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Leopards rally but fall short

September 18, 2009|By JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG -- The Smithsburg Leopards were on the verge of punching in the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter Thursday night, but came up just a little bit short and suffered a heartbreaking 14-12 loss to the South Carroll Cavaliers.

Smithsburg (1-2) trailed 14-0 at halftime but cut the lead to two in the second half before driving the ball down the field for a first-and-goal at the South Carroll 5-yard line with two minutes remaining.

Smithsburg junior Ben Daniels carried three times for no gain, 2 yards and a loss of a yard. On fourth-and-4, the Leopards prepared to have Cullan Ganley attempt a 20-yard field goal.

After a timeout, Smithsburg decided to try for the touchdown. Justin Morgan threw a pass to a wide-open Jake Gouff in the end zone. The ball went into Gouff's arms, popped loose and fell to the ground with 22 seconds left.

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South Carroll took two knees to run out the clock and escape with the win.

"I thought the kids played their hearts out," Leopards coach Buddy Orndorff said. "Three or four times, we were just a step away from breaking a touchdown. For the defense to do the job that they did tonight on only a couple of days of practice was outstanding."

"We would have liked to have won, obviously," Orndorff said. "But we were real proud of the boys. They played a great game. I think that we will be fine for the remainder of the season."

South Carroll coach Steve Luette was proud of his defense for stepping up during the final two minutes.

"That was a fantastic defensive stand," Luette said. "When the game was on the line, the defense came up tough. ... Our defense won this game for us. It was smash-mouth football. We were lucky to get out of here with a victory."

David Mellstrom had a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Benjamin McCarty added a 1-yard TD run in the second to give South Carroll (3-0) the 14-0 halftime lead. Mathew Kohanyi kicked both extra points.

Daniels came through with a 59-yard touchdown run and Gouff caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to help Smithsburg (1-2) reduce the deficit to 14-12 in the third quarter.

Daniels gained 162 rushing yards on 22 carries for Smithsburg.

"Our game plan was to control the ball as much as we could to keep it out of (South Carroll's) hands because they have such an explosive offense," Orndorff said. "We were one or two plays away from winning."

South Carroll 14, Smithsburg 12

SC -- David Mellstrom 10 run (Mathew Kohanyi kick)

SC -- Benjamin McCarty 1 run (Kohanyi kick)

Sm -- Ben Daniels 59 run (kick failed)

Sm -- Jake Gouff 20 pass from Justin Morgan (run failed)

So.Carroll7700--14Smithsburg00120--12SCSmiFirst downs1517Rushes-yards31-15550-314Passing yards6626Comp-Att-Int6-12-12-4-0Total offense43-22154-340Punts-avg.4-30.52-38.0Penalties-yards9-604-40Fumbles-lost1-00-0
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