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Leopards find mud to liking

October 24, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

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    SMITHSBURG -- Forty-eight minutes of football in the mud weren't enough for some of the Smithsburg football players, who decided to slide face-down along a waterlogged sideline.

    It showed the Leopards' celebatory mood on a soggy Homecoming Saturday in which Smithsburg proved to be much better in the trenches, posting a 22-6 victory over Clear Spring at Carroll Reid Field.

    At least the numbers on the backs of the players' uniforms weren't totally obliterated.

    It was possible to tell that Justin Morgan, Derek Smith and Taylor Damuth scored touchdowns for the Leopards (5-3) and Mike Braithwaite had a kickoff-return TD for the Blazers (4-4).

    "We were good mudders today," said Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff.

    The Leopards churned out 214 yards rushing, shared among Morgan, Smith, Damuth, Ben Daniels and Jake Gouff.

    "Nothing fancy today, just a good push up front from the line and the backs were able to make good cuts," said Orndorff. "The defense played well."

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Daniels did not score, but he led Smithsburg with 90 yards on 15 carries to set up those who did score.

Late in the opening quarter, Morgan completed a 25-yard pass to Colby Heiston to the Clear Spring 42.

Daniels ran on the next four plays, reaching the 9. From there, on a busted play, Morgan scored with 2:30 left in the first. Gouff added the extra point.

"I ran into Daniels on the pivot and ended up running, but (Ben) threw a nice block," said Morgan.

Clear Spring bounced right back, as Braithwaite took a low liner on the kickoff and raced up the middle for a 78-yard score. The Blazers missed the extra-point kick to trail 7-6.

Hanging onto the football became an adventure as the rain descended heavily in the second quarter.

On fourth-and-10 from its own 16, Clear Spring was forced to punt but Andy Jarvis lost the handle on the snap and was downed on the 4. It took only one play for Smith to score with 6:23 left before halftime.

After an exchange of fumbles, the Blazers repeated their earlier disaster. Jarvis again lost the handle on the snap in punt formation and was tackled in the end zone at the 1:42 mark for a safety and a 15-6 Leopards lead.

Smithsburg controlled the second half after Clear Spring posted its first first down of the game on a 23-yard run by Mike Etzel, who promptly fumbled the ball away on the next carry.

The Leopards scored with 10:43 remaining in the game, marching 57 yards. Damuth got the call on the final three plays, marching in from the 4.

"It was pretty difficult out there," said Morgan. "The ball just got heavier and just mudcaked up."

Clear Spring had two first downs late in the fourth quarter on pass plays, one a 55-yarder that was part of its 113-yard effort for the game.

All told, Smithsburg had two interceptions and lost three fumbles while Clear Spring had a pair of interceptions and lost five fumbles.

"We just didn't make any holes and when we did Smithsburg filled them up," said Clear Spring coach Craig Bathgate. "No excuses, but we're a 50-50 team rushing and passing and the conditions just took the passing away from us. The field was the same for both teams."

Smithsburg 22, Clear Spring 6

S--Justin Morgan 9 run (Jake Gouff kick)
CS--Mike Braithwaite 78 kickoff return (kick failed)
S--Derek Smith 4 run (run failed)
S--Safety, punter tackled in endzone
S--Taylor Damuth 4 run (Gouff kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING--Clear Spring, Etzel 15-45, Connors 3-3, Braithwaite 3-0, Mellott 6-(minus 13), Team 1-(minus 12); Smithsburg, Daniels 15-90, Smith 14-52, Gouff 6-37, Damuth 12-22, Morgan 2-13, Kim 1-5, Team 1-(minus 9).

PASSING--Clear Spring, Mellott 3-7-90-2; Smithsburg, Morgan 5-11-72-1, Ganley 0-1-0-1.

RECEIVING--Clear Spring, C. Morgan 1-55, Adams 1-39, Etzel 1-(minus 4); Smithsburg, Gouff 2-11, Damuth 1-30, Heiston 1-25, Ganley 1-6.

Clear Spring6000--6Smithsburg7807--22CSSmitFirst downs312Rushes-yards28-2351-214Passing yards9072Comp-Att-Int3-7-25-12-2Total offense35-11363-286Punts-avg.2-39.03-38.3Penalties-yards0-010-60Fumbles-lost6-54-3
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