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Jefferson makes the most of Musselman's gifts

September 30, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Jefferson and Musselman showed perfect football etiquette on Friday, if there is such a thing.

The Applemen were the perfect guest, giving house-warming gifts, and the Cougars graciously accepted them and used them to their fullest.

Musselman provided Jefferson with prime field position on four different occasions, and the Cougars cashed in on each to score a 29-10 Homecoming victory.

"That's the name of the game in high school football," Jefferson coach Richard Mills said. "We took advantage of what they gave us."

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In some cases, Musselman's presents were subtle. The others were obvious.

The Cougars used a kickoff that went out of bounds, a short punt, an interception they returned to the 1-yard line and a creative punt return to get all the field position it needed. Add to it a couple of key penalties by the Applemen and strong defense by the Cougars, and Jefferson had all it needed to pull off the victory.

"That's the way our season has gone," Musselman coach Denny Price said. "We haven't been able to shake it and things happen. We're in the game and then we are out of it. We found ways to hurt ourselves."

Musselman (1-5, 0-2) stayed in step with Jefferson. The Applemen held tailback Ryland Newman in check, allowing him just one run of more than 15 yards en route to his 90-yard night. Newman did manage a 20-yard sweep for a touchdown to give the Cougars a 15-3 lead in the second quarter.

Instead, Jefferson used a more diverse running attack, featuring quarterback Jonathan Hash, who rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns.

"We tried to hit the places where we found things," Mills said. "Ryland has been off some because of injuries. It's a shame because of this being his senior year, but we hope the second half will be a better (half) for him. The other kids have stepped up while he's been injured. Jonathan is a tough competitor."

Musselman, which has switched to a vertical passing game after decades of running the Wing-T, came out shooting against Jefferson.

The Applemen took the opening kickoff and moved quickly down the field, largely on a 34-yard Ethan French-to-Ryan Trochimowicz pass play.

The drive stalled, but Musselman got a 41-yard field goal from Corey Smith to take a 3-0 lead.

"That's the way we have started every game, except Keyser," Price said. "Then, we help our opponent."

Smith followed by booting the kickoff out of bounds to give Jefferson the ball at its 35. It took three plays for the Cougars to score - two quick runs by Newman, before Hash busted a keeper play up the middle for a 46-yard TD and a 7-3 lead with 8:08 remaining in the first quarter.

Later, Smith shanked a punt to put Jefferson in business on the Musselman 48. The Cougars methodically moved down the field until Newman broke off his 20-yard sweep for the score on the second play of the second quarter.

Musselman got to within 15-10 with a 37-yard drive capped by Shontel Jackson's dive from the 4 for a score.

Andrew Clark picked off a French pass at the Musselman 18 late in the third quarter and returned it to the 1. Three plays later, Hash burrowed in from the 1 for a 22-10 lead.

Jefferson's final score was set up after a 32-yard punt return by Justin Grantham. An unsportsmanlike conduct call on the Applemen brought the Cougars down to the goal line, where Hash found Richard Hosby for a 2-yard scoring pass on fourth down.

Jefferson held Mussleman to 146 yards of offense, including just 5 of 21 passing for 93 yards. Jackson managed just 53 yards rushing on 14 tries. The Applemen had just 22 yards in the second half.

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