MIDDLETOWN — He enjoyed a breakout 165-yard performance the previous week, but players then kept getting in Middletown running back Kadin Fisher’s ear, imploring him to push for more.

“The team was telling me, ‘Don’t be that running back who only rushes for 150 versus Brunswick. Keep getting better every week, don’t stop, and keep it going,’” Fisher said Friday.

Fisher indeed kept it going, rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries as the Knights beat Walkersville 37-7 to finish their regular season on a six-game winning streak.

And it may have been Fisher’s best performance to date considering the Lions boast one of the area’s stingiest run defenses. The junior’s emergence is emblematic of a Knights team that never rested on its laurels when its winning streak began on Sept. 27.

Back then, Middletown (7-2) was relying heavily on the right arm of senior quarterback Reese Poffenbarger and a stout defense of its own. But the Knights then started establishing Poffenbarger as a running threat to slow down opposing defenses intent on applying pressure in the pocket, and as the their offensive line developed some cohesion, Fisher has started to thrive.

Also, Middletown’s special teams have started to make an impact, particularly on its punt and field-goal block units. Now the Knights carry plenty of momentum into the first round of the playoffs, and they will host a Class 2A West region quarterfinal next week.

“We always try to get better each week,” Fisher said. “Nothing is going to slow us down. Our saying is, ‘All gas, no brakes,’ because we just want to keep in going.”

Poffenbarger finished 11-of-17 for 167 yards and two touchdowns, and he also rushed for 46 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown run. But Fisher’s success on the ground helped open up play-action opportunities, as one run fake led to Poffenbarger finding tight end Colby Doreen wide open on a post pattern for a 30-yard gain that helped set up a Brian Walker touchdown reception that gave Middletown a 27-0 lead early in the third quarter.

Then the Knights imposed their will on their next drive, marching 84 yards on 12 plays as Paul McHugh hit a 20-yard field goal. During the drive, Fisher had four carries of 10 yards or more.

“That opens up all our offense — just running the ball, running the ball,” lineman Zach Brady said. “It demoralizes a team.”

Brady also played a role in demoralizing the Lions as a defensive lineman.

Despite scoring just seven points, Walkersville (6-3) sustained four long drives, but three of them stalled inside the Knights’ 40-yard line. In the second quarter, Jake Saylor replaced Andrew Stroka at quarterback, and Saylor connected with Jeremiah Franklin and Jake Hess on 33- and 25-yard passes that set up the Lions at Middletown’s 5 in the closing seconds of the first half. Timing the snap count perfectly, Brady burst through the middle of the line, forced a fumble by sacking Saylor and then pounced on the ball as time expired in the half.

In the third quarter, Saylor hit Brett Ahalt for a 51-yard reception, but on fourth-and-9, Brady dragged down running back Josiah Jones for a 1-yard loss.

“We did a good job early,” Lions coach Joe Polce said. “Unfortunately, we had a couple turnovers, [and] they capitalized.”

(14) comments

DickD

Does anybody else find it ironic that Liberty is seeded 3rd and Walkersville is seeded 5th? ..Walkersville beat Liberty 27 to 7 during the regular season. And Walkersville has to play Oakdale, a team that beat them 23 to 20. If Walkersville wins that one they will have to play Middletown, who just beat them 37 to 7.

DickD

Here are the official MPSSAA standings for the playoffs:

1 Middletow

2 Glenelg

3 Liberty

4 Oakdale

5 Walkersville

Middletown should play Seneca Valley in the first game. Oakdale will play Walkersville. Middletown should play the winner of that game. Both are good teams.

Rscottgrossnickle

Middletown finished with 71 points and will be the 1 seed. DickD, you did not give Middletown the bonus points from Walkersville's 6 wins.

DickD

They already had the previous 6 bonus points. They only get additional points from the other teams they played during the season and won this week. I do wish you were right.

DickD

I rethought this, I am wrong. Middletown didn't have the bonus points previously because they hadn't played them yet.

DickD

2A End of Season Playoff Seeding for top Four (MPSSAA will release their version Sunday at 10 a.m.)

