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Hubs still have Rebels' number

November 06, 2004|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

The North Hagerstown football team defines its defense as "one heart."

"It's 11 hearts beating as one," linebacker Dean Staley said. "We keep everyone together and feed off each other's excitement."

The heart of North Hagerstown was beating in perfect rhythm Friday night as the Hubs put a beating on South Hagerstown 39-0 at School Stadium to win the 48th meeting between the city rivals.

The Hubs (9-1, 7-0), who also sewed up their second consecutive MVAL Antietam Conference title, held South to 36 total yards on offense and just two first downs in what might have been the most dominant performance by one team in the history of the series.

"They whipped us up front," South coach Greg Kellick said. "Anybody who saw the game knows there's not much to say. They just took it to us."

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Leon Finley ran for 119 yards and a touchdown, while Robbie Thompson and Logan Kelso combined for 137 yards and three TDs through the air.

North, which had already clinched a berth in the Maryland Class 2A West playoffs, will play Francis Scott Key in the region semifinals next week, though the site of that game is still to be determined.

The Rebels (5-5, 4-3) allowed 11 points per game through the first nine games of the season, but gave up 16 in the second period alone to the Hubs.

And with the offense unable to break the heart of the North defense, the game quickly turned into a blowout - the third straight in the series.

"The defense was huge tonight," North coach Dan Cunningham said. "They set the tone early. Any time you can get the field position in your favor, it's real easy to put points on the board."

The Hubs marched 69 yards in 11 plays on the opening possession of the game, with Matt Ridenour running 11 yards up the middle for a touchdown.

The South defense held North on its next drive, stopping the Hubs short on a fourth-and-11 play at the Rebels 30-yard line.

South took its best shot on offense after that, as Jimbo Harmon went off tackle for 17 yards to move the ball to midfield. On a fourth-and-2 play, quarterback Mark Bryan scrambled for an apparent first down to keep the drive alive. But a holding call negated the run and the Rebels were forced to punt.

South's only other first down of the game came on a 10-yard run by Allen Daniels on the final play of the first half.

"We knew (Daniels) was a strong runner and that we needed to hit him low," Staley said. "We had to keep them contained."

Containment - or lack thereof - proved to be the problem for the South defense. Of course, the Hubs contributed to that with their seemingly endless array of backs.

Nine different players carried the ball for North and two others caught passes, including Darail Porter who hauled in five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.

"Give them credit, they played well tonight, just like a good playoff team should," Kellick said. "They ran the ball right at us."

Finley recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing game for the Hubs and Brent Toms kicked a pair of field goals, including a school-record 45-yarder that gave the Hubs a 10-0 lead in the second quarter and started the scoring onslaught.

"It came off my foot sweet ... sweet as butter," said Toms, who uncharacteristically missed three field goals last week against Smithsburg. "I worked a lot this week and was kicking pretty well in practice."

Later in the second period, Thompson perfectly executed a screen pass to Staley, who went untouched 16 yards for a touchdown.

Finley added a 1-yard scoring run with 28 seconds left in the first half as the Hubs took a 23-0 lead at the break.

"Finley's been running the ball really well lately," Cunningham said. "He was banged up a little in the middle of the season but he's come back strong. He runs very hard and he's tough to bring down."

Kelso came on midway through the third quarter and threw two passes - one to Quielan Gantt for a 63-yard touchdown and one to Darail Porter for an 11-yard score.

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