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Hubs ground Eagles

September 11, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - North Hagerstown turned its football game at Hedgesville into a yard sale.

Quielan Gantt picked up three gems. Lamar Harris grabbed a nice second half and the Hubs' offensive line picked up some prime real estate as North found a bargain of a victory with a 38-8 decision over the Eagles.

Gantt caught three touchdowns on slant patterns, Harris rushed for a game-high 91 yards - all in the second half - and the line took total control of the line of scrimmage as North turned a 14-0 halftime cliffhanger into a 35-point advantage in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the second half.

"We were unfocused at the start but we weathered the storm in the first half," North coach Dan Cunningham said. "This team is very explosive with a lot of weapons in the skilled positions and the defense is solid."

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Gantt scored on catches of 34 and 22 yards in North's lethargic first half and added a tough 11-yard grab while being hit at the goal line for his three scores.

"(Going for the slants) was our plan," said Gantt, who was playing with a broken right thumb. "We were practicing it a lot because we saw the safety was cheating over and wasn't rotating back."

Hedgesville held North to 89 yards in the first half as the Hubs scored in the final six seconds to get the 14-point halftime lead.

"I think everyone sees our roster and thinks it's going to be an easy game because it's half sophomores," Hedgesville coach Dave Lopez said. "It was 7-0 and they scored with six seconds left on a freak play. We were physical on defense but didn't execute on offense. It was the worst execution of the year."

The Eagles managed just 72 yards in the first half and 133 yards in the game as North kept Hedgesville in check for all but one play.

That didn't happen, though, until Harris and the Hubs' offensive line took over.

Harris, who ran the ball just three times in last week's opening win, didn't touch the ball until the second play of the second half. The junior rushed for 54 of North's 65-yard opening drive of the second half. Leon Finley capped the march by pouncing on a fumble in the end zone for the score and a 21-0 lead.

"Lamar is up from the JVs where he rushed for 1,400 yards last year," Cunningham said. "He's really tough to bring down despite his 6-foot-2 frame. He is hard-nosed and has a good forward lean. I think we wore them down in the second half. We are in pretty good condition and got to them."

North was able to hold up on a Mumaw Stadium field which had the consistency of mashed potatoes since it was ravaged by President Bush's recent visit. But the Hubs got a little inspiration at halftime too.

"Coach talked to us at the half and got us pumped," Gantt said.

"I'm sure they came in and talked to their kids at the half," Lopez said. "I know we were telling our kids we had to score but they probably said (we) weren't going to lay down for (them)."

North scored on its next two possessions on a 4-yard run by Matt Ridenour and Gantt's third score, this one from backup quarterback Logan Kelso, who replaced an injured Robby Thompson in the third quarter. Thompson was sidelined after being hit in the back.

Hedgesville broke the shutout with 10:27 remaining when Michael Lopez hit Mark Manspile on a 23-yard pass and then ran for the conversion to cut the deficit to 35-8.

Brent Toms capped the scoring with a 29-yard field goal.

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