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Rebels with a cause

November 03, 2000

Rebels with a cause



Richmond's late interception caps South comeback

By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer


South Hagerstown coach Greg Kellick wouldn't accept any handshakes after Friday night's game with Middletown at School Stadium.

"None of that tonight," Kellick said to boys basketball coach Bob Starkey as he walked into Kellick's office. "Just hugs."

Rebounding from an 0-10 season one year ago, Kellick's Rebels took one more step of an improbable comeback against the Knights, winning 32-26 for the program's first-ever victory against Middletown.

"Coach said they hadn't had four losses in almost 25 years," said senior running back David Line, who rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. "We did it. I didn't get to play varsity last year, I just watched. Now being in this ... it's unbelievable."

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Unbelievable described what might be the wildest game in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League this year. The teams scored three defensive touchdowns and forced nine turnovers, yet combined for 26 offensive plays of 10 yards or more.

The Knights (5-4, 5-3) went up 20-6 three minutes into the second quarter when Zach Denton intercepted a Domonique Richmond pass and took it 45 yards to the end zone.

It was Richmond's last mistake of the half. He went 6-for-7 passing for 126 yards and rushed twice for 18 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown dive with 1.7 seconds left in the half for a 24-20 lead at the break for South (6-3, 6-2).

"We gave them one in the end zone, gave them an interception. They had one long drive," Kellick said. "I liked our odds if we made them make long drives."

The Knights got only one, but it gave them a 26-24 lead on the first drive of the second half. After that, it was back to a frustrating pattern that emerged in the first half - drive inside the South 20 and stall.

"We said the offense could win it for the second half, and we had the ball a lot," Middletown coach Tim Ambrose said. "We had the opportunites to score and we didn't do that."

Finally, it caught up with the Knights. Another drive put them on the doorstep, but disaster struck again in the form of Richmond.

On second-and-7 from the South 10, Middletown quarterback Chris Anderson rolled left, looking for a tight end curl, but it was covered. He decided to throw all the way across the field to his receiver, but the ball was easily read by Richmond.

"I knew he was coming this way, I could see his eyes come back to that side," Richmond said. "After I caught it, I thought, 'I'm going as hard as I can so now one could catch me from behind.' And then there was no one in front of me."

Richmond's 96-yard interception return was the final score of the game just two plays into the fourth quarter. Middletown had several chances down the stretch, but the Rebels intercepted D.J. Costello on a halfback option at the South 25 with 8:48 to go, then forced him to fumble at the South 17 with 4:28 left.

Richmond, meanwhile, slammed the door. Following the interception, Richmond dropped back to pass, eluded a sure safety in the end zone and used his sheer speed to turn it into a 35-yard gain.

Then, after the fumble, with two minutes to go on third-and-2 at his 37, he dropped back to pass. He turned it into an 8-yard keeper plus 15 more yards on a penalty that essentially sealed the game.

"They told us ... focus and composure. We focused all week on this," Line said. "When we needed something done, we did it. We made the big plays when we needed to make them."

Now the Rebels have a chance to make the biggest play of all. Its rivalry game with North Hagerstown will close the season, and a win will almost certainly guarantee the first playoff berth since the state tournament began in 1975.

"What a week coming up. We'll be sky high," Keller said. "What we have to do is enjoy this and go to work Monday to make sure at this time next week, we've got the same feeling."

South 32, Middletown 26


Middletown71360-26

South02408-32

M-Ryan Fritz fumble recovery in end zone (Jack O'Leary kick)

S-Nick Maas 36 pass from Domonique Richmond (run failed)

M-Zach Denton 25 pass from Chris Anderson (O'Leary kick)

M-Denton 45 interception return (run failed)

S-David Line 10 run (pass failed)

S-Mike Lee 3 run (pass failed)

S-Richmond 2 run (run failed)

M-D.J. Costello 1 run (kick failed)

S-Richmond 96 interception return (Line run)

MiddSouth

First Downs1615

Rushes-Yards38-18137-127

Passing Yards160187

Comp-Att-Int7-15-39-17-3

Total Offense61-34162-314

Punts-Avg.2-20.52-35.0

Fumbles-Lost3-12-2

Penalties-Yards10-1117-33

Records: Middletown 5-4, 5-3; South Hagerstown 6-3, 6-2.

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