the first possession of the second half to make it 31-0 Hawks and end any hope of a JM comeback to all the Monarch faithful.

Some key things to come out of this game is that the John Marshall secondary looked very susceptible to the pass. Problem is Mountain Ridge will be starting a rookie at QB Friday night. This may play a factor in who starts at QB for MR on Friday night.

John Marshall is hoping that the mistakes made, not covering the punt correctly to get the game started, fumbling the ball, and having late hit penalties are just first game jitters and will work them selves out after getting the season underway.

Mountain Ridge will look to expose those weaknesses and capitalize to any mistakes that the Monarchs offer up.

If either team can pass the ball effectively, then that gives them the leg up on the other, but other then that it will probably turn out to be whichever defense can hold the others offensive running attack in check that will determine this game.

One thing to keep an eye on is the John Marshall passing attack. They had a lot of completions and attempts last week against University. We will see if that was just because they were behind or if that is the type of offense they run. Mountain Ridge's defense had been very susceptible to the pass in the past couple years.

Come out and support your hometown Miners as they open the season this Friday evening at Miner Stadium in Frostburg, Maryland against the John Marshall Monarchs.

Mountain Ridge only has 2 of the first 6 games at home this season.



Frostburg, MD: We have finally reached it Miner fans, late August, the end of summer, and the beginning of the 2017 Maryland High School Football season.

It's hard to believe that it has been 9 long months since the Fort Hill Sentinels took home their 4th straight Maryland Class 1A State Championship on a Saturday Afternoon in early December but it has. 

One of the biggest things to happen in that time is the MPSSAA announcing new classifications for athletic years 2017 through 2019.

Although rare, several things happened in Central Maryland, and Mountain Ridge now finds itself competing back in Maryland's class 1A for the above mentioned time period. 

Mountain Ridge spent 2007-2012 in this classification, before moving up to 2A in 2013, and competing there in each of the past 4 seasons. 

This move may end up being beneficial for the Miners' in other sports, but could be deadly for them in football, as they join the likes of Allegany, Boonsboro, Catoctin, Fort Hill, Northern, and Smithsburg; all of which are perennial powers in football.

The obvious expectation every year for every high school football team is to win the State Championship. And if you were to ask any one associated with the Mountain Ridge football program they would tell you that is their goal in 2017.

But for a team that has not had a winning season since 2011, arguably the best team in the school's brief history, a more realistic expectation might be a winning season.

If that lofty goal is to be met, it would mean Mountain Ridge would have to fair much better than the 3-7 it did just on year ago, all while having to face the very same schedule in 2017 that they faced in 2016.

Let's take a look, game-by-game, at the Mountain Ridge Miner 2017 football schedule:

John Marshall Monarchs:

Mountain Ridge has taken the first two meetings between these two school the past two years.

It was 36 to 21 Miners in 2015 in Frostburg. This game was highlighted by a lightning delay that lasted almost 60 minutes.

The Monarchs managed to narrow the gap to 35-27 last year in Glen Dale but MR came out on top once again.

John Marshall already has one game in the books as of this article, losing to University 34-8 last week, to get their 2017 campaign underway.

University converted a punt/pass option 4th down attempt on the first possession of 2017, into a 15-play long, 7-0 lead taking, touchdown drive and never looked back Friday night.

Several John Marshall mistakes helped UHS take a 24-0 lead to the half. The Hawks took the first possession of the second half down and scored to make it 31-0 and crush any hopes of a Monarch comeback to the JM faithful.

Mountain Ridge will look to keep the unblemished record alive as they open their season on September 1st, at home, against the Monarchs. 

Hedgesville Eagles:

The series history between these two schools has been quite interesting.

Mountain Ridge holds the 5 to 3 edge in the series history.

They won the first 3 meetings but have seen all three losses to the Eagles come in the past 5 seasons.

Last year, Hedgesville used a strong 4th quarter, to overcome an early deficit and squeak by the Miners' 28-25 in Frostburg.

That win over Mountain Ridge, which helped Hedgesville post a 5-5 season, likely put the Eagles over the top and into the West Virginia's class AAA playoffs.

The Eagles suffered a strong loss in preseason when Gavin Smoot suffered a season ending ACL injury.

