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Hubs power past Leopards

October 01, 2005|By TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

North Hagerstown had a variety of tools to work with entering its Monocacy Valley Athletic League opener at Smithsburg on Friday night.

Physical tools came with the return of quarterback Logan Kelso and running back Marcus Scott to the lineup.

Psychological tools came in the form of the Hubs being made underdogs by "Big Sydney" and the majority of The Herald-Mail's Fearless Forecasters.

It all led to a 453-yard offensive explosion, unlike the past two weeks when the Hubs were decimated with injuries. With Kelso and Scott in stride and getting support from a host of others, North Hagerstown broke away from a 13-13 first-period tie to thwart Smithsburg 48-13 in an MVAL Antietam contest.

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"The last two years were successful and this year we lose two games and it seems our support fell," said North coach Danny Cunningham. "We used (being an underdog) as motivation."

Kelso, injured two weeks ago against Frederick, returned to the lineup and kept the Hubs' multi-faceted offense in stride.

Scott, at about 80 percent after a hip flexor injury, scored his first two touchdowns of the year and rushed for 160 yards on 10 carries, reading open holes established by North's offensive line.

With Lamar Harris out of the lineup with an ankle injury sustained last week, Josh Talbert got into the act for the Hubs against his former teammates and ran for 125 yards on 17 carries and one score.

"It's good to get back and to get some of our tools back," said Kelso. "I think this was the first time this year we played together as a team. It's almost like you didn't know who was going to be able to run the ball, but we had two of them tonight."

Smithsburg (0-4, 0-1) drew first blood after stopping North at its own 19-yard line when Andrew Bohan lofted a pass that found Dustin Mitchell in stride on a fly pattern at the North 45. Mitchell scampered the remaining distance for a 7-0 lead with 7:39 left in the first quarter.

North (2-2, 1-0) answered with a 65-yard drive, finished by a 9-yard pass from Kelso to Mike McMillan at the 3:59 mark for the Hubs' first touchdown since their opener, but Smithsburg still led when the extra-point try failed.

Little more than one minute later, on the third play of the Leopards' next possession, Justin Thompson used two key blocks around right end for a 46-yard scoring run and a 13-6 lead.

As the quarter drew to a close, Scott scored on a draw play from 43 yards out and Chris Reid's kick tied it at 13-13.

The turning point came midway in the second period on a Smithsburg punt attempt. Joey Caciola, subbing for the inactive Matt Thompson, was ruled down as he tried to field an errant snap on his own 21.

On North's first play, Talbert ran 16 yards and fumbled, but teammate Richie Baymon was in the right spot, picking up the football at the 5 and running in for a 20-13 lead that was never relinquished.

North scored in the third period on a 6-yard run by Dink Snowden, who took a direct snap from center.

Three scores in the fourth period punctuated the victory, as Talbert scored from 6 yards, Scott rolled in from 37 yards and backup QB Mike Twigg added a 4-yarder in the waning moments.

Smithsburg mustered 143 yards offensively in the first period, but the Leopards were held to 56 yards the rest of the way.

"I thought our defense played real well," said Kelso.

The Hubs finished with 393 yards rushing and Kelso passed for 60, completing 7 of 14 attempts with one interception.

"Without Harris, it was still nice to be able to shuffle four backs," said Cunningham. "The offensive line did a great job of zone blocking."

Smithsburg, which coughed up three fumbles, was led by Thompson's 102 yards rushing on 21 carries.

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