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Blazers lose, but are not lost

September 04, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

ACCIDENT, Md. - While the scoreboard told one side of the story of Clear Spring's first varsity football game in 87 years, the smiles of well-deserved satisfaction on the faces of the Blazers told another, more important one Friday night.

Though the outcome was never in doubt - Northern Garrett rushed for 375 yards and six touchdowns to build a 44-0 halftime lead on the way to a 50-14 win - how Clear Spring would respond to the adversity was in doubt.

Determined to make something good happen, the Blazers forced two turnovers and outscored the Huskies 14-8 in the second half and walked off the field with their heads held high.

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"We just wanted to come out that half and do something," Clear Spring defensive back Dan Jarvis said. "The overall team did real good in the second half."

"We've been telling them about having fun, and that's the main thing," Clear Spring coach John Wilson said. "They have a three-day weekend to rest, and hopefully they come back saying they had fun and they want to improve."

Northern Garrett senior Michael Wolfe - who rushed for 1,602 yards last year - had 161 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries, while Tyler Warn had 100 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and added a 78-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the game's final play for the Huskies.

Clear Spring had a few memorable moments in its return to high school football.

· On the Blazers' first possession, sophomore Derrick Dyer fielded the kickoff, took a couple steps to his right and found a seam for a 44-yard return into Huskies' territory.

"When I saw the hole open up, I though it would go the whole way. It closed up pretty quick," Dyer said.

· After a tough first half in which he went 0-for-6 with two interceptions, Blazers quarterback Tyler Braithwaite found Donnie Lapole in the end zone for Clear Spring's first pass completion and touchdown, a 16-yard strike with 4:04 left in the third quarter.

Lapole leaped above two defenders to make a juggling grab.

"I looked and didn't see much at first, then saw him alone and let it fly," Braithwaite said. "He got to it and made it happen."

"I see Tyler rolling out and 100 guys are on his back," Lapole said. "I saw the ball was up in the air and I went up and got it. I bobbled it, but it came down in my hands."

· Ryan Byers, who was moved to outside linebacker from his inside spot on last year's JV team, put a solid lick on Huskies running back Mitch Fost, forcing a fumble which Jarvis recovered in the fourth quarter. The fumble led to a six-play, 68-yard drive - highlighted by a 33-yard pass from Braithwaite to Lapole and finished by Braithwaite 1-yard run.

"I was playing a position I never even played before, but Coach told me to go play some football," Byers said. "I was fired up and wanted to hit somebody."

"I was surprised we did as well as we did," Dyer said. "A lot of these kids never played football before so it turned out pretty well."

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