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Hancock blanks Blazers

September 17, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - Josh Ruppenthal worked over Clear Spring up the middle, Jaret Trail worked over the Blazers on the outside and Hancock's defense simply worked.

Add it all up, and the Panthers maintained their perfect record, shaking off a somewhat sluggish opening few minutes and rolling to a 36-0 shutout victory Thursday evening.

Ruppenthal, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound fullback, rushed for 133 yards on 17 carries and scored from 4 yards out for Hancock's first points in the first quarter and from 1 yard out in the third quarter for the Panthers' final score.

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Trail, Hancock's 5-11, 185 quarterback, scored twice in the second quarter - once from 17 yards on a rollout right, once from 71 yards on a rollout left on the final play of the first half - and for good measure hit Kenny Clark with a 44-yard TD strike down the left seam in the same quarter as the Panthers claimed a 30-0 halftime advantage. Trail finished with 108 rushing yards on nine carries and 61 passing yards, connecting on 2 of 3 passes.

"We have a good combo with Josh inside and Jaret outside working the perimeter," Hancock coach John Blake said.

Ryan Joy added a 12-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter for Hancock (3-0), which rolled up 312 rushing yards on 43 carries.

"We're physical up front," Blake said. "We had a size advantage and we wore them down."

Clear Spring (0-3) managed just 21 yards - including zero yards rushing on 19 attempts - and quarterback Tyler Braithwaite was intercepted four times, twice by Joel Barnhart and once each by Clark and Joy.

The Blazers' best offense was their kick returner, Derek Dyer, who had returns of 37 and 55 yards - the second after a nifty juke back to his left and up the sideline.

Braithwaite did hit Donnie Lapole with a 93-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but the play was called back because of offsetting penalties.

"We did some things right, but we're still making some mistakes that are leading into long plays," Blazers coach John Wilson said. "Lining up in the wrong formation, (errors in) gap responsibilities, little mistakes. I don't see them as growing pains, these are mental mistakes."

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