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Knights wear down Cats

September 28, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - Williamsport head coach Eric Michael, like all of his Wildcats, looked tired.

"We kinda ran out of gas in the second half," he said. "It wasn't really anything we didn't expect."

This is what you say after facing Middletown.

Despite a near-perfect first half by Williamsport, the No. 1 Knights used their depth and strength to pull away to a 41-0 victory Friday night in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

"Eric came up with a beautiful defensive scheme," Middletown coach Tim Ambrose said. "They played extremely hard. They were making the plays, making us do some things that we haven't done so far."

Middletown (4-0, 3-0 MVAL) struggled on offense early, failing to convert on fourth down at the Wildcat 18, fumbling on the Williamsport 45 on the first play of its next possession, got pinned to its own 13 on the third possession and then shanked the punt to its own 32.

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But even though the offense was in uncharted territory, the defense - which hasn't allowed a point in the league - was right on course. Williamsport (2-2, 1-2) lost yardage on its first three possessions, but was moving forward after the good field position. But quarterback Ryan Grabill fumbled at the 26, and the Knights' Zane Harshman recovered to sink what would be the Wildcats' best chance of the night.

"About the middle of the first quarter, we decided to step up and make some plays to fire up the offense," Harshman said. "Then we took it to them in the second half."

Harshman's play did exactly what he wanted. The offense steamed down the field, and scored on Lee Guy's 29-yard run off the option for a 6-0 lead.

Williamsport's defense held on the next two possessions, but it wasn't enough. On 4th-and-4 at their own 22 with 52 seconds left in the half, the Wildcats' Adam Tournay had his punt blocked, and Middletown scored on the next play. The two-point conversion made it 14-0.

"It just seems like there's something here or there," Michael said. "Middletown's a great team. They'd let us go for awhile, and then they'd tighten up. I don't know if it's as much our mistakes as it is them being a good team."

Then Middletown's good offense came to play. The Knights opened the second half with an 89-yard touchdown drive - 58 of them on bruising runs by fullback Matt Kunka. Kunka scored from six yards out on the eighth play of the drive for a 21-0 lead.

"Any thought that they had an opportunity to win this one, I think it went out right there," Ambrose said.

After an interception, the Knights went to the air on their next possession, going 70 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 2-yard Kunka TD run. Quarterback Justin Ambrose went 5-for-6 for 62 yards on the drive.

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