Cougars get point across to Rebels

October 21, 2002|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

THURMONT, Md. - David Miner didn't sprawl face-first onto the Catoctin High School turf out of sheer exhaustion.

It was pure frustration.

After almost single-handedly rallying his team from a 21-point second-half deficit to the precipice of victory, the South Hagerstown junior was betrayed by his own completed pass.

Miner's 16th completed pass of the game - on an attempted two-point conversion with no time remaining - fell into the arms of junior tackle Tyler Jones, who was ruled an ineligible receiver by the officials. The play sealed Catoctin's 21-20 upset win - and a share of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League lead - and snapped the Rebels' five-game win streak.

Facing a third down from the Cougars 1 with 27 seconds left, Miner tried to dive in for the score, but fell short. South's offense quickly lined up and Miner handed the ball to Mike Campbell, who sliced into the end zone. But the Rebels were whistled for an illegal motion penalty to force a fourth-and-6 situation.


Miner, however, found Jamel Smith with a short pass for the score, setting up the ill-fated two-point conversion.

"We wanted to run the option to the wide side of the field," said South coach Greg Kellick. "But they had that clogged up, so (Miner) started to scramble, and I guess in the heat of the moment, we had an illegal receiver downfield. It was the right call - loss of down, game over."

Catoctin completely dominated the first half with 193 yards of total offense, while the defense held South to just 12 yards rushing and forced two turnovers, both of which resulted in touchdowns.

"It came down to defense," said Catoctin coach Doug Williams. "Our offense struggled toward the end of the fourth quarter. South had field position on us twice and our defense did the job."

The Rebels had an opportunity to score earlier in the fourth period, but Miner's pass was picked off by Steve Seidel to thwart the drive. South, however, responded when Allen Daniels recovered a Cougars' fumble at the Catoctin 24 to set up the final Rebels' score.

During the first half, the Cougars offense ran at will, gaining 131 yards and running 34 offensive plays to 17 for a South team that had just 12 first-half yards rushing.

South finally got things going late in the third quarter when Miner scrambled 80 yards down the left sideline to pull the Rebels to within 21-6. An eight-play, 80-yard drive early in the fourth period - capped by a 3-yard sneak by Miner - brought South to within seven.

Catoctin's first score came on an 86-yard march with Jason Johnson finding Ryan Nesbitt on a fourth-and-15 play for a 25-yard touchdown. The Cougars made it 14-0 after driving 82 yards on eight plays with Jerrell Thompson carrying the final 11 yards.

A Rebels' fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave Catoctin possession at the South 20 before Nesbitt's 1-yard TD plunge for a 21-0 lead.

South missed a golden opportunity to score late in the second quarter when - after moving 38 yards to the Cougars 16 on Miner passes to Antoine Cooper - 20 yards in penalties helped keep the Rebels out of the end zone.

Miner finished 15-of-25 passing for 194 yards passing and ran for 103 of South's 113 yards rushing. He also intercepted the pass to set up the near game-winning score.

The Herald-Mail Articles