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Middletown romps over TJ

September 05, 1998|By MARK KELLER

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - The silver anniversary season of Middletown High School football began on a sour note Friday night.

The rest of the evening, however, was simply sterling for the Knights.

No. 3 Thomas Johnson scored on the first play from scrimmage, but Middletown gave the Patriots little room to run afterward as the No. 1 Knights went on to a 33-14 win in the season opener for both teams.

Patrick Truxillo went 68 yards on a reverse on TJ's first play to stake the Patriots to a quick 7-0 lead. But that play accounted for one of three first downs by the Patriots and nearly half of their offensive output for the night.

"The defensive end had the quarterback all night - except for that play," said Middletown coach Tim Ambrose. "A couple times he made the tackle, a couple times he turned the play inside. That time he stuck his nose inside and it got around him."

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The Knights (1-0) countered with a 13-play, 64-yard drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock and tied the score at 7-7. A Josh Lucas to Jared Ambrose 27-yard sideline pass set up Nathan Rushing's 2-yard touchdown burst.

Following a TJ fumble, the Knights took advantage of the short field, going 38 yards in eight plays for a 13-7 lead. Lucas found tight end Pat Turner in the left corner of the end zone on a 3-yard pop pass.

On the Patriots' next play from scrimmage, Ken Robey stepped in front of a Ricky Roberts pass and returned it 41 yards for another score.

"That was huge. Robey read the play and stepped right in front on the out pattern. That was a big play," Ambrose said.

It gave the Knights a 19-7 lead at the half and a sense that the game was under control. Aside from Truxillo's long run, TJ had just 14 yards of offense in the first half.

"We score a touchdown on the first play of the game and then ... I don't know what to tell you," said TJ coach Ben Wright, trying to sum up his team's dreadful first half.

The second half wasn't much better for the Patriots, though they did pull to within 19-14 with 3:52 left in the third quarter on another big play. On third-and-10 from their own 30, Roberts dropped back and found a wide open Josh Inscoe, who beat two Middletown defenders to the goal line.

"Two big plays. We played pretty good defense other than those two plays," Ambrose said.

Rushing added an 8-yard touchdown and Lucas hit Travis Tritch with a 33-yard touchdown pass to close the scoring in the fourth.

"What happened the last five or six years is not going to do a thing for us this year," Wright said. "I'm embarrased with the way we played tonight."

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