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Hubs hit stride to slam Leopards

September 30, 2006|by MARK KELLER

Take heart, Smithsburg. You're not alone.

Every other team in the MVAL Antietam will ponder the same question when facing North Hagerstown the rest of this season: How do we stop every one of their athletes?

The Leopards found there are no easy answers to that inquiry as six different Hubs found the end zone in a 53-7 victory at School Stadium on Friday night.

"Their athletes made a couple of big plays out of nothing and they just keep coming at you in waves," Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "They pushed us around like big schools are supposed to do.

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"They're the Middletown of the Antietam."

It didn't take long for the Hubs (2-2, 1-0) to make something out of nothing. Just two minutes into the game, after North held Smithsburg short of a first down on a third-and-3 play, Marcellus Sumlin received a punt at the Hubs 25 and appeared as if he would be held to a modest 6-yard return.

But Sumlin, with three Smithsburg players draped on his back, kept churning his legs until he broke free, going 75 yards to give North a 6-0 lead.

The Leopards (2-2, 0-1) bounced right back and got great field position, thanks to a 52-yard kickoff return by Joey Cacciola. A 20-yard bootleg by quarterback Kevan Schellenberg on fourth-and-3 moved the ball to the North 2.

"We had a miscommunication and the quarterback got outside and made a nice run," North coach Dan Cunningham said. "They had a good game plan that was working on us early on."

Schellenberg finished the drive with a 1-yard plunge three plays later. Tommy Morrisey added the point-after to give the Leopards a 7-6 lead.

Smithsburg's defense forced punts on North's next two possessions, but the Hubs started to break it open midway through the second quarter.

North took over at midfield following a short Smithsburg punt. On first down, Mike McMillan took the handoff on a counter play and dashed through the secondary before being taken out of bounds at the Smithsburg 4. Diez Johnson gave North a 12-7 lead on the next play.

After forcing another three-and-out, North again took possession around midfield. Johnson ran for 11 yards, Sumlin ran for 14 and 7 and caught a pass for 24 yards and Kelso kept the ball after a fake handoff and ran around left end for a 7-yard touchdown and a 19-7 lead at the half.

"(Sumlin) is playing the slot, he's playing split end, he's playing tailback ... but the kids are so unselfish, checking in and out of the game, thanking the line, always giving the line credit," Cunningham said. "Johnson ran the ball 60 times this year before he got his first two touchdowns tonight. They're not out there looking for stats. They're in it for the team."

The second half started like the first ended for the Hubs. On their first play from scrimmage, Johnson was stuffed for an apparent 2-yard gain by no fewer than six Smithsburg defenders. When the whistle was finally blown, Johnson had carried those defenders another eight yards, diving forward for a first down.

Jarell Hasan scored twice in the second half for the Hubs - once on a 15-yard pass from Kelso that was tipped in the air by Smithsburg's Josh Bodine, and again on a 75-yard punt return in the fourth quarter in which he started left, hit the brakes and wheeled around to the right and outran the Leopards.

Justin Donaldson carried four times for 56 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 42-yard touchdown. Vernon Valentine returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

The Leopards gained 141 yards on the ground, led by Chad Brown's 61 on 17 carries.

Notes: Lance Cpl. Jonathan Breehl, a former Hubs player who was injured Sept. 14 in Iraq while participating in a patrol, was recognized and received a large ovation from North and Smithsburg fans alike during the game. The U.S. Marine, who is now assigned to six months of limited duty, was the guest of honor at North's pregame dinner.

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