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Patriots subdue Rebels

September 23, 2011|By MARK KELLER | keller@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — After giving up three quick touchdowns to Thomas Johnson in the first quarter Friday night, the South Hagerstown defense buckled down a bit.

The Rebels shut down TJ in the second quarter, forcing a punt, a fumble and an interception and giving the team a boost going into halftime.

One run in the third quarter turned the tide back the way of the Patriots for good.

Brandan Berney’s third touchdown of the game was easily his most impressive, an 80-yard run in which he broke through or fought off five would-be tacklers, and the Patriots went on to defeat South 35-7 at School Stadium.

“We missed a lot of tackles, and a lot of that was due to their athleticism,” said South coach Toby Peer. “TJ is a very explosive team. They have a lot of athletes on that team. They’re very quick at quarterback and running back and have great strength and conditioning.”

It didn’t take long for the Patriots (4-0) to show why they are ranked 22nd in the Maryland state poll.

They needed just four plays to go 73 yards on the opening drive of the game, the majority coming on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Heath Dahlgren to Nate Hairston on which Hairston somehow snagged the ball from between two South defenders.

South (2-2) went three-and-out on its first two possessions, and both led to quick scoring drives by TJ. The first was an eight-play, 74-yard drive that took less than 3 minutes off the clock, culminating with a 14-yard touchdown run by Berney.

Just over 3 minutes later, the Patriots were on the board again. Dahlgren hooked up with Berney on a 63-yard scoring strike to finish a four-play, 79-yard drive that gave TJ a 21-0 lead.

Dahlgren was perfect in the first quarter, completing 5 of 5 passes for 151 yards and the two scores.

He missed on his first attempt in the second quarter, then was picked off by Andrew Wells on his next try. Wells returned the interception to the TJ 29, giving the Rebels their first scoring opportunity.

Quarterback Brandon Hess took the ball inside the 15 on an option keeper. Three short runs moved the ball to the 6, but Hess was sacked on fourth down to end the threat.

Berney’s long touchdown run gave TJ a 28-0 lead midway through the third quarter, but South answered back.

A good kickoff return by Teon Maeser started the South drive at midfield. Two runs by Ahmere Ware resulted in a first down before Hess connected with Carlton Davis for 15 yards to the TJ 20.

Hess found Ware inside the 5 and he fought for extra yardage to the 2. Isiaha Smith punched it in from the there to get the Rebels on the scoreboard.

“The kids played hard tonight. They never gave in,” Peer said. “I’m very pleased with the effort. We just need to execute and make fewer mistakes,”

Nico Johnson scored ona 22-yard run — using a nice stutter-step to avoid one tackler — to close the scoring for TJ.

Dahlgren finished 8 for 12 with 222 yards passing for TJ. Hess completed 17 of 32 passes for 175 yards for South.

“Any time you lose 35-7 and your kids did not quit, you have a lot to look forward to,” Peer said. “And I’m looking forward to coaching these kids the rest of this season.”

Thomas Johnson 35, South Hagerstown 7
T. Johnson    21    0    14    0    —    35
S. Hagerstown    0    0    7    0    —    7
First Quarter
TJ — Nate Hairston 40 pass from Heath Dahlgren (Paul McLister kick)
TJ — Brandan Berney 14 run (McLister kick)
TJ — Berney 63 pass from Dahlgren (McLister kick)
Third Quarter
TJ — Berney 80 run (McLister kick)
SH — Isiaha Smith 2 run (Brandon Hess kick)
TJ — Nico Johnson 22 run (McLister kick)

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