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Cadets end Hubs' playoff hopes

November 03, 2007|By Mark Keller

FREDERICK, Md. - To say the North Hagerstown football team faced an uphill battle in order to qualify for the postseason is an understatement. The Hubs needn't look beyond their 0-5 start to understand why.

Even after winning their last three games, North still faced the daunting task of playing at Frederick, which had yet to lose a game on the field this season.

Anything other than a win would end the Hubs' playoff hopes.

And they nearly pulled it off. But Frederick - the No. 19 team in Maryland - got one big offensive play and two key defensive stands in the fourth quarter Friday to hold off North 18-10 to win the MVAL Piedmont Conference title.

"I think our kids really played their butts off," North coach Dan Cunningham said. "They did everything we asked them to do, we had a good game plan ... we were just a little undermanned tonight. We were undersized big-time, but we never hung our heads. We played with them the entire game."

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Unable to sustain drives consistently on the ground, the Hubs (3-6, 2-1) took to the air in the second half. Quarterback Bryan Calendine completed five straight passes after halftime, scrambling out of the pocket to buy time for receivers - who, in turn, took some big hits while making the catches.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, with Frederick leading 12-3, Calendine rolled to his left to avoid the rush, then threw back across the field. Mike McMillan cut back on his route and made a diving catch for a first down at the Cadets 35.

Two plays later, Calendine let fly again and connected with McMillan for a 32-yard touchdown. Chase Worthington added the PAT to pull the Hubs within 12-10.

Frederick (8-1, 4-0) ran the ball well against the Hubs all night, gaining 233 yards on 40 carries. But on the possession following the Hubs' score, the Cadets went to the air, as well.

Two incomplete passes and a false start penalty had Frederick facing third-and-15 at their own 43. Quarterback Andre April threw again, this time hitting Hank Adams for a 32-yard gain to the Hubs 25. April completed only 3 of 14 passes for 46 yards and was intercepted twice.

"That kind of broke our backs," Cunningham said. "We needed to have that one."

Four plays later, Josh Jackson scored from the 8 for an 18-10 margin.

The Hubs had two more chances before the clock ran out. Calendine's fourth-down pass to the end zone intended for Alec Nelson was tipped away at the last moment by a Frederick defender.

After Brent Bell forced a fumble that was recovered by Anthony Lee with 1:20 left, Calendine was twice dropped for losses and threw an incomplete pass. A double pass on fourth down was broken up and the Cadets ran out the clock.

Calendine threw for 150 yards. McMillan had five catches for 88 yards.

"We've learned a lot this year, and we're real proud of these guys," Cunningham said. "The way they've overcome adversity ... you can' ask for much more."

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