No. 1 Elkton at Bo Manor
When: 7 tonight
Last Meeting: Aug. 31, 2018 – Elkton won, 58-6
Outlook: Just because new Bohemia Manor head coach Vincent Ricci is slipping the headset on for the first time doesn’t mean he’s not well-equated with the heated rivalry between his program and nearby Elkton.
The former Eagles defensive coordinator has been part of the annual contest between the Cecil County rivals since 2015. Tonight’s season opener simply marks the first time he’ll be experiencing the annual “Battle of Route 213” with an upgraded title.
“They’re what? Seven miles away from the school? A lot of the kids kind of know each other, some of them even grew up playing on the same teams in junior league. That’s kind of where the rivalry stems from,” Ricci said. “I’m not from around here, but as soon as I got down here, I always knew the rivalry was Elkton, and it was the game you always wanted to go to and be a part of.”
The Eagles bring a new-look offense to the contest after their preseason scrimmages showed a more passer-friendly scheme under senior quarterback Jake Harris. It’s a change from past years when the ground-and-pound philosophy defined Bo Manor.
“New head coach, new philosophy. I know he’s been a part of the staff, but as a new head coach, you want to kind of get your imprint on the program. They sent us their scrimmage film and they’re definitely doing things differently than they have in the past. That presents new challenges,” Elkton head coach Matt Feeney said. “They’ve opened up the playbook. Our practice this week has been a little different.”
Bo Manor knows exactly what to expect from the Elks, who graduated only five starters from a team that advanced to the 2A State semifinals. Last year’s opener saw Elkton score nearly 60 points at home against the Eagles.
Quarterback Nolan Null threw for five touchdowns while making his varsity debut as a junior. Defensively, Elkton shut out its arch-rival over the final three quarters.
“We’re definitely looking forward to presenting the new offense. Hopefully the growing pains aren’t too painful,” said Ricci, whose team will host its first-ever season opener on the new turf, installed in the stadium last October. “We’re hoping to do a little more than we did against Elkton last year to keep up with their high-powered offense.”
Cambridge-SD at No. 3 Rising Sun
When: 7 tonight
Last Meeting: N/A
Outlook: A stiff test awaits the Tigers in their home opener.
One season after a surprise 7-3 campaign and a near-miss of the 2A East playoffs, Rising Sun will begin the year against the Vikings, who earned the No. 2 seed in last fall’s 1A East postseason.
The Tigers will aim to continue what they started building last year when they rolled to over 3,000 rushing yards with a highly-lethal Wing-T offense. Cambridge-SD will look to get off to a winning start to erase the memory of last year’s home playoff loss to Perryville.
Expect Rising Sun to burn up the gridiron and pile up the points. It’s an offense that was severely difficult to stop a year ago and once again owns a formidable offensive line and stable of running backs.
North East at Kenwood
When: 6 tonight
Last Meet: N/A
Outlook: The new-look triple-offense for the Indians will debut on the road in Baltimore County.
North East will take on Kenwood as it kicks off the new year. It will be one of two road games for the Cecil County program before it cuts the ribbon on a brand new turf field on Sept. 20.
Tonight against the Bluebirds, the Indians anticipate controlling the time of possession and getting the ball into the hands of multiple athletes as they set out to secure a Week 1 victory for a second-straight year.