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Fumble return sparks Hubs

November 12, 2005|By MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

In football, one play seldom wins or loses a game.

One play can, however, turn the tide of a game.

The North Hagerstown Hubs can attest to that. Cadyn Robinson's 78-yard fumble return for a touchdown halted a possible go-ahead scoring drive by the Rebels and opened the floodgates for North, which scored four straight touchdowns and beat South 42-15 in the Hagerstown Gridiron Championship Classic at School Stadium.

The win helped the Hubs even two records - their final season record at 5-5 and the series record against South at 24-24-1 - and turn the page on a chapter in Hagerstown history as they likely played their final "home" game at School Stadium.

Robinson's recovery of an errant pitchout by South quarterback Marcellus Sumlin turned the momentum in the Hubs' favor and put the Rebels (1-9, 1-6 MVAL Antietam), who had been playing with a confidence they rarely showed this season, back on their heels.

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"We felt really good about the way things were going and then that play really just took the wind out of our sails," South coach Greg Kellick said. "We picked one of those bounces early in the game and got a first down out of it. But that's the way it goes."

Robinson's touchdown with just over 3 minutes gone in the second half gave North (5-5, 4-3) a 21-9 lead and served as a springboard for the Hubs' offense.

"(Robinson's) play was huge. The defense really played well tonight," North coach Dan Cunningham said. "We've put them in bad situations from the offensive side at times this year, but they gave us a big lift when we needed it."

North had good field position following a short South punt, and Diez Johnson, a sophomore transfer from South, took two plays to find the end zone.

Johnson was stopped for a 2-yard gain on first down from the South 47, but bounced off two defenders on second down and broke free for a 45-yard TD.

The Rebels had another drive cut short inside North territory as Tommy Evans intercepted Sumlin for the second time. Five plays later, North quarterback Logan Kelso connected with Dee Mency for a 76-yard touchdown pass and a 28-9 lead.

Kelso and Mency also hooked up for a 34-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Mency finished with 130 yards receiving. Kelso threw for 157 yards to put him over 1,000 yards for the season.

The Hubs moved quickly to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter, employing a no-huddle offense in a 11-play, 53-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 2-yard scoring run by Lamar Harris.

South answered by moving the ball deep into North territory, getting a first-and-goal situation at the 9. But Dink Snowden sacked Sumlin for a 7-yard loss on first down and the Rebels had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Brock Jamison.

North took a 14-3 lead on Mency's first touchdown catch, but South battled right back. Sumlin caught the Hubs playing the run and connected with Pat Mertz for a 29-yard gain to the North 32. Three plays later, Sumlin did the job himself, running right on an option play, then reversing ground to the left and finding open space for a 23-yard touchdown.

"Coach (Craig) Bathgate was sending the linebackers tonight and we just got a little too aggressive at times," Cunningham said. "But I won't ever fault aggressiveness."

Tony Bender ran for 117 yards and a touchdown for the Rebels.

"I'm reall proud of the way they played. The juniors and seniors were telling me there were sophomores that needed to get in the game and I think every running back touched the ball tonight," Kellick said. "We're just a step away. This is something we can build on for next year."

Friday's game was being hailed as North's final "home" game at School Stadium, which is on the South Hagerstown campus but has been shared by both schools since 1957. North held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for Mike Callas Stadium, which will be built on North's campus. Plans are for the stadium to be completed before the 2006 fall athletic seasons begin.

North's public address announcer made several announcements during the game thanking South Hagerstown "for letting us use your stadium for the last 49 years." In addition to acknowledging North's new stadium, he congratulated South Hagerstown for finally getting a stadium all their own.

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