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Rebels go deep, snap Hubs' streak

November 05, 2011|By MARK KELLER | keller@herald-mail.com
  • C.J. Davis and his South Hagerstown teammates hoist the Gridiron Classic championship trophy Saturday afternoon following their 40-7 victory over rival North Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The South Hagerstown football team didn’t waste time using one play to set up another in the first quarter of the Gridiron Classic against North Hagerstown on Saturday.

Instead, the Rebels came out looking for the home run ball — and they connected on four straight.

Brandon Hess threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score, and Isiaha Smith scorched the Hubs for an 81-yard touchdown run to give South a 27-point cushion on its way to a 40-7 pasting of North in the 55th annual city showdown at North’s Mike Callas Stadium.

South (7-3, 4-2 MVAL Antietam) snapped an eight-game losing streak against North, which still leads the series 29-25-1.

“It’s incredible. This is just what we wanted,” Hess said. “It was always in the back of our minds how we lost to them last year. We worked hard all year, getting up at 6 in the morning to lift weights, all for this.”

The loss eliminated North (7-3, 4-2) from playoff contention in Maryland Class 3A West and gave the MVAL Antietam title to Boonsboro, the only team with one conference loss.

“I really do think we were looking ahead to the playoffs,” said North coach Dan Cunningham. “(The players) knew we were going to Seneca Valley to scout. They’re teenagers. What do you expect?

“But it’s a testament to the kids at South. They worked hard and they beat us.”

South rolled up 480 yards of offense against North, with Hess and Smith doing much of the damage. Hess threw for 163 yards and ran for 80, while Smith rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.

Any visions of a playoff game for the Hubs were quickly blurred, then erased by the Rebels.

On the third play of South’s first drive of the game, Hess lofted a pass to a wide-open Teon Maeser, who then put a move on North’s Sergio Galvan to complete a 66-yard touchdown connection with 7:08 left in the quarter.

On its second possession, North started regularly feeding the ball to running back Phillip Butler, who ran three straight times to get the ball to midfield.

But quarterback J.T. Root fumbled the exchange on the next play and South’s Denzel Helms recovered to put the ball back in Hess’ hands.

Hess went right back to the air, this time hitting Michael Hill in stride for a 47-yard score and a 14-0 Rebels lead.

After another North fumble, South again needed just one play to reach the end zone as Hess went around end on a keeper for a 24-yard touchdown.

South’s defense stood strong, forcing a North punt, which was downed at the South 19.

On the Rebels’ first play, Smith took a handoff right up the middle and went untouched for 81 yards and a touchdown that gave South a 27-0 edge with 2:13 still remaining in the first quarter.

“We certainly didn’t expect to have the score we did in the first quarter,” said South coach Toby Peer. “They gave us zero coverage, the offensive line protected, the quarterback made good throws and the receivers made catches. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Hubs broke through in the second quarter, getting an 11-yard touchdown run from Kyle Hewlett to cut the deficit to 27-7. But South answered right back with its first sustained drive of the game, going 70 yards in seven plays — culminating in a 28-yard scoring run by Smith to give the Rebels a 34-7 lead at the half.

South tried to control the clock in the second half and did so with the help of the North offense. The Hubs lost a fumble on their first possession of the second half, then punted after consecutive three-and-outs in a scoreless third quarter.

The Hubs fumbled seven times, losing three.

Meanwhile, Peer pleaded for four quarters of focus from the Rebels.

“Our pregame and halftime speeches were the same. They were about emotions and focus,” Peer said. “We hit some big plays and we thought they would. We wanted to keep our emotions steady and just focus on the next play.”

As Peer called in plays to Hess in the second half, he often told his quarterback to remind the players in the huddle to concentrate.

“We were getting overhyped and we just had to bring it back down to reality,” Hess said. “We wanted to make sure we played a full four quarters.”

Smith went over the 200-yard mark late in the fourth quarter with a 57-yard touchdown run that closed the scoring.

Butler broke North’s single-season rushing mark, set last year by Anthony Winter, with 150 yards on 22 carries. The Hubs finished with 225 yards of offense.

“Records are nice and Butler is a heck of a back, but the offensive line has been so good this year,” Cunningham said. “(South has) the most aggressive front line we’ve played against all year. They made it tough on us today.”

In just his second year at South, Peer grasped how important the win over North was to the Rebels’ fans, who ran onto the field to celebrate with players after the final horn sounded.

“It’s been a long time and we really wanted this win,” Peer said. “This was for every person who ever put on a uniform and played at South High and for everyone who went to South High. This school has so much pride. We’re glad we could do this for them.”

South Hagerstown 40, North Hagerstown 7
S. Hagerstown    27    7    0    6    —    40
N. Hagerstown    0    7    0    0    —    7
First Quarter
SH—Teon Maeser 66 pass from Brandon Hess (Jordan Dickens kick)
SH—Michael Hill 47 pass from Hess (Dickens kick)
SH—Hess 24 run (kick failed)
SH—Isiaha Smith 81 run (Dickens kick)
Second Quarter
NH—Kyle Hewlett 11 run (Mark Grunberg kick)
SH—Smith 28 run (Dickens kick)
Fourth Quarter
SH—Smith 57 run (kick failed)
    SH    NH
First downs    15    15    
Rushes-yards    36-317    47-163
Passing yards    163    62
Comp-Att-Int    6-8-1    6-14-1
Total offense    44-480    61-225
Punts-avg.    3-28.7    5-43.0
Penalties-yards    8-70    5-45
Fumbles-lost    0-0    7-3
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING—South Hagerstown, Smith 14-224, Hess 15-80, Ware 7-13. North Hagerstown, Butler 22-150, Hewlett 11-44, Keyes 4-4, Hall 2-(minus-4), Root 8-(minus-31).
PASSING—South Hagerstown, Hess 6-8-1-163. North Hagerstown, Root 6-13-1-62, Lyles 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING—South Hagerstown, Davis 2-35, Maeser 1-66, Hill 1-47, Smith 1-11, Ware 1-4. North Hagerstown, Railing 2-14, Keyes 1-25, Colvin 1-15, Renner 1-4, Hall 1-4.

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