Frederick County rematch: Warriors excited to face rival Pioneers again

Sherando football coach Bill Hall works his players during a recent practice. The Warriors play at Millbrook tonight in the Region 4C playoff semifinals. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — For the second time in three weeks, Frederick County rivals Sherando and Millbrook will face off — this time the season is on the line for both teams.

The fourth-seeded Warriors travel to play the top-seeded Pioneers tonight in the Region 4C football playoff semifinals at 7 p.m.  Two weeks ago, Sherando beat Millbrook, 35-22, in the regular-season finale.

Sherando junior quarterback Hunter Entsminger said that the Warriors know they will have to play better than they did two weeks ago.

“We all watched film and we know we need to improve on a lot of things,” Entsminger said. “We didn’t play our best game and we know they didn’t play theirs either. So we just got to come out with the same mentality that we had in the game against them two weeks ago and really just go out there and get a win again.”

The Pioneers (9-1) are led by quarterback Isaac Brown, who has already verbally committed to play football next year at the University of Richmond. Brown was 20-for-34 for 221 yards and a touchdown in the game two weeks ago. He also had 70 yards rushing. However, the Warriors held the rest of the Pioneers to only 40 yards rushing.

Millbrook has speed at the skill positions, and Sherando senior linebacker Michael Perry said it’s important to limit the big plays.

“We have to contain the outside on defense,” Perry said. “I think we did a pretty good job of that the first game. And we can’t let them have any big plays because they’ve got some speedsters on their team.”

Sherando (9-2) had 368 yards of offense in the first meeting between the two teams. Sherando running back T.J. Washington led the way with 25 carries for 176 yards and two scores. Entsminger threw for 139 yards on 13-for-18 passing with a touchdown.

For the season, Washington has rushed for 1,297 yards and 14 touchdowns. The junior also has 33 catches for 504 yards and nine more scores. Senior Aaron Banks leads Sherando’s receiving corps with 37 receptions for 673 yards and nine touchdowns.

Entsminger, the Class 4 Northwestern District Player of the Year, has thrown for 2,059 yards and 26 touchdowns.

While the Warriors offense has been productive, averaging 44.9 points per game, the defense has been just as solid. Sherando is allowing just 15.5 points and 222.6 yards per contest.

“Our defense is really good, from the standpoint of they do a good job complementing each other,” Sherando coach Bill Hall said. “Everybody does their job. They play fast downhill and are aggressive. And we have a lot of skill in the back end of it. We’re athletic at the linebacker level. And we execute on the front. So that combination, you know it’s fun to coach them because they’re doing the finer things especially at this point in the season.”

With the season on the line, the Warriors would automatically be excited to play the game. However, the players admitted playing a rival in the playoffs adds a little extra motivation.

“It’s great to see them a second time,” Perry said. “It’s always great to play your rival. We’re motivated every single game, but this game is really big.”

The Warriors missed the playoffs last season, but now that they are back in it this year the players said they want to make the most of their opportunity.

“It’s win or go home, so really you just have to have that mentality,” Entsminger said. “You get one more game, one more week. That’s what we’ve been saying is one more week and that’s all you got. So really we’re just playing for that one more week.”