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Spartans shoot down Rockets early

Milton Hershey scores two touchdowns in the first 24 seconds to turn back JB.

Milton Hershey scores two touchdowns in the first 24 seconds to turn back JB.

September 09, 2002|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Just how long does it take for a high school football game to get away from one team?

Well, for the James Buchanan Rockets, it took just 24 seconds Friday night.

The Milton Hershey Spartans scored twice in the opening moments of the game, then shut down the Rockets offense on the way to a 51-0 win in a Mid-Penn Liberty game.

Roosevelt Davis ran the opening kickoff back 91 yards for a touchdown and Albert Anthony covered a bad snap that rolled into the end zone on the Rockets' first play from scrimmage to give the Spartans (1-1, 1-0) a 13-0 lead with 11 minutes, 36 seconds still to play in the first quarter.

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"We knew we had to come in here and out execute and out discipline them and obviously that didn't happen tonight," JB coach Kevin Gustafson said. "Before we knew it we were deep in a hole."

But there was still plenty of time left for the Rockets at that point. Andrew Frisby took a handoff from Josh Bowders on the ensuing kickoff and went 65 yards to the Milton Hershey 24-yard line.

On fourth-and-5, JB quarterback Micah Hawbaker ran a keeper around right end, but ended up just inches short of converting the first down.

Still not deterred, the Rockets (1-1, 0-1) forced the Spartans to punt on their next possession and JB took over on its own 7-yard line.

Gustafson said he still believed his team could rebound from the early mishaps.

"I felt that way. I don't know if the kids felt that or not, but I did," Gustafson said.

The opportunity, however, came and went for the Rockets. On second down, Hawbaker fumbled the snap from center and the Spartans recovered. Three plays later, Rapahel Balthazar punched it in from the 1 for a 19-0 Milton Hershey lead.

Things got progressively worse for the Rockets in the first half. Two more lost fumbles and a bad snap on a punt led to three more quick Spartans touchdowns and by the end of the first half, JB trailed, 45-0.

From there, Gustafson said, it became a matter of pride.

"There's not much you can say at that point," Gustafson said.

Milton Hershey tacked on one more score in the third quarter as the running clock brought a faster end to the game.

Hawbaker threw for 112 yards, but the Rockets managed just 3 yards on the ground.

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