That did not damper the Eagles spirit however. They came out of the gates strong and defeated Washington 43 to 6 in their season opener one week ago.

Mountain Ridge will look to avenge last year's defeat when they travel to Hedgesville, Friday, September 8th.

Allegany Campers:

It is no secret that the two Cumberland schools are the Miners' two most fierce rivals, in any sport, especially when it comes to football.

But the Mountain Ridge/Allegany rivalry is next level, if one were to take into account the hatred on both sides of the rivalry, which only seems to exist on one side of the Mountain Ridge/Fort Hill one.

Some of that has to do with the amount of success that Mountain Ridge has had versus Alco, while not having any such success against Fort Hill, and some of it has to do with the rivalry that existed between Beall and Allegany prior to 2007.

Mountain Ridge has managed to win 3 of the first 10 meetings with Allegany since the school opened in 2007. 

The Campers have won the past three meetings, including a 38-0 shutout of MR in 2016, a win that seemed to get Alco on a run that ended in a 1A West Region Championship game loss at the hands of Fort Hill.

Mountain Ridge last defeated Allegany back in 2013, snapping a 13-game losing streak that spanned two seasons, 35-21 at Greenway Avenue Stadium.

Hampshire Trojans:

Mountain Ridge has fared pretty well against Hampshire, winning 7 of the first 10 meetings, including the last two years by a combined score of 83-48.

Last year's meeting was one that saw Mountain Ridge actually put together 48 full minutes, which is rare for the Miners' to do now-a-days, and pull away from the Trojans late, 45-20.

Hampshire's 3 wins in this series all came in a row. The Trojans defeated the Miners' in 2012, 2013 and 2014. This coincided with the downfall of the Mountain Ridge program.

West Virginia starts their season one week earlier then Maryland which means that Hampshire already has one game in the books as I am writing this article. The Trojans defeated Preston in week one to get off to a 1-0 start.

Mountain Ridge will be coming off of a two-game road trip when they come home to host Hampshire, Friday, September 22nd. 

Frankfort Falcons:

The series history between these two schools has been quite interesting to say the least.

7 of the 10 games have been decided by 21+ points. The other three have been decided by under 7 points, including one overtime game.

Mountain Ridge squeaked out a 27 to 21 win at home last year. That win for the Miners' very likely kept the Falcons out of the playoffs.

Frankfort has seemed to have a dip in the program a couple years later than Mountain Ridge has. The Miners' dip started in 2012. Frankfort has had a rough past 3 seasons.

One sure sign that this year's Frankfort team may be a bit different from the past 3 years is their convincing 47 to 7 drubbing of Moorefield in week one of the WV season.

Chestnut Ridge Lions:

The slot that Chestnut Ridge takes up on Mountain Ridge's schedule has been the wildcard slot for the Miners' since they began playing football in 2007. 

Berkeley Springs occupied that slot in the first 2 years of existance, but a couple of drubbings later, the Indians said no to a contract renewal and MR was forced to come up with someone else.

Since then, this slot has seen the likes of Wheeling Central, Riverdale Baptist, Monnessen, Junianta and now Chestnut Ridge for the second straight year.

Mountain Ridge had a disappointing second half and fell to the Lions 28-19 last year at home. The only other meeting between the two schools was in 2012. That year Chestnut Ridge won 34-6.

Northern Huskies:

Mountain Ridge won 5 of the first 6 meetings with the Huskies, including a revenge 2010 playoff one, avenging the only loss MR had to Northern thus far in series history. 

But it has been all Huskies since then. Northern has won 4 of the last 5 meetings, with the lone MR win coming in 2013, a 26-14 win at home. 

The past two years has been 72-28 Northern, including the 51-21 drubbing MR took at home last year, and the 21-7 victory the Huskies had at home in 2015.

Mountain Ridge holds the series edge 6 to 5.

Spring Mills Cardinals:

Two years ago the Southern Rams decided they needed to bolster down their schedule a bit and that meant that Mountain Ridge, which had won 7 of the 8 meetings between the schools, had to come off the schedule and that meant yet another slot that Gary Davis had to fill on the schedule. 

