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'Snakebit'South drops to 0-3

September 22, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

South Hagerstown showed a good grasp of its offense on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the Rebels never seemed to have a good grasp on the football.

And that cost South any chance of grabbing hold of a victory. The Rebels wilted under the pressure of clutch situations and opened the door for three short South Carroll scoring drives as the Cavaliers took advantage of the hospitality for a 28-7 win at School Stadium.

South Hagerstown lost two of six fumbles, had two passes intercepted and came up on the short end of a bad snap for a punt in the end zone to self-destruct, despite outgaining the Cavs, 221-194.

"Got a knife to get rid of this venom? We're snakebit," said South Hagerstown coach Greg Kellick. "I said before the game last week, 'All the bounces seemed to go to Walkersville (the previous week). They say they have a habit of evening out.' We're still waiting.

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"We got better this week, but we put the ball on the ground six times. Even though we only lost two, to go with the interceptions and the bad snap are all plays where we can't keep the momentum and sustain drives."

It all started happening before there was any momentum to get.

South Carroll booted the opening kickoff to Tony Bender, who fielded the ball only to fumble. South Carroll's Phil Curley fell on it to give the Cavaliers the ball at the South 33.

Quarterback David Ringold hit three straight passes - the third a 5-yard curl to Evan Dayhoff, who ran against the grain of the defense to complete a 25-yard score - to give the Cavs a quick 7-0 lead.

It was all South Carroll mustered against the Rebels' defense, which stymied the Cavs' running attack and controlled their passing game.

South Hagerstown blew its chance to tie the game at the end of a five-minute march to the goal line. On a third-and-goal at the 1, quarterback Jason Waybright mishandled the snap and lost the fumble to South Carroll.

"It's like when we get to crucial times, we mess up," Kellick said. "Is it because we aren't composed enough in those situations? I don't know. Maybe we have to press them more with those in practice."

South Carroll took the 7-0 lead in at halftime, despite having just 59 yards of offense, including a minus-1 on the ground.

The strategic battle continued in the second half, with Adam Largent intercepting a Ringold pass at the South 6 to thwart a drive.

South went three plays and out, losing a yard to set up the punt at the 5. Kicker Zeke Ricketts was forced to leap in the back of the end zone to save the ball and scrambled to avoid a safety and try for the first down. The Cavaliers pulled him down at the 15, just inches short of moving the chains.

"It came down to two plays - the fumble and the bad punt snap," Kellick said. "Normally, I would feel good in that situation. Zeke punts the ball pretty good and the defense is playing well. We get the bad snap and we gave them the ball on the 15 when we were only down 7-0."

South Carroll scored five plays later on a Ringold 1-yard sneak to take a 14-0 lead. He completed South Carroll's only sustained drive on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 31-yard pass to Matt Rennie and hit Dayhoff with a 13-yard strike for a 28-0 lead to finish 30-yard drive after getting the ball on downs.

The Rebels countered late as Brock Jamison bulled around right end for 7 yards with 2:25 remaining to put South on the scoreboard.

The Rebels held their own in the statistical battle, but lost the ball and the game.

"When it came to crunch time, we made mistakes," Kellick said. "I really don't have any answers."

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