When City College was looking for a big passing play Friday night, Linganore cornerback Joshua Sachar was usually the one getting in the way of Knights quarterback Quavel Thornton’s passes and hauling in an errant throw.

With three interceptions, and nearly a fourth, one of Sachar’s teammates yelled, “Hat trick, baby!” during an interview with the Lancer defender.

“I think we just came out with a good game plan,” Sachar said. “We had something to prove as a secondary, and I think we showed up today.”

Reaching the 3A state quarterfinals with a win a week ago over rival Oakdale, the Linganore defense forced four turnovers Friday night against the Knights leading to a 50-6 victory.

“It’s awesome. We get to practice on Thanksgiving Day, which is one of the best days of practice to ever practice football,” Conner said.

The top seed in the 3A playoffs, Linganore (11-0) will host a state semifinal next Friday at 7 p.m. against Frederick, ensuring a Frederick County team will reach the state finals for the fourth year, not counting the abbreviated spring season. The Lancers defeated the Cadets 28-14 in a home game on Oct. 15.

“It’s really special because I know a lot of guys missed out on something last year, and we’ve got something to do,” Sachar said.

Linganore’s front seven had the unenviable task of trying to contain Thornton, who scrambled across both sides of the field to elude defenders on the majority of Knights (8-2) offensive plays.

“Trevor Jenkins did a great job chasing him. Chase Schultz, gosh, that kid can play defense,” Conner said. “Getting our speed package in there and Joel [Hopkins] was good, and Cole [Stansbury] has been solid. Those front five have been outstanding.”

Sachar added, “Whenever [Thornton] rolled out, we just had to latch onto a receiver and lock him down. A lot of our success comes from our front seven. They’re probably the best in the county and really make the quarterback worry about what he’s doing.”

Trailing 29-0 at halftime, City College finally cracked the Lancers defense as Tavien Gentry broke loose for a 34-yard run that led to his 14-yard touchdown run, the only points the Linganore defense surrendered.

“We [relaxed] and I think we had some penalties not go our way, and we’ll look at film to see what they were,” Conner said.

Ethan Arneson, who led the Lancers with 162 rushing yards on 26 carries, was leveled by a hit from Daequan Shell after catching a pass out of the backfield late in the third quarter.

Arneson, Conner said, “had the wind knocked out of him,” and the Lancers coach decided to rest the star sophomore for the rest of the game.

In Arneson’s place entered Josh Little, who added a 40-yard touchdown run following Sachar’s third interception to open the fourth quarter, then proceeded to make back-to-back tackles for loss on defense to force a turnover on downs.

“It was good to see [Little] get some carries and shine,” Conner said. “He made a big play on offense and big plays on defense.”

Nate Engel scored a touchdown run from a yard out, and Christian Petruzzello had a 24-yard touchdown pass to Chase Schultz, his second of the game.

The Lancers special teams unit put up the first points of the game just 12 seconds in on a 90-yard kickoff return touchdown by Zane Bailey, his third of the year.

Sachar’s first interception halted the Knights’ opening drive, setting the stage for a big night from the 6-foot-1 senior.

“That’s been an area we’ve been concentrating on all season long. He high-pointed the ball, just like Coach Marks wanted, so good for Josh,” Conner said.

Linganore went up 15-0 on a 13-play drive capped by a 13-yard Timmy Conner touchdown pass to Matthew Hauptman, then Conner connected on the 2-point conversion pass to a wide open Cole Stansbury.

Arneson added a 2-yard touchdown run to go ahead 22-0 with 3:49 left in the first half.

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