The Patriots, the No. 13 team in Maryland's preseason poll, led 16-0 midway through the second quarter before the Hubs got their bearings.
Steve Coccodrilli hooked up with Anthony Winter for a 61-yard pass play that moved the ball to the TJ 2-yard line. It took four plays from there, but Coccodrilli scored on a 2-yard run with a major assist from offensive lineman Corey Carpenter, who wrapped up Coccodrilli from behind and pulled him into the end zone for the touchdown.
The Hubs (0-1) looked to be gaining momentum, holding TJ to a three-and-out and forcing a punt. On the return, Winter zig-zagged his way across the field looking for an opening, helped along by a crushing block from Greg Pheabus that electrified the North sideline.
But on the next play, Coccodrilli was flagged for intentional grounding while under pressure, moving the ball back inside North's own 5. Two plays later, TJ covered an Anthony Wells fumble at the 8 to quiet the Hubs.
Nick Forbes ran it in on the first play of TJ's possession to give the Patriots a 22-6 lead at the half.
"The first play of the game was big, but we put our defense in some bad situations tonight," Cunningham said. "We had a couple of penalties that hurt us. The good news is everything is fixable."
The Patriots pulled away in the third quarter on Jeff Bryan's second touchdown run and Lynch's second touchdown pass of the game. Coccodrilli was also dropped for a safety.
After being bottled up for much of the game, Winter added a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. He ran for 39 yards in the game, but had minus-2 before the fourth quarter. Winter caught four passes for 101 yards.
"We can build off of this. They're one of the top teams in the state, D-1 prospects, and we played with them," Cunningham said. "At 16-6, we had them on their heels a little bit, but we gave up field position. They're just quicker, stronger, faster."
Thomas Johnson 38, North Hagerstown 12
T. Johnson 13 9 16 0 -- 38
N. Hagerstown 0 6 0 6 -- 12
TJ -- Marquis Woodyard 74 pass from Ryon Lynch (kick failed)
TJ -- Jeff Bryan 5 run (Felipe Gaete kick)
TJ -- FG Gaete 35
NH -- Steve Coccodrilli 2 run (kick failed)
TJ -- Nick Forbes 8 run (kick failed)
TJ -- Bryan 4 run (Gaete kick)
TJ -- Safety, Coccodrilli tackled in end zone
TJ -- De'Andre Scott 25 pass from Lynch (Gaete kick)
NH -- Anthony Winter 3 run (kick failed)
First downs 11 8
Rushes-yards 30-110 43-87
Passing yards 151 158
Comp-Att-Int 4-10-0 9-17-0
Total offense 40-261 60-245
Punts-avg. 5-33.0 5-31.0
Penalties-yards 8-70 14-96
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Records: Thomas Johnson 1-0; North Hagerstown 0-1.