Area roundup - Panthers rock Rockwood

October 16, 2004


HANCOCK - In a game punctuated by big hits, numerous penalties and a half-dozen inspiring goal-line stands by both Hancock and Rockwood, it was a handful of big plays that turned a hard-fought first half Friday into a rout as the Panthers wore down the Rockets 42-0 at Paul Imphong Field.

Senior quarterback Kenny Clark, in only his second game at the helm of the Panthers' offense, threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns. But it was wingback Ryan Joy's 64-yard run on the first play of the second quarter that put the aggressive Rockets back on their heels.

"That about says it all," Rockets coach Jon Hale said. "After Hancock broke that first big play on us, we needed a morale boost but it just wasn't going to happen."

"We needed that run," Hancock coach John Blake said. "We really, really needed that run."

Rockwood (3-3) outplayed the Panthers for much of the first quarter, driving the ball inside the Hancock 5-yard line before the Panthers tightened up and took over on downs at their own three.


Hancock (6-1) stumbled through the remainder of the quarter, running only a dozen plays as Rockwood forced three punts.

But the second quarter became a nightmare of blown assignments and a showcase for the Panthers' athleticism as Hancock scored three times in just 23 plays. Joy caught a 4-yard touchdown pass at the 4-minute mark and senior fullback Josh Ruppenthal, bottled up all night, broke free on the left sideline and rumbled 84 yards for the Panthers' third touchdown with just under a minute left to play.

Ruppenthal, who ended the game with 124 yards on 17 carries, had just 19 yards on 10 carries before he broke his big run.

"We took advantage of a few mistakes and some great plays to gain a little control," Blake said. "They were really coming after us so we tried to take advantage of their hard rush."

The Rockets countered on offense with the hard inside punch of senior fullback Jeremy Romesberg and senior halfback Jon Hay. But for the most part, the Panthers defense began tightening up the middle, holding Hay to 26 yards and Romesberg to 38 yards.

The Panthers pulled steadily away in the second half. On Hancock's first drive on a third-and-9, tight end Jeff Willison slid behind the Rockets defense and scored on a 70-yard pass to put the Panthers up, 28-0.

Willison added a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter and finished with six catches for 105 yards.

"Trying to get back in the game limited us on what we could do," Hale said. "But I am proud of how hard they played up until the end."

"They play that typical rough and tumble brand of western Pennsylvania football," Blake said of Rockwood. "I think our kids got an education in toughness tonight."

- Bill Sterner

No. 3 North 40, Catoctin 13

THURMONT, Md. - Marcus Scott had 109 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries to lead North Hagerstown past Catoctin in MVAL Antietam action.

Dean Staley, Bernard Artillus and Leon Finley each ran for a touchdown for the Hubs (6-1, 4-0). Robbie Thompson completed 8 of 12 passes for 84 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown to Quielan Gantt.

Gantt and Artillus each intercepted a pass for the North defense. Staley had 15 tackles and Dink Snowden had two sacks.

Joe Rakoski ran for two touchdowns for Catoctin (1-6, 0-4).

Berkeley Springs 39, Frankfort 37

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Berkeley Springs squandered a 25-0 halftime lead and needed a Tony Belt touchdown run with less than two minutes left in the game to slip past Frankfort.

Belt finished with five touchdowns - three passing and two rushing. He connected with Ricky Kump for two touchdowns and Randy Waugh for the last. Waugh also ran for a touchdown.

After being held scoreless in the first half, the Falcons scored four straight touchdowns - three on Nathan Metz runs - after halftime for a 29-25 lead.

The Indians regained the lead when Belt found Waugh for 25 yards and a 31-29 lead with six minutes remaining.

After Frankfort came back with a Marcus Haines touchdown run, Belt drove Berkeley Springs down the field and capped the drive with the deciding touchdown with 1:38 left.

St. John's-PH 38, Maret 6

FREDERICK, Md. - Keith Ricca threw five first-half touchdowns - all to Max Morris - and completed 25 of 30 passes for 420 yards and St. John's at Prospect routed winless Maret.

Ricca found Morris for scores of 25, 25, 58, 15, and 2 yards and added an 18-yard strike to Scott Ritter in the third quarter. Morris finished with 11 catches for 217 yards, while Randal Smedley caught five for 86 yards for the Vikings (4-3).

Thomas Johnson 14, Middletown 12

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - Brad Betson rushed for a touchdown and passed for another as Thomas Johnson slipped past Middletown in an MVAL nonconference matchup.

Middletown got on the board first when Jeff O'Clair scored from 1 yard out.

Betson knotted the game at 7-7 with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

After a 37-yard field goal by Seth DeLauter, the Patrots (2-5) took the lead for good when Betson connected to Ben Hose for a 77-yard touchdown.

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