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High School Football: Blazers win, but not without a fight

September 15, 2012|By KEVIN SPRADLIN | Special to the Herald-Mail

HANCOCK — Coming off last week’s two-point loss to Saint James — after falling behind by two touchdowns early — Clear Spring coach Craig Bathgate said he wanted to see the Blazers give 48 minutes worth of effort against Hancock on Saturday.

They only needed about 42 minutes to get the job done.

Thanks to unsportsmanlike behavior and a bench-clearing fight, the game was called with more than six minutes remaining, giving Clear Spring a 22-0 victory over the Panthers behind a workhorse-like effort of running back Jesse Gentry and opportunistic defensive and special teams play.

Gentry rushed for one touchdown and returned a punt for another as Clear Spring (2-1) took care of the competition part of the game.

The fight was ruled a draw.

It wasn’t immediately clear who or what started the fight. Gentry carried the ball for a short gain near Hancock’s sideline in what became the last play of the game.

After the play, at least one Clear Spring reserve left the Blazers sideline and hit a Hancock player from behind. At least one Hancock coach was also struck.

As the disturbance ended, at least two Hancock players made vulgar hand gestures at Clear Spring’s side of the field. A parent seated on Hancock’s side of the field, jumped the retaining fence and charged the playing field.

Referee Dave Haupt called a conference with his officiating team, Bathgate and Hancock coach Dave Mahaffey. No players were ejected, but the decision was made to end the game.

The midfield conference “ended up being a negotiation,” Haupt said.

Neither Bathgate nor Mahaffey could reveal if any discipline or suspensions were pending.

“There wasn’t any … chirping or fighting the whole game,” said Bathgate. “I’m not sure who did what. I thought the (last running) play was over, and then everything went crazy.”

Bathgate said he would wait to review game film before taking any action.

Both coaches insisted the brawl wasn’t typical of either school’s brand of play.

Mahaffey was disappointed to know that what otherwise was a “great, classy game” will be “marred by … two kids who can’t keep their composure.”

“That’s not what we teach,” Mahaffey said, speaking for both teams.

It is the second straight week the Panthers (0-3) had an early end to their game. Mahaffey said game officials decided to call Hancock’s game with Bishop Walsh with 5:37 remaining.

Before the brawl, there was a football game.

Gentry capped a nine-play, 46-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run with 35.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Quarterback Jacob Brant found Collin Schultz for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Clear Spring advantage.

In the second half, Gentry fielded a Hancock punt at the Panthers 48 and raced along the Clear Spring sideline to the end zone for a touchdown. He followed by running in the conversion to give the Blazers a 16-0 lead with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter.

The Blazers capped the scoring when linebacker Kevin Thatcher picked off a pass from Hancock quarterback Hunter McKinley on a third-and-24 play at the Panthers 10 and ran it in for the final touchdown.

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