SMITHBURG JVB — SMITHSBURG -- For Joppatowne, it was a reversal of fortune.
In the Class 1A state football quarterfinals, the Mariners used seven turnovers to defeat Cambridge.
Yesterday, in the 1A semifinals, it was the Mariners who had trouble hanging on to the football. They had six turnovers on their first eight possessions, as Smithsburg rolled to a 37-6 victory.
Smithsburg (11-1) advanced to Saturday's Class 1A state title game at 4 p.m. at Byrd Stadium against Wilde Lake, a 42-0 winner over Milford Mill in the other semifinal yesterday. It will be the Leopards' fourth straight trip to the final and their seventh in the past 16 years.
After the Mariners gave up the ball on two early fumbles, quarterback Damon Davies threw interceptions on four straight possessions late in the half when Smithsburg took command.
"We lost by the turnovers," said Joppatowne coach Karlis Larson. "Our running game wasn't exactly working, so we had to pass."
Said Smithsburg fullback Tobby Williams: "Every time they threw the ball, it was ours. Our defense just went off."
The Leopards' offense did its part, too.
Smithsburg gained 358 yards on the day, including 333 rushing. Williams (26 carries for 139 yards), Colby Bachtell (10, 126) and second-stringer Doug Batey (seven, 68) broke through the defense for big gains time and again.
Before yesterday's game, the Joppatowne defense had allowed an average of 7.7 points a game.
"The turnovers killed us, but their offense killed us," said Larson, whose team fell to 8-4. "Their offense kept moving the ball and keeping us out of good field position, setting up their defense. It wasn't rocket science -- they just blew us off the line."