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Hubs edge Rebels in overtime classic

November 08, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

For the first time in the 52-year history of gridiron warfare between Hagerstown's two public high schools, there was an overtime decision.

It meant extra drama for the huge School Stadium crowd and, in the end, euphoria on the North Hagerstown side and an agonizing stab in the back for South Hagerstown.

Rebels kicker Dustin Rowland's extra-point boot bounced off the left upright and gave North a 28-27 victory as the Hubs extended their current mastery over South to six straight wins and a 27-24-1 lead in the series.

"I trust (Dustin's) foot and I'd send him out there to do it again," said South coach Greg Kellick, shortly after his Rebels answered North's score in overtime.

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Tied at 21, North (3-7, 2-2) scored on its third play in overtime when sophomore quarterback Steve Coccodrilli flipped a screen pass from the 7 to Demetrius Myers in open territory to the right. Chase Worthington added the extra point.

"The play was called in the huddle and we got in a 3-on-2 situation," said Myers. "I had three blockers out there and it was an easy score. It was the last game for our seniors and they all showed some heart."

From Coccodrilli's eyes, the score looked pretty good.

"That screen play I thought was run perfectly," he said. "We lost some focus in the third quarter, but we worked the trenches and won."

South (4-6, 1-3) answered when sophomore quarterback Hunter Phillips took advantage of Cory Shank's 6-foot-4 frame on a post route from 12 yards.

"We didn't think of going for two at that point," said Kellick. "We score 10,000 times in that situation and I'll make the same decision."

After a lethargic first half, the Rebels looked like they'd be in no position to contend for a win. North controlled the game with a ground attack and a swarming defense led by Dustin Dunn and Greg Pheabus.

Jordan Ricketts scored on a 2-yard run to highlight a 10-play, 55-yard first-quarter drive.

Two possessions later, as the game entered the second quarter, North went 62 yards in six plays with sophomore Anthony Winters going 17 yards when he latched onto a lateral toss from Coccodrilli.

"It wasn't our game plan to run the ball so much, but we were powering the ball off tackle and that created some gaps for us," said North coach Dan Cunningham.

By halftime, the Hubs had 126 yards rushing and the defense had South under the radar with minus-15 yards.

Kellick, who had seen an immense turnaround in his troops in recent weeks, made good use of his halftime talk.

"I gave them two options: One, to fold the tent and go home, or two, to go out and play football like they have been," said Kellick.

With South in dire field position on its own 6 after a penalty, Phillips hit ex-Hub Nick Stubbs on a swing pass around the North 15 and Stubbs did the rest, breaking off one tackle and then outrunning two North defenders for a 94-yard touchdown. However, South's PAT failed.

After stopping North, the Rebels then marched 87 yards, with Phillips' 23-yard pass to Devaun Bowie setting up a 1-yard plunge by Antoine Malone, who also ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-14 tie.

Coccodrilli hooked up with Winters on a 48-yard pass play to highlight an 88-yard drive in the fourth quarter, setting up Ricketts' 8-yard TD run with 5:47 remaining.

South came right back on a 59-yard drive, with Phillips hitting Shank on a 19-yard scoring pass with 3:56 left. Rowland's kick knotted the game at 21.

"We had a lack of focus coming out in the second half," Cunningham said. "South hit us with some long plays and Stubbs is a workhorse."

Ricketts finished with 102 yards rushing on 23 carries, while Coccodrilli threw for 99 yards for the Hubs.

Stubbs had 77 yards on the ground in addition to his long-distance score, while Phillips went 14-for-21 in the air for 213 yards and Shank hauled in four passes for the Rebels.

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