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Hedgesville's defense finally shines

October 13, 2007|By MARK KELLER

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. ? The Hedgesville defense has had little opportunity to shine this season, having allowed an average of nearly 36 points per game through its first six games.

Finally on Friday, the Eagles defense got the chance to show off a little.

Hedgesville picked off four Musselman passes ? returning one for a touchdown ? and forced a crucial fumble early in the game as the Eagles celebrated a 15-3 Homecoming win over the Applemen at Mumaw Stadium.

"They did an awesome job defensively. I'm so proud of them," Hedgesville coach Dave Lopez said. "This has been coming. They were due to have a great game and they went out and did it tonight."

Adam Leonard had two interceptions and a fumble recovery and Jay Parks and Ben Adams each had an interception for the Eagles.

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The statistics show that Musselman (3-5) gained 113 yards more than Hedgesville in the game, but they also ran nearly twice as many offensive plays. The Applemen moved the ball inside the Hedgesville 25-yard line five times and managed only one field goal ? a 37-yarder by Corey Smith in the second quarter.

"If you look at it, there was always a penalty in there or we did something that took away those scoring opportunities," Musselman coach Denny Price said. "We had plenty of opportunities to put points on the board, we just couldn't get it in the end zone."

One of the few times Musselman did not move the ball into Hedgesville territory was at the start of the second quarter. On a third-down play from their own 19, Applemen quarterback Brandon Michael threw a sideline pass that Parks jumped perfectly, intercepting it and returning it 34 yards for a score. Taylor Hockman connected with Scott Keifer for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Hedgesville lead.

Hedgesville's Chris Robinson carried five times for 26 yards before the half, but on the first play of the second half, he found the hole he was looking for the entire first half.

Sweeping to the right, Robinson hit the opening and never looked back, going 80 yards for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 15-3 lead.

"Just an unimaginably wide hole," Robinson said when asked what he saw on the play. "It's the best feeling when you see a hole open up like that in a game."

Musselman's Cody Petry must have seen a hole something like that in the first quarter. With the ball on the Applemen 48 on the opening drive of the game, Petry ran a reverse to the right side, caught one block and was headed for the end zone.

But Petry was pulled down from behind at the 2, fumbling the ball into the end zone in the process, where it was recovered by Leonard for a touchback.

"To me, that was the turning point in the game," Lopez said. "We didn't hang our heads, we got down there and caused the fumble and kept them from scoring."

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