It has turned out to be sort of a coincidence, as Spring Mills was just opening up in the Panhandle of WV, and they were looking to fill a 10-game schedule. 

It's crazy how things work out sometimes. This game has turned out to be a very competitive one for each school the past two years.

Spring Mills has used strong second halves to pull away from the Miners' in each of the past two years, 26-12 in 2016, and 24-13 in 2015.

Mountain Ridge will look to end that streak when they host the Cardinals, Friday, October 20th, in Frostburg. 

Fort Hill Sentinels:

4-time defending State Champion Fort Hill has occupied the Week #9 slot on Mountain Ridge's schedule each year since the school opened in 2007.

The Sentinels have won all 11 meetings between the two schools. Including the 2010 1A West Region Championship game, 25-0. 

Fort Hill has dominated each meeting by outscoring MR by a total of 300+ points in the 11 meetings. The closest of which was a 16-20 regular season loss in 2010.

Mountain Ridge will look to get of the snide when they host the Sentinels in Week 9 at Miner Stadium.

Keyser Golden Tornado:

Ironically enough the Golden Tornado was one local team that did not find them selves on the original Mountain Ridge schedule back in 2007.

Both schools didn't have a common open date which meant we had to wait until 2009 to see Keyser on the Mountain Ridge schedule. 

Since then the Golden Tornado have occupied the final week of the regular season each year. 

Mountain Ridge won 2 of the first 3 meetings between the two schools, in 2010 and 2011, arguably the two best teams in the school's brief history.

Since 2011 Keyser has really dominated the series. Especially in the past three years, 49-7 in 2016, 55-18 in 2015, and 36-0 in 2014, all Golden Tornado convincing victories. 




Frostburg, MD: The Mountain Ridge Miners' took to the field at Miner Stadium for the second time in 4 days on Saturday Morning, where they hosted old rival Southern in a controlled scrimmage. 

The Miners were coming off of a scrimmage against Berkeley Springs this past Wednesday, a scrimmage in which both sides of the ball impressed, but that was against a much different team than Southern. 

This scrimmage had much the same characteristics as the scrimmage against the Indians as far as how it was constructed.  Both teams each took some practice extra point attempts to get it underway.

The Indians converted on all but one attempt by my vantage point. They took 3 to 5 attempts. 

Mountain Ridge took a few more attempts as they were trying out a new kicker they brought on from the soccer team. He converted on all but one kick, from several distances, and from several different marks on the field. 

After that, each team took two shots from the 10-yard line, with each shot consisting of 4 plays. If you gained yardage the line of scrimmage moved and if you scored they moved the ball back to the 10 for the remaining four plays. 

The Southern Rams offense took to the field first and after 3 straight stuffs on running attempts up the middle, their QB took the ball on a designed run off the edge and into the end zone, marking 1 score on the Rams first possession. 

Mountain Ridge then got their shot on 4 plays but were unable to cross the goal line on any one of them. 

Southern got the ball back and they too did not convert on any of their 4 plays from the 10 as well. 

That meant the Miners' got one more series and did manage to score once in 4 plays. 

Both teams had a total of 8 snaps from the 10-yard line or in and each team only converted once for a score. 

The remainder of the scrimmage consisted of each team have (3) 10-play drives that started at mid-field. Both teams had their JV teams on the other side of the field scrimmaging which is why they only used half of the field. 

If you scored on any of the 10 plays the ball went back to the 50. If you gained or lost yardage but didn't score the line of scrimmage was changed. 

Southern had three attempts and they managed to score on 4 or 5 of the 30 plays. Most were runs, I believe one was a pass play, and all were well executed plays. I was very impressed with the blocking up front by the Rams offensive line. And they had a couple play makers that had great vision and cut ability.

The Mountain Ridge offense did not have as great of a showing as they did a couple days ago. They also ran 30 plays and only managed to score on 2 or 3 of those plays. I remember two specifically, one was a great TE pass down the middle of the field, and another one was a great TE pass from around the 10-yard line. I believe they had at least one running score as well within their 30 plays. I will say that the offensive line seemed to be a bit outmatched by Southern's defensive line. And they also had a ton of mental mistakes like holding penalties, and false start penalties. Overall, I was a bit shocked at the performance from the offense, I guess I expected a bit more success.

