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High School Football: Rebels perfect no more as Railroaders spring upset

October 26, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

BRUNSWICK, Md. — The South Hagerstown football team had that look about it.

The Rebels looked like they just got hit by a train.

Well, almost.

They were sidetracked by a bunch of Railroaders.

Brunswick unleashed its wide-open passing attack to take the lead in the third quarter, then used its ground game to run the Rebels over on Friday to score a stunning 42-32 MVAL Antietam victory over South to derail all aspirations of a perfect season.

Collin Nusbaum hit on 32 of 50 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns in the ’Roaders’ spread offense and was backed by Joey Conrad’s 70 yards and two scores on the ground to knock the Rebels from the ranks of the undefeated.

South (8-1, 4-1) had been on a nine-game winning streak over two seasons and was in quest of its first undefeated season in 50 years. The Rebels entered the game as the No. 22-ranked team in the latest Maryland Media State Poll and were the No. 3 seed in the Class 3A West standings.

The Railroaders (5-4, 3-2) took all of that and shoved it into a boxcar.

“Our offense just couldn’t match their offensive output,” said South coach Toby Peer. “We didn’t capitalize on all of our opportunities tonight and that hurt us.”

South forced three Brunswick turnovers, but didn’t get the maximum return.

Meanwhile, Brunswick kept the Rebels moving backwards, forcing the Rebels to tackle the ball to get one last turnover in a game that appeared destined to be decided by which team had the ball last.

“We were telling the kids all night, Brunswick’s offense was like a basketball team that shoots a lot of 3s.” Peer said. “Some nights they hit a lot of them and some nights they don’t. For Brunswick, they pitch and catch the ball a lot. Some nights they hook up a lot and some nights they don’t.

“Tonight, they did, and they executed well.”

Brunswick was able to bottle up running back Isiaha Smith for the first half, but he came alive and scored on a 54-yard run on the first play of the third quarter, which put the Rebels ahead 19-15. The junior rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, leaving him 29 yards short of 2,000 at 1,971 yards. He was hampered late in the game with a bruised back, which slowed him slightly.

Still, the Railroaders were on the fast track.

Brunswick took a 7-0 lead with 5:58 to go in the first quarter as Nusbaum passed the ’Roaders into the red zone to set up a 2-yard score by Conrad for a 7-0 lead.

South immediately answered, engineering a 56-yard drive behind the running of Smith and quarterback Brandon Jackson. Smith scored from the 1, but the Rebels missed the extra point to trail 7-6 after one quarter.

The Railroaders extended their lead in the second quarter as Nusbaum found Blaine Price on an 11-yard swing pass to the left pylon. Jacob Struss added the conversion run to give Brunswick a 15-6 lead with 7:34 to go in the half.

Smith answered with a 7-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 15-13. The Rebels just missed taking the lead in the final minute in the half, coming up empty on two shots into the end zone.

“There were two times that we were in the red zone and didn’t score in the first quarter,” Peer said. “That’s 14 points. It didn’t have that much to do with us as much as what it did with how Brunswick played. They executed well.”

The second half became a shootout, starting with Smith’s 54-yard run.

After that, Brunswick started to mix in its ground attack and caught South off guard.

David Moore scored his first of two touchdowns to give Brunswick the lead back, before Jackson found Noah Wright on a 6-yard pass to give South a 26-23 lead after three quarters.

Conrad scored his second touchdown and Nusbaum found Tim Harrison for a scoring pass to reestablish a lead that the Railroaders didn’t relinquish.

South got back into the game late when Jackson hit Michael Hill with a 46-yard touchdown pass, but it wasn’t enogh.

South finished with 376 yards of offense, but it paled to Brunswick’s 503-yard output.

“It would have been nice to be undefeated, but we’re not,” Peer said. “Now we have to regroup, focus and find a game plan to face North (Hagerstown).”

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