1  Glenelg

2  Middletown

3  Oakdale

4  Walkersville 

Middletown 56 Points after game 8

Team bonus points

TJ    0

Boonsboro 1

Frederick 1

Oakdale 1

Tuscorora 0

Brunswick 0

Walkersville 0

Total 6 win points + 3 bonus points = 65

Glenelg 57 after game 8

Team bonus points

marriotts ridge    1

smyrna              ?

Howard            0

Oakland Mills  1

Wild Lake        0

Long Reach    0

Glenelg 9 or 10 points 57 + 9 = 66

Walkersville

Team bonus points

Tuscorora 0

Liberty 0

Seneca Valley 1

TJ             0

Catoctin    1

Frederick    1

Walkersville 3 points 59 + 3 - 62

Oakdale 52 before game 8

Team bonus points

Wildlake 0

Frederick 1

TJ           1

Urbana 0

Walkersville 1

Tuscorora 0

7 points for win, 3 bonus points = 62

Oakdale beat Walkersville during the season

MPSSAA Instructions: D. Region Seeding 1. Unless otherwise stated in this bulletin in a particular sport section, teams are seeded in the region tournament according to the best regular season winning percentage. If two teams are tied, the first tie-breaker is head-to head results. If teams are still tied, a coin toss determines the higher seed

DickD

What surprised me about this game?  I didn't expect Walkersville to try three passes on their first possession.  They did.  One was incomplete, one gained two yards, the third was intercepted.  They didn't pass again until they changed quarterbacks.  At first, Walkersville was gaining good on running plays, but our line stiffened and we started holding them for short gains and some losses.  This surprised me.Middletown did go down the field and scored on their first possession, mostly passing, no surprise there.  But Walkersville started taking chances on 4th down, instead of punting.  That did surprise me.  Some of those attempts worked, a couple were disastrous.What also surprised me was that Walkersville was putting so much pressure on the Middletown passing game that it opened up the running game, which I did not expect.  It is hard for  300 pound lineman to chase down a very mobile quarterback.  Chasing down the quarterback means you are not guarding so strong against the run or a quarterback that might run on you.  Poffenbarger was great.  Brian Walker was very good in spite of all the coverage he received and how can you say enough about Huskey, who was great defensively.  Colby Doreen coming back at the Oakdale game and playing line has made a significant difference too.  Yes, Fisher lived it up and deserves his praise. The game was a team win, Middletown stopped Walkersville three times when they got close, one time at the 5, one time at the 13 and Middletown  never punted until the 4th quarter, when the subs were playing.  It was more than I expected and they held Walkersville to no points until late in the 4th quarter, against the subs.  

gfunkmonkey

Walkersville has too many injuries. Should schedule this rivalry in the middle of the season.

Bart Rowe

Wow Dick will be sky high! Congrats and hope for a rematch in 2 weeks.

DickD

Thanks, Bart. I don't know how the match ups will work. The first game will be the top 4 against the bottom 4. i suspect all or almost all of the top four will win. After that it will depend on what teams are left. I think Walkersville will not fall farther than 3rd seed, as they had 59 points, Oakdale was 4th with 52, a difference of 7 points. Oakdale played Tuscorora a 3A team and they will get 7 points for the win, not many bonus points, as Tuscorora does not have a good win record and it will depend on the bonus points for both teams. Whichever way it goes, already decided but not available without a lot of checking, it will be close. Liberty was 5th with 48 points. So, I don't think they will move up to 4th.

If Walkersville is fourth and all top teams win, the Walkersville, Middletown game will be replayed in two weeks. Otherwise it could go a number of ways. All top four teams are good.

DickD

This was said before I checked all scores. As it now stands, it is doubtful Middletown and Walkersville will play each other, this season, unless they are both in the Final game. Now that would be a game!

DickD

As it now stands, Middletown should be seeded 2, Walkersville 4. If the top four win, Walkersville should play Glenelg. After that game all teams are reseeded.

DickD

Should be after game 2 of the playoffs.

DickD

Right now that looks like a good possibility. Of course both teams have to win this week and Walkersville has a tough game against Oakdale.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominem criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.