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Cougars run over Rebels

October 04, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Catoctin simply shunned - make that -tioned - South Hagerstown.

As in precision ... execution ... and demolition.

The Cougars used their tight-knit style of ball control offense flawlessly to grind out seven touchdowns - five on the ground - and thoroughly befuddle the Rebels in a 49-28 win Friday at School Stadium.

Catoctin (4-1, 2-0) jumped into the driver's seat in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League Antietam Conference race by churning out 327 rushing yards, 119 of them by Joe Rakoski.

"Oh man, this was a huge game," Catoctin coach Doug Williams said. "It's a ball-control, executing offense. When it's on, it's on. When it's off, it doesn't work. We got kids to execute it.

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"Coach Jim Eckenrode found a way for our offensive line to give us some huge holes and Coach Paul Dumas came up with a way for us to contain (South quarterback David) Miner."

Catoctin's offense is a tight Wing-T formation which resembles the Harlem Globetrotter's Magic Circle when it comes to handing off the ball. Lead blockers charge through the hole like school kids running to the door for recess to outnumber would-be tacklers. The Cougars just beat the Rebels (2-3, 1-1) to the punch.

"That's a ball-control offense. They run four or five basic plays and keep working on them," South coach Greg Kellick said. "I don't know if they have fumbled the ball once all year. That's the sign of good coaching. It didn't help that we gave up the ball four times."

South fumbled the ball six times, losing four of them. Catoctin scored three of its four first-half touchdowns after Rebels turnovers and cashed in the fourth in the second half. Meanwhile, the Cougars offense held Miner to zero yards rushing on 18 carries.

Miner managed to throw for 205 yards and three touchdown passes - two to Charles Johnson - but Catoctin's ability to contain the quarterback's running game was the key defensive goal.

Catoctin jumped out to a 21-0 lead as David Burrier and Rakoski each scored the first of their two touchdowns and Jason Johnson returned an Antwan Jones fumble 29 yards for a touchdown. Burrier scored on a 3-yard sweep and Rakoski bulled in from the 4.

South pulled within 21-14 as Miner found Travis Gatrill for 22-yard score and Johnson on a 59-yard catch-and-run score.

Johnson gave Catoctin a 29-14 lead with 1:20 left in the half on a 15-yard scoring pass to Brad Brown. Still, South was confident.

"We came in at the half and felt good about our situation," Kellick said. "We said we were going to come out and play their game and go for the short gains with the passing game. We drove the opening drive down to the 11 and stopped."

Catoctin took over on downs and drove 65 yards in 15 plays, capped by an Adam Venables' 1-yard score for a 36-14 lead.

South made the game interesting, scoring on consecutive possessions on a 2-yard run by Jones and Miner's second TD pass to Johnson to get back within 36-28.

But Catoctin took the ensuing kickoff and scored in three plays - on Rakoski's 7-yard run - and got the ball right back when Johnson fumbled the kickoff, ending with Burrier's 26-yard sweep for the final touchdown.

The loss laid a serious dent on South's hopes to win the first Antietam Conference title.

"We didn't play well enough tonight," Kellick said. "To be a champion, you have to play like a champion game in and game out. We didn't. I don't want to take anything away from Catoctin. They played like champions."

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