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Applemen enjoy Homecoming

October 21, 2002|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - Friday night was a true homecoming for the Musselman football team.

After five straight road games, the Applemen got fired up for their return to Waldeck Field and shut down the Hedgesville offense for three quarters on their way to a 24-16 win over Hedgesville in a Cumberland Valley Athletic League game.

"We don't know how to act not getting on a bus after a game," Musselman coach Denny Price said. "The kids are getting in their cars and driving out of here. It's a good win for them and a great weekend."

The Applemen (2-6, 2-1) held Hedgesville to 60 yards and one first down in the first three quarters of the game. The Eagles (1-6, 0-3) finished with 15 carries for minus-5 yards.

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"They stick nine guys in the box and that makes it real tough to move the ball on them," Eagles coach Dave Lopez said. "They really took it to us. We just couldn't run the ball on them."

Brandon Caton ran 19 times for 80 yards and Josh Stroop had 17 carries for 71 yards for the Applemen, who were on an emotional high playing their first home game since Sept. 6, the second week of the season.

Caton set up Musselman's first score with a 21-yard punt return to the Eagles 43-yard line. After the drive stalled at the 19, Kris Whetzel drilled a 35-yard field goal for a 3-0 Musselman lead.

After a second straight three-and-out for the Eagles - they did that on six of their nine possessions in the game - the Applemen strung together a 16-play, 78-yard drive that Stroop finished off with a 1-yard scoring run for a 10-0 lead.

"The backs are doing a lot better seeing where the creases are going to be and how the holes are going to open up," Price said. "The offensive line has done a great job, too ... making adjustments and getting better blocks."

The Applemen got good field position again after a short Hedgesville punt and scored eight plays later when Joey Pletcher floated a pass to the corner of the end zone for D.J. Stephenson, who kept his eye on the tipped pass and hauled it in for a 17-0 lead.

The Eagles got their only first down of the first half on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Matt Yurish to Trey Hockman. Yurish hit Chad Grant for the two-point conversion.

Hedgesville got 78 of its 90 total yards on its final drive of the game, which was capped by a Yurish to Brandon Kerns 5-yard TD pass with 34 seconds left in the game.

"Trey and Brandon can make some plays and Matt's a heck of a quarterback," Lopez said. "We just need to protect him a little better."

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