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Hubs hang tough, but fall short

September 27, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

SYKESVILLE, Md. -- Despite outstanding efforts from sophomores Steve Coccodrilli and Anthony Winters, North Hagerstown's football team dropped a 34-20 decision to Liberty on Friday night.

Coccodrilli made his first varsity start at quarterback after being called up from the JV squad and completed 14 of 29 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns for the winless Hubs (0-4).

Winters was the recipient of all three TD tosses and caught seven passes for 190 yards. The yardage is believed to be a school record.

"A great effort from the two sophomores," Hubs coach Dan Cunningham said. "We put points on the board tonight but we made some defensive mistakes and allowed Liberty to come back. There were a lot of big plays. The effort was there, we just didn't get it done."

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The two teams combined for more than 800 yards as fans were treated to offensive fireworks, despite rain in the fourth quarter.

Although Liberty (2-2) held the upper hand most of the evening -- scoring two touchdowns within a minute in the second quarter -- the Lions failed to deliver the knockout punch against the determined Hubs until late in the fourth.

North closed to 20-14 at halftime on Coccodrilli's 49-yard scoring strike to Winters with 21 seconds remaining, then tied matters at the 5:19 mark of the third quarter when the two sophomores connected again on a 22-yard play.

Liberty, however, wasn't to be denied.

Quarterback Jeff Suddath scored the decisive touchdown when he scampered around right end for 71 yards. Mike Swiontek kicked the extra point and the Lions had a 27-20 advantage.

Jason Valenzia sealed the verdict with a 21-yard scamper with 3:16 remaining, and Swiontek provided the extra point.

"The quarterback faked a handoff into the middle of the line, we bit, and he went to the outside and was gone," Cunningham said. "We need to work and get ready for next week."

Despite the setback, Cunningham was happy with Coccodrilli's effort.

"He threw for 274 yards last week in a JV game against Musselman and then came back tonight," Cunningham said. "He turned in a great effort."

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