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Applemen even record

October 04, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - For 21 minutes in the first half, Jefferson played flawless football.

It was the final three minutes that turned what would have been a confident halftime break into concern.

Leading 7-0, Jefferson was guilty of two key errors that led to 10 Musselman points and the homestanding Applemen went on to a 17-7 victory at Waldeck Field in a Cumberland Valley Athletic League contest.

The Applemen (3-3, 1-1 CVAL) minimized any mistakes to only one non-costly fumble while Jefferson was guilty of four turnovers, three of them fumbles, the first on a botched punt snap.

"This was a very big win for us tonight," Musselman coach Denny Price said. "We've got some kids banged up. Jefferson is deep and talented ... our kids played and executed very well as a team."

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Having driven 70 yards on nine plays in the opening period and scoring on a 6-yard run by quarterback Codie Gustines, the Cougars were in control of the game, blocking crisply on the line and holding Musselman to 60 total yards through 21 minutes.

Jefferson (1-5, 0-1 CVAL) stopped a 60-yard Musselman drive when Steven Emswiler's 43-yard field goal attempt went wide left with 3:16 left in the first half.

On the ensuing possession, Jefferson was guilty of a holding penalty and was stifled at its own 6-yard line and a punt situation.

However, a low snap made it difficult for punter Tom Teyssier to handle and the ball bounced about before landing in the end zone and in the grasp of Musselman's Kevin Rhodes. With a 15-yard Musselman dead ball penalty, Emswiler still added what amounted to a 32-yard extra point attempt.

On the first play after the kickoff, Gustines fumbled on a rollout attempt and the recovery by Ryan West gave the Applemen possession at the 29 with 1:02 left.

Jefferson held tough at the 16, but that still was in plenty of range for Emswiler, who boomed a 33-yard field goal with 16 seconds left.

"We moved the football between the 20s but I guess we kind of shot ourselves in the foot," said Jefferson coach Donnie Tucker. "We're still a work in progress and we have the anguish right now of dealing with it, but we will become a better football team."

At the same time, Price was thinking the worse.

"Our defense made some big plays. We could have been down 14-0 at the half," Price said.

The Cougars had but three possessions in the second half, twice being stopped on downs. Musselman was stopped twice on downs by the Cougars in the third period, but managed to put together an 11-play, 53-yard drive to score with 4:26 left in the game when quarterback Joey Pletcher showed play action and rolled right on a naked bootleg untouched from eight yards for a TD.

Musselman's Josh Betts had 70 yards rushing on 15 carries while Michael Davis had 58 yards on 17 efforts. Jefferson's Will Grantham powered his way for 114 yards on 17 carries which included 78 yards in the second half. All told, Jefferson had 235 total yards to 196 for Musselman.

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