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Leopards don't want to remember Titans

September 24, 2005|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - The Tuscarora Titans ran for 168 yards in the first half Friday against Smithsburg, yet didn't have an offensive touchdown to show for it.

The halftime adjustment coach Shawn Carey made?

Run the ball more.

The Titans, holding just a seven-point lead at the break, kept the ball on the ground in the second half, wearing down the Leopards and scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 28-0 victory and record the first shutout in the program's history.

"We know if we can keep it close in the first half that we can wear people down in the second half," Carey said.

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Cruz Mannherz did the majority of the work for the Titans in the decisive third period, carrying the ball on 11 of Tuscarora's 15 plays from scrimmage and scoring on runs of 13 and 15 yards.

Mannherz finished with 145 yards, thanks in large part to the playcalling of quarterback Chris Castro.

"That was all Chris. I like Kenny White running the ball, but Chris saw what was opening up for Cruz," Carey said. "(Castro) knows the offense as well as I do. His eyes on the field are better than mine on the sideline trying to guess what to do."

The No. 3 Titans (3-0) took advantage of a short Smithsburg punt to get great field position at their own 44.

Mannherz carried eight times on a 10-play drive, breaking through for a 13-yard touchdown on a third-and-7 play to give the Titans a 14-0 lead.

That was a change from the first half, when the Titans twice moved the ball inside the Leopards 10 before coming up empty.

In fact, Smithsburg (0-3) was only one bad pass from leaving the field at halftime locked in a scoreless tie.

On the Leopards' second drive of the game, Andrew Bohan missed his receiver, throwing the ball directly to Tuscarora defensive back Mike Spielman, who returned the interception 29 yards for a touchdown.

But the Leopards' defense kept them in the game, stuffing the Titans when they needed to in the first half.

Mannherz, Castro and White marched the Titans down the field early in the second quarter, moving all the way to the Smithsburg 6. But Castro was dropped for a loss of three on a bootleg on third-and-4 and his fourth-down pass went incomplete when Mannherz, his intended receiver, fell in the end zone.

On the Titans' next drive, Mannherz broke runs of 16, 11 and 22 yards, moving Tuscarora to the Smithsburg 10. The Leopards stiffened again, however, and Castro again was unable to connect on fourth down.

"That's the best our defense has played all year," Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "We made some big stops in the first half, but they just wore us down physically as the game went on."

The Smithsburg offense, however, struggled to move against the Titans defense, managing just 51 rushing yards and 129 total yards.

Still, Orndorff said he's hopeful the Leopards can build off the strong first half as they enter MVAL Antietam play.

"I hope it builds their confidence. Tuscarora's a very good team, a 3A school, and we played them tough in the first half," Orndorff said. "We stung them and pounded them around for a little bit."

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