CHESAPEAKE CITY — The Eagles in the city of brotherly love are not the only birds still undefeated in the early parts of the 2022 football season.
The Eagles of Bohemia Manor (3-0) enter tonight’s matchup at home against North East on a three-game win streak to start the year. Bo thoroughly handled Havre de Grace on the road last week, with a 28-0 victory.
Through three games, Bo rushed for 526 of its total 927 yards on the ground to go along with 11 touchdowns. Senior Jake Koehler is responsible for over half of the ground game for the Eagles, with 289 rushing yards. Quarterback Angel Granado is currently 29-40 on the season through the air, for 401 passing yards and four passing touchdowns.
Bo Manor Head Coach Vince Ricci said the versatility of his offense has been critical to his team’s early season success.
“Defenses can’t just say ‘Hey, they’re ninety percent of the time going to run the ball’ and then load up the box. It’s really important to be able to have that running game going well and then we can get that play-action game going off of it,” Ricci said. “It makes the life of our quarterback a heck of a lot easier when we can get that running game going and keep less hits off him.”
In the victory over the Warriors, Bo Manor forced four turnovers, a season high through three games. Senior Deaven Jones and freshman Gunnar Preston both hauled in interceptions, while senior John Baglio and junior Nate Fleming stripped Havre de Grace of the football twice.
“If we can keep turning teams over, that’d be huge, but we know we can’t get four turnovers every single game,” Ricci said. “Those four turnovers were caused by pressure, but we do know it’s going to be tough to get that consistently, so we have to stay within our minds, stay within ourselves and keep playing solid defense.”
North East (0-3) enters tonight still searching for its first win of the season. The Indians come off a 46-21 loss at home against Joppatowne, with North putting up a season-best in points scored.
Head Coach Taylor Slaughenhoupt said the message for his squad against an undefeated Bo Manor team is to “continue to trust the process.”
”We played three quality teams,” Slaughenhoupt said. “That’s the message for the team. Let’s learn from the mistakes that we’ve made. Let’s continue to trust the process and trust that we are right there and we get a couple plays to go our way. The biggest message is believe that it is going to happen, don’t be surprised when it happens, believe it.”
Quarterback Luke Keefer is coming off one of his best performances of the season under center, passing for 84 yards to go along with two touchdowns. Keefer also recorded an interception.
Keefer enters tonight in his fourth ever start as a junior. Slaughenhoupt believes Keefer has a lot of untapped potential since he took the reins of the North East quarterback position.
“He’s just played above his experience level right now. First time a kid comes out to play, you don’t expect him to be able to do what he is able to do,” Slaughenhoupt said. “He’s made some plays that on other teams, three-year starters haven’t made. I’ve been pleased. He’s made mistakes and he’s learned from the mistakes.”
For the Eagles, Ricci said tonight’s matchup comes down to how his team can play along the line.
“I really think the line play is going to play a lot into that and we do know that they’re going to fire off the ball,” Ricci said. “Their offensive line is going to get after it, they’ve gotten after it in the past and there is no doubt in my mind that they can continue to do that.”
Slaughenhoupt looks to limit the big plays from Granado, Koehler and the rest of Bo’s talented skill players.
“When we’re there to make a play, let’s make sure we make a play. Don’t give [Angel] or any of the rest of their guys a chance to make plays,” Slaughenhoupt said. “We’re not looking for it to be pretty, we’re not looking for big knockout blows. Get them to the ground, pick them back up and let’s go do the next play.”