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Winter's game for Grandma

October 24, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

WILLIAMSPORT -- Anthony Winter phoned in a long-distance dedication on Saturday.

North Hagerstown's junior tailback was all about doing his very best to help the Hubs defeat Williamsport, but his performance was set aside for his grandmother, who died this week in Antigua.

"My line did a great job. I didn't seem to get touched until I was 10 yards downfield," Winter said. "This game was dedicated to (my grandmother). She was watching me today."

Winter made sure his grandmother saw him at his best, rushing for a North school-record 264 yards and a touchdown on 40 carries to help pace the Hubs to a 26-15 MVAL Antietam victory that spoiled Homecoming for the Wildcats.

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Winter broke the record he had just set three weeks ago. His 256 yards against Smithsburg was the new standard by 1 yard, breaking a 13-year mark set by E.J. Fuller.

Winter will be attending his grandmother's funeral, but his travel plans were muddled, leaving him to think that Saturday could have been his final game of the season. For now, his travel plans will allow him to play in the Hubs' last two games.

"She's not going to be able to see me finish," Winter said. "I wanted to finish strong, because I thought this might be my last game."

Winter was the soul of North's offense, setting the tone early by following blocks and eluding Williamsport's defenders. His rushing total was 77 percent of the Hubs' 343 offensive yards.

"He had a lot of nice yards, but a lot of them came off of mistakes by us," said Williamsport coach Randy Longnecker. "We didn't play for the first two quarters of the football game. Don't ask me how we could be flat playing on Homecoming."

Winter was the prime weapon in North's opening drive, carrying on the first seven plays and nine of the 13-play drive that stalled at Williamsport's 5.

"We are a young team, but we don't have a knockout punch yet," said North coach Danny Cunningham. "We dominated the game. The score doesn't show that we dominated all but about three plays."

North (3-5, 1-1) scored on its next two possessions. Winter scored from 12 yards out for a 6-0 lead after one quarter, before helping set up Steve Coccodrilli's 1-yard keeper for a 12-0 lead.

Williamsport (4-4, 1-2) immediately got back in the game when Reggie Russ took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to bring the Wildcats within five at 12-7.

North answered the quick strike by grinding out another drive, moving 59 yards in 10 plays, capped by four straight runs by fullback A.J. Staley. He bulled in from the 2 to give the Hubs a 20-7 halftime lead.

Winter had 188 yards on 24 carries in the first half. The Hubs ran 45 plays -- a full game's worth most of the time -- in the first 24 minutes and rolled up 254 yards. Meanwhile, Williamsport ran just 15 plays for 3 yards and no first downs.

It was different in the second half.

The Wildcats came out and showed some diversity to began to move the ball, while Winter and North began to tire. Williamsport leaned on quarterback Casey McKenrick's passing to ignite a comeback try.

"In the second half, we played harder on defense," Longnecker said. "We had a lot of opportunities. This was the biggest game we had around here for a while because of the playoff implications, but we didn't play like it."

Williamsport got in trouble when North's Greg Pheabus intercepted a pass and returned it 31 yards to put the Hubs up, 26-7.

The Wildcats and McKenrick answered on the next play with an 89-yard scoring pass to Chris Githens, who raced past North's secondary at the 40 and ran all alone for the touchdown.

Both teams moved to the goal line and failed to score. Williamsport stalled twice and North failed for a second time on the doorstep.

The Wildcats' final score came with 8:00 remaining when a North punt snap flew out of the end zone for a safety.

"They failed twice and we missed on a dropped pass in the end zone and couldn't get in from the 3," Longnecker said after the Wildcats finished with 206 yards of offense, 181 coming through the air. "Ours hurt more at the time than theirs did."

Winter's second-to-last carry for 11 yards allowed him to reset his school record as the Hubs milked the clock.

"Anthony is banged up, but he's so gutsy," Cunningham said. "These weren't the best conditions for him, but he just went north and south."

North Hagerstown 26, Williamsport 15

NH -- Anthony Winter 12 run (kick failed)

NH -- Steve Coccodrilli 1 run (run failed)

W -- Reggie Russ 97 kickoff return (C.J. Ezidinma kick)

NH -- A.J. Staley 2 run (Michael Franklin run)

NH -- Greg Pheabus 31 interception return (kick blocked)

W -- Chris Githens 89 pass from Casey McKenrick (kick failed)

W -- Safety, North snaps ball out of end zone

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: North Hagerstown -- Winter 40-264, Staley 9-41, Wells 4-0, Stinson 1-0, Team 1-(minus 2), Franklin 1-(minus 3), Coccodrilli 2-(minus 5), Lowman 1-(minus 11); Williamsport -- Sutch 7-31, Russ 5-9, Baker 2-3, Frey 1-1, McKenrick 3-(-10), Githens 1-(minus 10).

PASSING: North Hagerstown -- Coccodrilli 4-10-1 60; Williamsport -- McKenrick 11-30-1 167, Russ 1-1-0 14.

RECEIVING: North Hagerstown -- Black 2-33, Pheabus 2-37; Willamsport -- Baker 4-40, Sutch 4-30, Smith 2-20, Githens 1-89, Willis 1-2.

North Hagerstown61460--26Williamsport0762--15NHWillFirst downs188Rushes-yards59-28319-18Passing yards60181Comp-Att-Int4-10-112-31-1Total offense69-34350-199Punts-avg.1-7.03-33.3Penalties-yards8-536-58Fumbles-lost2-12-1
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