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Hancock drops close game to Clear Spring

September 20, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

HANCOCK -- The Clear Spring football team snapped a 19-game losing streak Friday night, edging Hancock, 14-12.

Jordan Lavender and Ken Bosic provided the offensive firepower and Dustin Violet made a game-saving tackle on Hancock's two-point conversion try with 1:12 left in the game as Clear Spring (1-2) gave coach Craig Bathgate his first victory.

The game was a yawner for the first three quarters, but things got very interesting in the fourth.

Clear Spring, trailing 6-0, tied matters on Bosic's 11-yard touchdown run with 5:34 remaining, but the two-point conversion failed.

The Blazers appeared to put the game out of reach on Lavender's 17-yard quarterback keeper and Bosic's successful two-point conversion run with 1:25 left, but Hancock (0-3) had other ideas.

Not to be outdone, the Panthers -- who broke a touchdown scoring drought in the second quarter -- retaliated on the ensuing kickoff when sophomore Tanner Dobrzanski went 82 yards for a score to cut the lead to two.

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On the conversion attempt, quarterback Nick Lanehart rolled out to his right and Violet made a beautiful tackle on the 1-yard line to prevent Hancock from getting into the end zone and tying the score.

"We lost our kicker this week and we had little choice (but) to try the two-point conversions after each touchdown," Bathgate said. "We had a great week of practice and I expected a good effort tonight. This was a milestone win, hard-earned."

Clear Spring totaled 201 yards on the ground, with Bosic collecting 86 yards on 14 carries and Lavendar adding 65 yards on 11 carries.

Lavendar also had 11 tackles on defense and Sam Adams and C.J. Alexander each added eight tackles.

Lanehart gave Hancock its first touchdown of the season -- a 3-yard run in the second quarter -- and Dobrzanski put on the finishing touches with the brilliant kickoff return.

"I wasn't surprised by the late score, we take a lot of pride with the special teams," first-year Hancock coach Dave Mahaffey said. "We've been looking to bust one all season."

While disappointed with the narrow loss, Mahaffey couldn't fault the performance.

"I never doubt the effort, we play hard," Mahaffey said. "This game could have gone either way. Offensively, Joey True had a solid game. Defensively, it was pretty much a team effort."

Clear Spring's decisive touchdown was set up when Hancock gambled -- and lost -- on a fourth-and-4 situation at the Clear Spring 47-yard line with more than four minutes remaining.

Hancock punter Jarrod McCoy tried to run the football instead of kicking it, and was tackled short of a first down.

"Jarrod had the option there and he thought the run was available," Mahaffey said. "He cramped up and was short of the first down. I thought he could get there."

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