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A gridiron classic

South battles, but North wins

South battles, but North wins

November 10, 2007|By TIM KOELBLE

This one was different from the last four.

North Hagerstown had grown accustomed to easy wins over South Hagerstown, with the outcome often decided early.

On Friday night at misty Mike Callas Stadium, the Hubs initiated the North-South rivalry on home turf with a final verdict that wasn't decided until the final 38 seconds in a hard-fought 27-20 MVAL Piedmont victory.

The difference came in the red zone as South Hagerstown (1-9, 0-4) knocked on the Hubs' door three times without putting a point on the scoreboard.

"(South) got that first score and we knew we had to weather their storm of emotion and we did," said North coach Dan Cunningham. "(South) is a good team."

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The Rebels marched 78 yards in nine plays off the opening kickoff as Yannick Munday ran for 32 yards and Eric Phillips 23 to help set up a 7-yard run by Nick Gross on an inside reverse.

South missed a chance to jump up by two scores when North's Justin Donaldson fumbled the ensuing kickoff but the Rebels' offense failed.

The Hubs regained possession and marched 76 yards on seven plays, with Bryan Calendine hitting Mike McMillan on a 21-yard scoring play. Chase Worthington's PAT made it 7-6.

A 42-yard return by Jason Chase and a 15-yard penalty on North (4-6, 3-1) had the Rebels at the North 28, but the drive stalled at the 11.

"We had a lot of good opportunities in the first quarter," said South coach Greg Kellick. "Good teams close the door on their opponent and that's something we'll work on next year."

After the stop, North's offense rolled again with an 11-play, 89-yard drive that included a 22-yard pass from Calendine to Preston Button and two 12-yard runs by Anthony Lee. Diez Johnson scored from the 5 with 9:21 left in the first half to make it 14-6. It was the 20th career rushing touchdown for Johnson, tying a school record.

North made it 21-6 with a 73-yard drive in 10 plays, as Calendine hit Button for 16 yards, followed by a run for 10 yards on a rollout on third-and-8 and a 24-yard scoring strike to Lee with 1:58 before halftime.

"Calendine has really matured and there's a lot of pressure on him," said Cunningham. "We're not a vanilla offense. We've got a lot of shows ... more like college."

"We got beat in the secondary in the first half like we have all year and I told the kids, 'That's enough,'" said Kellick.

Devaughn Bowie picked off Calendine for the second time on North's second play of the third period, which led to a quick 44-yard drive with Phillips scoring from the 13. Wes Samples ran for the conversion to cut the deficit to 21-14 at the 7:54 mark.

But the Hubs would not be denied after Jordan Ricketts recovered a Samples' fumble at the South 44, setting up Donaldson's 35-yard burst over right tackle for what proved to be an insurance score.

Chase gave his team another short field with a 63-yard kickoff return to the North 25, but the Rebels were ineffective and faced a 4th-and-19 from the 20. Samples' 16-yard pass to Tywan Lee was short of a first down.

"You look at those chances and if we get in two times out of the four, we win," said Kellick.

There was no quit in the Rebels as Gross returned a punt 39 yards to the South 49. The Rebels took advantage of a 15-yard North penalty and Samples, who played with a sore right shoulder after taking a pounding from the North defense. He returned after missing two plays to find Lee on a 16-yard scoring strike with 4:37 remaining.

The Hubs were stopped on fourth down at the South 40 and the Rebels had one last shot with 1:40 to go, but North's defense tightened up and took over after holding South at the 38 with 38 seconds left.

Johnson ended with a team-high 95 yards on 17 carries while Donaldson added 85 yards on nine carries, all from the second quarter on after his kickoff fumble.

"We re-focused him and he was good after that," said Cunningham.

Johnson said he and his teammates might have been stunned by South.

"They surprised me and really came out of the gate," he said. "(South) really kept it close and we weren't expecting that. But we won my last three years at North and I'm glad for (Coach) and us."

With its fifth straight win, North leads the city series, 26-24-1.

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