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Keeney carries Knights to win

November 18, 2002|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

GLENELG, Md. - Middletown quarterback Tyler Lushbaugh called it "a perfect 10," describing his feelings after the Knights dumped previously unbeaten Glenelg 28-10 in the Class 2A quarterfinals Saturday.

It was darn near that. And pretty darn good despite a game-long rain that made footing treacherous.

For the second straight year, Middletown beat Glenelg on its home turf. In each case, it was the first loss for the Gladiators, a 7-0 playoff victim a year ago.

The Knights (10-1) advance to the semifinals against Wicomico (10-1), a 13-7 winner over Stephen Decatur. The game is expected to be played Friday in Salisbury.

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"We came here expecting to score more than seven points," veteran coach Tim Ambrose said. "I think our line started getting confidence as the game went on and that made the traps and misdirection work better."

Except for a 68-yard touchdown run by Glenelg's Tim Siders on its first offensive play of the game and one or two other mistakes, the Knights were relentless on both sides of the football.

The leader of the pack was senior Josh Keeney, who surpassed two milestones with a 289-yard performance on 27 carries and three touchdowns, giving him 2,201 yards for the year and an unofficial 4,013 for his career.

"I think this was one of the best games we have played this year," a muddied Keeney said. "I think we had three other games in this kind of weather. You just have to run straight ahead."

Lushbaugh had tied the game on a perfectly executed fake to Keeney by rolling 13 yards around right end with 6:24 to play in the second period. By then, Keeney had only 50 yards on 12 carries.

"You just had to be careful and conscious on the wet field," Lushbaugh said.

Siders bolted 58 yards following the ensuing kickoff to the Knights' 26, stopped on a saving tackle by Adam Ellison. As the defense stiffened, Glenelg faced a fourth down and Ellison responded by knocking down a pass.

The Knights then marched 76 yards, despite a 15-yard penalty. Keeney began to pick up chunks of yardage as his offensive linemen were beginning to open gaping holes. He gained 23 and 33 yards on successive plays to set up a go-ahead score from five yards with 2:41 to play.

Glenelg managed to move from its 32 to Middletown's 4, but had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Josh Isaacs with one second left.

The Knights manhandled Glenelg throughout the second half.

Defensively, Middletown thwarted six fourth-down conversion attempts.

Keeney blasted left, then right, and up the middle on traps and misdirection, picking up 178 yards, including two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

He dashed 69 yards to set up his own 13-yard effort with 4:54 left in the contest.

Following a quick three-and-out and a short punt, Keeney made it a one-play drive with a 35-yard burst on a trap play just 1:40 later.

Senior tackle Ryan Cutsail enjoyed the game from both sides of the football. Not only did he make several fine defensive plays, he was among those opening gaps for Keeney.

"Once we started the traps going, we got momentum," Cutsail said. "It was fun playing this game. You get used to the weather. We've all (senior linemen) played together with Josh since third grade. It's an honor to be a part of the numbers he has."

Middletown hammered out 442 yards, all on the ground. Lushbaugh added 73 yards on seven carries.




Middletown 28, Glenelg 10

Middletown 0 14 0 14 -28

Glenelg 7 3 0 0 -10

G - Tim Siders 68 run (Isaacs kick)

M - Tyler Lushbaugh 13 run (Will Gawler kick)

M - Josh Keeney 5 run (Gawler kick)

G - Isaacs 20 FG

M - Keeney 13 run (Gawler kick)

M - Keeney 35 run (Gawler kick)

Midd Glen

First Downs 14 11

Rushes-yards 42-442 35-224

Passing yards 0 108

Comp-Att-Int 0-1-0 8-20-0

Total Offense 43-442 55-332

Punts-avg. 3-33.0 3-34.0

Penalties-yards 7-69 4-35

Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0

Records: Middletown 10-1; Glenelg 10-1.

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