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Hubs show heart in overtime victory

October 04, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

At times, statistics do lie.

They can't measure what's in the heart of an athlete when a game is on the line.

Outgained by Winters Mill in total yards, 389-175, North Hagerstown reached down deep to keep the Falcons from scoring the final two points they needed, and the Hubs emerged with a 28-27 overtime victory on Homecoming at Mike Callas Stadium.

North inside linebacker Cory Carpenter batted away a Ben Love pass on a two-point conversion try that sent a loud Hubs crowd into a delirious celebration that spilled onto the field and gave the team its first win after four losses.

"We went to a press coverage and my job was to bump 13 (John Shaw) off at the line," said Carpenter.

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Not only did he bump him off his line, Carpenter spotted the pass and made his move in front of Shaw to knock it down.

After North scored in overtime on a 1-yard run by Jordan Ricketts and Chase Worthington's PAT, Winters Mill answered when Shaw galloped in from the 5 to set up a decision by Winters Mill coach Ken Johnson.

"I've known (Johnson) for a long time and he is an aggressive coach," said North coach Dan Cunningham. "I wasn't surprised he went for two points."

Johnson called a timeout to set up his play, which also gave the Hubs a chance to set their defense -- most likely to face a pass.

"We wanted to force the issue with (Shaw) because he is such a great athlete and get him off his route," said Cunningham.

The Falcons (1-4) spent much of the night racking up yardage in the air, as Love completed 20 of 33 passes for 288 yards -- much of it into zones on North's left side of the secondary. Winters Mill held a 23-6 edge in first downs.

However, North stayed in the game by making few mistakes and taking advantage of four Falcons turnovers.

Love gave Winters Mill a 7-0 lead in the first period on a rollout to the left from 3 yards out.

The Hubs had problems offensively, doing nothing in their first four possessions. But the defense kept hounding Love, and in the second quarter forced him to make a bad judgement under pressure as he lost the football into the hands of Dustin Thompson at the Hubs 22-yard line. Thompson wasn't to be caught as he returned the fumble 78 yards to the end zone.

Another mistake by Winters Mill on its next possession, a tough snap that punter Love couldn't handle, gave the Hubs the ball on the Falcons' 10. Two plays later, sophomore quarterback Steve Coccodrilli pushed in from the 1 for a 14-7 lead 1:20 before halftime.

Winters Mill rallied for a pair of third-quarter scores and a 21-14 lead heading into the final period, and the Falcons put together a drive from their own 16 to North's 25.

A personal foul set Winters Mill back 15 yards, and then Love seemed puzzled, looking toward the sideline while his center snapped the football. North's John Courtney pounced on the ball and the Hubs had a chance to drive for the tie from their own 37 with two timeouts left.

After two running plays by Ricketts picked up a first down, Coccodrilli rolled out right threw to Wes Jackson, who snared the ball with two Falcons defenders smothering him. He avoided both and raced to paydirt with 1:13 left in regulation. Worthington's PAT knotted the game.

"This is a huge win because we've been so depleted with injuries and we were starting five sophomores and a freshman tonight," said Cunningham.

North battled hard to get every inch of its 113 yards on the ground, 62 coming from Ricketts.

"(Ricketts) has been running hard and showed how gutsy of a player he is," said Cunningham.

Coccodrilli, in his second start in place of the injured Bryan Calendine, went 3-for-9 for 62 yards.

"(Winters Mill) brought an umbrella-type coverage and Steve, or anyone else, isn't going to see that type of coverage unless they are in college," said Cunningham.

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