Mountain Ridge's defense was against susceptible to the big play. And they also made a ton of off-sides penalties.

The Miners' will have a lot to work on this week as they get ready for their final scrimmage this upcoming Thursday against Boonsboro.



Note: Please click on the photo album link to the left on the home page and check out the pictures taken from both scrimmages. Also check back on the site this week for a season preview.


Frostburg, MD: The Mountain Ridge Miner varsity football team got their 2017 preseason underway Wednesday evening at Miner Stadium. 

That is where the Berkeley Springs Indians, for the second straight year, scrimmaged the Mountain Ridge Miners' football team.

Each team took 3 to 5 attempts at kicking the all important extra point following the touchdown. It is important to remember that due to safety concerns neither team rushed the kicker.

After the extra point attempts Berkeley Springs took the ball at the Miner 10-yard line and had 4 attempts at scoring. If a play netted any positive yards the next play took place from that line of scrimmage. The Indians offense took all 4 shots and came up empty on each and every one.

Following that stout defensive series, the Mountain Ridge offense took to the field for the first time in 2017. They also took the ball at the 10 and had 4 plays to score. Mountain Ridge scored on all 4 plays. All were runs and it is important to note that on one of them the ball carrier fumbled the ball after crossing the goal line. He did recover his own fumble however.

It was then time for the Berkeley offense to get its second try. They fared a bit better, scoring on 1 of the 4 plays run this time.

Following that the Mountain Ridge offense had one last try and the same thing. This time they were only able to score on 2 of the 4 attempts from the 10-yard line.

The rest of the scrimmage consisted of each team running 10 consecutive plays on offense. Each series started from their own 30-yard line. As in the previous part of the scrimmage, if you gained yards the line of scrimmage moved, the downs were also kept although not totally enforced. Example being that if they got to fourth down and couldn't convert but their 10 plays weren't up they just started the series over at 1st down.

The Indians once again started us out in this format, and although they did manage to move the ball occasionally, mainly on pass plays, they could not manage to push the ball across the goal line.

It was then time for the Mountain Ridge offense to have a shot at this format. The Miners' did have a bit more trouble in this format but did manage to score once.

The format of the scrimmage was not an actual game so I don't really like to keep score in that manner. Mostly due to the fact the format is not game like. But for what it is worth, Berkeley scored a total of twice in all formats, while Mountain Ridge scored 7 times.

It was very evident from the get go that Mountain Ridge was the better team. They had bigger players, faster players, more athletic players, and when it comes down to it just more players. Very low turnout for Berkeley.

The Mountain Ridge offense needs to work more on blocking, holding their blocks, and holding onto the ball.

Mountain Ridge's defense needs to work on defending the pass. Most of Berkeley Springs success came when they threw the ball. This has also been a problem for the Miners in the past couple years.

It will be interesting to see how Mountain Ridge fairs against Southern and Boonsboro in the next 7 days.

Note: If you would to see more pictures taken from the scrimmage please click on the photo albums link on the left hand side of the home page.



Frostburg, MD: The Mountain Ridge Miner football team will prepare for the 2017 regular season exclusivley at the friendly confines of Miner Stadium. They have three (3) scrimmages scheduled and all of them will take place at home.

Scrimmage #1 will take place on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at 5:30 pm against the Berkeley Springs Indians. The Indians are not strangers as they have faced Mountain Ridge twice in the first ten years of Miner Football. They have also squared off quite a bit in the preseason for scrimmages since coming off the schedule.

Mountain Ridge will then host Southern on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 10am. The Rams and Miners' have squared off 8 times in the first 10 years of Miner Football with the Ridge coming out on top in 7 of the 8. Two years back Southern decided to lessen their schedule and take M. Ridge off of it and they have met in scrimmages in each of the last 2 years.

The third and final scrimmage will take place on Thursday, August 24, 2017, against Boonsboro at 5pm. These two teams have only faced each other once in the regular season. That was a Warrior 2011 1a West region semifinal win. They have however played each other quite often in the preseason in recent years.

Make sure you come out and support your Miner student athletes at all three scrimmages.