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Leopards hold off Hubs

October 02, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

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    HAGERSTOWN -- The Smithsburg Leopards started out feeling like William Tecumseh Sherman and ended up with all the jitters of George Armstrong Custer.

    "I never felt comfortable in the second half," said Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff. "It was one of those halves where you sat there waiting for the cavalry to come. You're sitting there with the wagons circled and arrows all over the place just looking for a blue hat."

    The blue hats finally showed up in the form of Smithsburg's defense. The Leopards ended a furious comeback effort by North Hagerstown with key plays on a two-point conversion attempt and the Hubs' final possession on Friday to hold on for a 27-25 MVAL Antietam victory over the Hubs.

    "The clock couldn't run out soon enough," Orndorff said.

    Smithsburg (3-2, 2-0) played a flawless first half and built a 27-0 lead to own the first 29 1/2 minutes of play before weathering a Winter storm.

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North's Anthony Winter scored four touchdowns in a 15-minute span on runs of 65, 47 and 30 yards and a 26-yard circus catch of a touchdown pass by Lynn Lowman to bring the Hubs within two points of the lead with 3:04 remaining. Winter had 174 of his school-record 259 rushing yards in the second half.

The game was decided by two missed extra points by North and a big tackle by Dylan Ianaro and Derek Smith on A.J. Staley on a conversion run for Smithsburg to preserve the victory.

"We just didn't come out to play," said North coach Dan Cunningham. "We are very young and we seemed to get overwhelmed by the Homecoming festivities. We were ugly in the first half. The only real adjustment we needed at the half was a heart check."

Smithsburg dominated North in the first half by controlling the line of scrimmage while playing flawless offense. North fumbled the ball four times -- retaining all of them -- and failed on a fourth-down try on its first possession to help set up the Leopards.

Smithsburg scored on a 40-yard drive capped by Taylor Demuth's 2-yard run to take a 7-0 lead with 8:14 to go in the first quarter.

"We want to control the ball," Orndorff said. "We have three good tailbacks and they all did a good job running the ball. I know Taylor would love to get the ball more, but he got us some critical yards today."

Another offensive folly by North, capped by a bad punt snap, put the Leopards in business on the Hubs 17. They scored in three plays, capped by a 17-yard scoring pass from Justin Morgan to Jake Gouff, the first of two scoring connections on the night.

The Leopards capped the first half on a 39-yard TD run by Tyler Alexander for a 20-0 halftime lead.

"We saw things that we could do and we did them in the first half," Orndorff said. "But it was a story of two halves."

Smithsburg used a 5:44 drive to open the second half and scored on a 26-yard Morgan-to-Gouff pass to take the 27-0 lead.

That seemed to wake up the Hubs.

Winter swept for 65 yards on the first play after the kickoff to put North on the board, a play that got the Hubs excited.

After the Leopards went three plays and out, Winter carried three times, the last a 47-yard bust over the left side to cut the Hubs' deficit to 27-13 with 2:41 left in the third quarter.

"He's just a phenomenal kid," Cunningham said of Winter. "He's been dinged up for the last couple of weeks. That was just a great performance."

North opened the fourth quarter with a Corey Carpenter interception to set up Winter's final score on the first play and North moved within eight at 27-19.

Then, after stalling Smithsburg again, North came up with an 11-play drive, using two critical passes by Lowman and a Smithsburg pass interference penalty to move downfield. Lowman capped the drive with a 26-yard pitch to Winter. The tailback backpedaled into the end zone and managed to grab the ball out of midair between two Leopards defenders while falling to the ground.

With 3:04 remaining, North went for the tying conversion, but Staley was dropped in his tracks by Ianaro and Smith to preserve the two-point lead.

North got one last chance to pull the game out with Winter injured on the sideline. The Hubs got the ball at their 33 with 1:25 remaining, but failed to convert a first down on four pass plays to end all hope.

North held Smithsburg to three first downs in the second half while rolling up 231 of its 308 offensive yards in the second half.

Smithsburg was led by Alexander with 59 yards rushing, while Morgan hit on three of his four passes and the two touchdowns.

"That (Winter), I'd vote him to be Superman," Orndorff said. "We weathered the storm and the kids played hard."

Smithsburg 27, North Hagerstown 25

S -- Ben Daniels 2 run (Jake Gouff kick)

S -- Gouff 17 pass from Justin Morgan (Gouff kick)

S -- Tyler Alexander 39 run (kick failed)

S -- Gouff 26 pass from Morgan (Gouff kick)

NH -- Anthony Winter 65 run (Desmond Meade kick)

NH -- Winter 47 run (kick failed)

NH -- Winter 30 run (kick failed)

NH -- Winter 26 pass from Lynn Lowman (run failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING-- Smithsburg, Alexander 4-59, Demuth 8-53, Daniels 13-23, Smith 4-23, Payne 4-11, Gouff 2-2, Team 1-(-1); North Hagerstown: Winter 27-259, Wells 6-25, Staley 8-14, Team 2-(-20), Coccodrilli 2-(-31).

PASSING-- Smithsburg, Morgan 3-4-1 60; North Hagerstown, Lowman 4-6-0 52, Coccodrilli 1-2-0 9.

RECEIVING -- Smithsburg, Gouff 2-44, Parks 1-17; North Hagerstown, Winter 1-26, Meade 1-18, Black 2-13, Wells 2-13.

Smithsburg14670--27North East001312--25SmiNHFirst downs1013Rushes-yards38-17045-247Passing yards6061Comp-Att-Int3-4-15-8-0Total offense42-23053-308Punts-avg.3-44.72-43.0Penalties-yards7-508-43Fumbles-lost4-01-0
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