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South seizes momentum, wins big

September 12, 1998|By MARK KELLER

South Hagerstown football coach Greg Kellick knows how Buddy Orndorff felt Friday night.

"We've been on the other end of that before," Kellick said after the Rebels beat Orndorff's Smithsburg Leopards, 32-12. "We've been there."

''There'' is having the momentum of a game going your way, only to have it ripped from your hands and given to the other team. "There" is where the Leopards were when the game ended Friday.

Smithsburg (1-1, 0-1 Monocacy Valley Athletic League) led 12-6 and had the ball with 7 minutes remaining in the game. On fourth down from the South 18, Orndorff sent in his field goal unit.

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That's when the Rebels (1-1, 1-0) grabbed hold of the momentum.

Skip Jackson blocked Jon Henson's field goal try and Matt Jenkins picked up the ball on one hop and took off the other way. He was finally brought down at the Smithsburg 27.

On the next play, Jason Priecko broke free to the right for a 27-yard touchdown run and a 13-12 South lead.

Smithsburg faced third-and-11 from their 38 on the next drive. Kevin Lowe's pass fell into Jenkins' hands, and he returned it to the South 43. Once again, on the Rebels' first play, Priecko broke loose. He went 57 yards to give South a 19-12 lead. The Rebels missed on their two-point conversion attempt.

Darryl Clopper took the ensuing kickoff from his own 10. He broke three tackles before heading toward the South sideline. He broke another tackle there and went 90 yards for an apparent score. But a clipping penalty at the Smithsburg 20 brought the play back.

It was the second time Clopper had a long return called back. In the second quarter, his 71-yard punt return was negated when the Leopards had 12 men on the field. Smithsburg also had a 51-yard touchdown pass called back for clipping.

"Three touchdowns at length called back at critical times is gonna take a lot out of you," Orndorff said. "You can only be punched in the stomach so many times before you bend over."

Priecko scored again after a Smithsburg fumble to put South ahead 26-12 with 3:30 left. Heth Troncatti scored one minute later on an interception return.

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