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South's 'D' solid, 'O' not in loss

September 09, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

WALKERSVILLE, Md. - South Hagerstown will spend plenty of time this week in practice working on its offense. Much of its preseason work was geared toward taking a more aggressive defensive approach.

The Rebels rolled off the bus, into the locker room and onto the playing field 20 minutes before the scheduled kickoff. It took much less time than that for South to score its first touchdown, but Walkersville came back to deal the Rebels a 19-6 loss on opening night.

Of Walkersville's 38 rushing attempts, 18 went for 1 yard or less, including 13 runs for losses. South allowed only 15 total yards in the second half. But offensively, the Rebels gained only 123 yards after their opening drive.

"I'm not happy with the final score, but I'm proud of the defensive effort," said South coach Greg Kellick. "We wanted to be a more aggressive defensive team."

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What the Rebels will decide on soon is their offensive package - either the option or I set.

The Rebels used Jason Waybright in a starting role, and Wes Samples saw plenty of action. Waybright completed 3 of 4 passes, Samples 2 of 10, and both threw an interception.

"We want to focus on one (quarterback)," said Kellick. "Jason was here in the system last year and knows the plays. (Samples) can throw the football. He got a taste of things tonight."

"As a staff, we need to decide whether we run the option or I-formation," Kellick said.

Following the opening kickoff, South's defense stopped two Walkersville runs for negative yardage and held on a third-down pass play before a 25-yard punt gave the Rebels the football at Walkersville's 48.

On his first varsity carry, junior Eric Phillips ran 31 yards. He added a 2-yard run before 5-foot-4 senior Tony Bender ran right beind his blockers and galloped 15 yards to paydirt and a 6-0 lead 3:10 into the game.

Walkersville put together a 6-play, 62-yard drive with Ryan Joyce scoring from 6 yards out with 2:04 left in the first period, all set up by Christian Little's 37-yard run in which he broke four South tackles. The extra point by Brandon Vickers gave the Lions a 7-6 lead.

On the ensuing possession, a potential two-touchdown swing went against the Rebels.

After the defense stopped Walkersville on the Rebels 17, South began a drive that included a first down with less than one minute remaining in the first half.

On a 2nd-and-5 from the South 33, Waybright's pass was intercepted by Walkersville's Troy Hubbard at the Lions 41.

Following an incomplete pass to the left side, Walkersville went wide right on a sweep with Little taking a quick pitchout and rolling 59 yards for six points with 20 seconds left.

"That's maybe a 14-point swing and the key point of the game," said Kellick. "I should have called for a run instead of throwing ... that's a coaching mistake.

"I'm not surprised (Walkersville) ran the football after that pass. Our defensive end on that side of the sweep needs to react."

Walkersville's touchdown in the third period was set up by a South miscue. On a reverse, Zeke Ricketts was sandwiched by several Lions and lost a fumble, picked up by the Lions' Tyler Roberts and returned 30 yards to the Rebels 3, from where Dino Brown promptly scored on the next play.

South had opportunities to narrow the gap, but another lost fumble and an interception - both in the early stages of the fourth period - negated any comeback.

Bender, who Kellick said will "be one of the best backs in the area" following the game, had 49 yards rushing for South. Phillips added 47 yards, most of it on his opening rush.

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