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Slo-motivated

October 16, 2004|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

The play of the South Hagerstown football team in the first and second halves of Friday's game against Williamsport was as different as black and white.

Apparently, it took a little colorful language on the part of Rebels coach Greg Kellick to achieve that contrast.

"The only thing I'm going to say about what I said at halftime is that I'm not going to say what I said," Kellick said after the Rebels shook off a sluggish first half to beat the Wildcats 25-7 in an MVAL Antietam game at School Stadium.

South held Williamsport to 86 yards total offense - including just 34 in the second half - while rolling up 266 yards of its own.

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Allen Daniels ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns, while backup quarterback Tim Poppen threw two touchdown passes in the second half for the Rebels (5-2, 4-0).

But it was what happened - or didn't happen - in the first half that had Kellick steamed in the locker room at the break.

"They got their wake-up call. (Williamsport was) beating us off the ball, they were fired up," Kellick said. "I think they just went out and played like they were capable of playing."

Whatever Kellick said could not have been good, based on the performance the Rebels gave in the first half. Williamsport was content to play a field position game, pinning South deep in its own end to start each of its offensive drives.

The Rebels picked up seven first downs in the first half, but were forced to punt three times, turned the ball over on downs once and threw an interception with 1 minute remaining in the second quarter - all against a Williamsport defense that was allowing over 42 points per game.

Just before halftime, Williamsport's Justin Bussard intercepted Mark Bryan's pass near midfield and returned it to the South 25-yard line.

Three plays later, Wildcats quarterback Ben Vatavuk found Ryan Lee in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass, ending Williamsport's scoreless streak just short of 20 quarters. Lee kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

"We played well in the first half against Frankfort, but this was a better half," Williamsport coach Adrian Custer said. "We practiced hard for this week and came out ready to play. We played a tough first half and into the third quarter."

But the momentum turned quickly in the third quarter. Williamsport (0-7, 0-4) went three-and-out on its first series and dropped Lee back in punt formation. Tim Parks charged through the center of the Williamsport line and blocked Lee's kick, giving South its first favorable field position at the Wildcats 41.

Daniels rumbled for 15 yards on third-and-3 and Jimbo Harmon went off tackle for 13 yards to the Williamsport 1. Daniels punched it in two plays later, but Lee blocked the point after to keep the Wildcats ahead, 7-6.

"(Lee) was one of our captains this week and he's one of those kids that just doesn't give up," Custer said. "He's a ballplayer. I can't give him enough credit."

South's defense held again, but this time poor field position didn't bother the Rebels. Starting at their own 26, it took just three plays for them to find the end zone as Bryan scrambled for 17 yards and a first down and Daniels broke free for a 56-yard score and a 12-7 South lead.

Another South defensive hold and another blocked punt - this one by Harmon - led to another South score. The Rebels drove to the Williamsport 10 where, on fourth-and-9, Bryan pitched to Poppen, who was lined up as a tailback. Poppen found Ronald Jackson for a touchdown and a 19-7 South lead.

Poppen connected with Michael Dunham for a 20-yard score on South's next drive to close the scoring.

"Sometimes the kids get mad at themselves for not playing well, just like I get mad if I make a mistake," Kellick said. "The thing about tonight was that we faced advsersity and we bounced back from it. We haven't had to do that yet this year and we found out tonight that we can do it."

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