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High School Football: North hits all right spots to rip Leopards

October 13, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG — The North Hagerstown football team took a crash course on the sweet science to get ready for Smithsburg this week.

The Leopards put up a fight. The Hubs counterpunched and won easily on points. A lot of points.

North Hagerstown held its defense high before using the old one-two — two long touchdown runs by Kyle Hewlett, followed by a four-touchdown uppercut by Isaiah Keyes — on Saturday to knock out Smithsburg 48-7 in an MVAL Antietam game and tarnish the Leopards’ Homecoming celebration.

“Smithsburg is a funny place to play,” said North Hagerstown coach Danny Cunningham. “We knew they were going to come out and smack us in the face early. Our defense came and took it back at them to help the offense. The defense gave us a big effort and set the tone.”

It was sort of lost as North used a 35-point second quarter to take total control of the game with a 42-7 lead at the intermission. Hewlett made sure momentum stood on North’s sideline with scoring runs of 70 and 63 yards on consecutive carries.

Keyes scored three of his four touchdowns in the second quarter on runs of 12, 18 and 16 yards — the last coming with 12.2 seconds before the half — as the Hubs (6-1, 3-0) put the game in the express lane in the second half with running clock rules.

“They are a big-play team and I told the kids to expect a couple and they got them,” said Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorf. “We were in it, but when they got two scores up, we went on vacation.

“We’ve had to play two straight 3A teams and we have a lot of players beat up. That’s what happens when you are a small 1A school that has to do that.”

North’s defense stopped Smithsburg (2-5, 0-4) on a fourth-down try at the Hubs 26 before taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Hewlett bolted over left tackle and split a Smithsburg seam to go for his 70-yard score with 2:09 remaining in the period.

Smithsburg’s Caleb Cardone returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards to allow the Leopards to scratch out a tying score on Zach Krall’s 3-yard pass to Austin Ryan with 10:05 left in the half.

Hewlett took his next carry — the second play on North’s answering drive — and jetted 63 yards over the right side, breaking a tackle at the Hubs 47 before heading into the end zone. Suddenly, it was 14-7 and the North defense knew what to do.

First, Keyes intercepted a Krall pass on Smithsburg’s first play after the score. It put the Hubs on the Smithsburg 30 and set up Keyes’ first scoring run.

Then, the Hubs blocked a Smithsburg punt and took over at the Leopards 21. Three plays later, Keyes busted over right tackle and cut back for his 18-yard score and a 28-7 Hubs lead.

North’s pressure started to clog up Smithsburg’s lanes, and the avalanche engulfed the Leopards.

The Hubs scored on Nick Karlen’s 34-yard pass to Tre Anderson before North regained the ball by forcing Krall to fumble on a sack with :51 before the half.

North called a time out to set up Keyes’ 16-yard scoring sweep that sent the Leopards to the canvas.

“I was disappointed with the end of the first half,” Orndorf said. “I’m disappointed that they had to call time out to set up a screen pass and a sweep to get that final score so they could get the running clock to start the second half.”

As a final formality, Keyes bolted for a 63-yard score on the first play of the second half by running through and spinning out of Smithsburg tackles to put the final touches on the victory.

“The book on us says to take the air out of the ball,” Cunningham said. “We are explosive. Our six guys up front did a great job. The backs know they will get downfield to throw blocks and that keeps them going. But the defense has set the tone for us for the last couple of games. It helps so the offense doesn’t have to press if it makes a mistake.”

Only nine of Smithsburg’s 50 plays gained more than five yards, which included four completions. North held the Leopards to 159 yards.

Meanwhile, North rolled up 299 yards rushing in the first half en route to 479 yards of total offense. Hewlett ran for 169 yards on 10 carries while Keyes added 152 on his 10 tries.

“They are both special kids,” Cunningham said. “Hewlett is our fullback and he is probably the fastest kid on the team. They complement each other really well.”

Each team suffered an injury scare during the game.

Smithsburg lost Krall late in the third quarter when he left the field in pain with a foot injury.

North took a hit when Anderson went down with 6:15 remaining in the game when he was struck with a knee to his head while trying to tackle Steven Rishell. The game was halted as Anderson left in an ambulance as a precaution for head and neck injuries.

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