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Cadets' march gets halted

October 15, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

FREDERICK, Md. - Urbana knows what it is all about to go undefeated. Frederick will have to wait until another time.

In Thursday's high-energy battle of 6-0 MVAL Chesapeake Conference powers, Urbana put the first notch in Frederick's loss column with a 29-16 decision in front of a crowd that might well have been one of the biggest ever at Cadet Field.

"This was the biggest game I've coached since I've been here," said Frederick coach Vince Ahern, in his ninth season.

Starting the year out 6-0 for the first time since 1968, Frederick was hoping to build a solid advantage toward securing a home-field berth in the state playoffs, but that might have been dimmed.

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Urbana, holder of four consecutive state 3A titles and a 50-game winning streak from 1998-2001, also maintained its unbeaten mastery over the Cadets with its eighth straight win.

A rosey beginning for the Cadets turned cautious in Frederick's first two possessions.

Brian Lanning ran 55 yards on an option pitch from quarterback Cory Rhodes just under three minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead.

During Frederick's next drive that ended with Andrew Goodwin's 36-yard field goal on the first play of the second period, Lanning went down with a knee injury following a pass reception that would eventually hurt the Cadet defense more than the offense.

Urbana immediately took advantage of Lanning's absence in the defensive secondary and the Hawks' quarterback Mike Murray engineered a seven-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard score to 6-foot-4 Ricky Berard, working against shorter Cadet defenders.

"Lanning's injury wasn't the difference ... the secondary was an issue as a whole," said Ahern, forced to use shorter defenders against the taller Hawks' receivers.

Murray's receivers were running short curls and slants and Murray got the Hawks on top at the 7:10 mark of the third period with a 39-yard strike to Jimmy Roche and a 14-10 lead.

Frederick managed to take a 16-14 lead with 9:10 left in the game when Bruce Dorsey bulled in from five yards to finish off a 72-yard play, but the worse was yet to come for the Cadets.

Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Murray hooked up with Berard for a 56-yard strike and a 22-16 Urbana lead after a two-point conversion.

After Frederick failed to produce a first down and punted, Urbana's Sean Alder, held in check most of the night, blitzed through the Cadet line for a 72-yard romp.

"We weren't getting the right coverage until the end of the game," Ahern said. "They ran a lot of underneath stuff and forced us off of them."

In his senior home finale, as the Cadets end the regular season with three road games, Rhodes finished 19 of 33 for 243 yards including six completions to Goodwin. Dorsey had 87 yards rushing on 20 efforts for the Cadets.

Murray's aerial show produced 261 yards on 14 of 26.

"It's been seven grueling weeks," Ahern said. "We've got three more games and maybe we'll see Urbana again. This (loss) might help ... sometimes you have to get knocked down."

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