|November 2, 2018 @ School Stadium; Hagerstown, MD|
|HAGERSTOWN, MD ---- Jayswah Sanon gave a speech that was almost Oscar-worthy.
It was fitting.
Sanon had all the kind words and complimentary statements after a victory.
Not just any victory. South Hagerstown’s 43-0 victory over North Hagerstown on Friday in the Gridiron Classic could end up being a signature win for the Rebels program. It was definitely worth a speech.
“I don’t like running in the rain,” Sanon said. “But we adapted.
“We worked on it all week, but I couldn’t have done any of it without the line. All the credit goes to my boss hogs. And certain plays just hit for us. The coaches made great calls for us and we ran them real well.”
Sanon more than did his part in what was the last regular-season game in his high school career. The senior rushed for 233 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries. At times, he did it while marching in place in the muck, patiently waiting for holes to accelerate through, en route to scoring on runs of 3, 79 and 14 yards.
Once he hit those openings, it was over for the Hubs (5-5), thanks to his line and his coaches’ calls.
“It’s just like Jayswah said,” South coach David Lawrence said after completing an 8-2 season in his first year. “So much of this goes to the offensive line and it is a testament to our coaching staff. We felt good about our running game in this weather.”
It couldn’t have come at a better time. The win was South’s sixth straight against its cross-town rival, giving the Rebels a 31-30-1 edge in the series.
More importantly, it virtually sealed South’s berth in the Class 3A West playoffs and a first-ever postseason home game.
It came in a torrential rainstorm that made School Stadium’s field more suited for monster trucks than football.
It didn’t seem to bother the Rebels, who stuck pretty much to the game that got them to this point.
For North, it was a different story. The rain drained the Hubs’ chances.
“Our passing game sets up our running game,” said North coach Greg Stains. “We tried to throw on the first play and the ball slipped out of (quarterback Jaynaz Melendez’s) hand. We had eight snap fumbles. These last two weeks of the season weren’t conducive for that.”
South got the ball rolling on its second possession with Sanon running seven times — the first four and the last three — on an 11-play ground-only drive. Sanon cashed in from the 3 and Tyler Johnson added his first of five extra points to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
“They run that ‘truck’ play of theirs and they run it well,” Stains said. “The field was right at home for them.”
As the rain strengthened and the field deteriorated, running the ball was the only choice.
South only attempted two passes and North put up three — one being intercepted — for the game. The Hubs had little success running against the Rebels’ defense, which strung out plays and made for a tough night for North’s AJ Cook.
“We have a good quarterback (Timmy Townsend) and we didn’t use him because of the loose footing,” Lawrence said. “Every snap was a tense moment because of the rain and what could happen.
“We preached ball security all week. The No. 1 factor between wins and losses are turnovers.”
South rolled on. Eric McDonald went around left end for 70 yards on South’s next possession. Ty Keith ran in the two-point conversion to give the Rebels a 15-0 lead with 29.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Khalil Booker scored from the 1 with 5:55 left in the half to give South a 22-0 advantage at intermission.
The sealing blow came on the first play of the second half when Sanon took a handoff and went around right end for his 79-yard score for a 29-0 lead.
Four minutes later, Sanon went left for a 14-yard score for a 36-0 lead with 7:39 left in the third quarter, which started the running clock.
Townsend added an 8-yard TD with 3:41 remaining to finish the scoring.
North’s best drive of the night stalled on downs at the South 25. Cook led the Hubs with 102 yards rushing as North finished with 103 yards of offense.
McDonald added 93 yards rushing for the Rebels, who finished with 499 yards of offense, all on the ground.
Now, as South waits for its playoff call, Lawrence had a chance to practice his own Oscar speech.
“We couldn’t have written a better story,” he said. “This isn’t about me (and my first year). It’s all about the kids and our coaches. This is all icing on the cake.”
|October 26, 2018 @ Spring Mills HS; Martinsburg, WV|
|SPRING MILLS, W.Va. — As North Hagerstown walked to the Spring Mills fieldhouse at halftime, third-string quarterback Ryan Clark lagged behind, limping with his arm around a coach.
The moment summarized the night for the injury-riddled Hubs, who were playing without their top two rushers (AJ Cook and Scott Neal) and lost starting QB Jaynaz Melendez to injury in the first quarter.
With the ankle injuries to Clark and Melendez, North struggled to get things going offensively and the Cardinals took advantage, scoring 34 unanswered points in a 34-9 victory.
"I think the injuries say it all," said North coach Greg Stains, "because they're the guys we rely on every day. It's just a different team.
"We go up by nine and Jaynaz gets hurt and can't go, Clark can't go."
Forced to throw running back Chase McCoy behind center in the second half, the Hubs (5-4) lost the ability to pass the ball.
As a result, North had to run the ball on 16 of its 19 second-half plays. The Hubs were only able to gain 23 yards in the second half, with Spring Mills (4-5) frequently getting through the North offensive line.
"I put a lot of emphasis on the offensive line," Stains said. "I told them I don't care who's back there, we should be able to run the ball and perform up front. I'm pretty disappointed with our effort all the way around."
After falling behind 9-0 in the opening eight minutes, the Cardinals started to gain some momentum in the second quarter.
Spring Mills got on the board as quarterback Evin Hurt — starting in place of injured starter Keon Padmore-Johnson — connected with Robert Parchment for a 4-yard TD to trim the deficit to 9-7 early in the second quarter.
Six minutes later, Hurt found Mason Williams for a 27-yard score to give the Cardinals a 14-9 lead.
After North fumbled on its opening drive of the second half, Caleb Tenney broke free for a 20-yard touchdown to put Spring Mills up 21-9.
The Cardinals scored twice in a 90 second span in early in the fourth quarter to put the Hubs away. Hurt scored from 6 yards on a read option and Zion Stanard went 84 yards for a touchdown to make it 34-9.
"You've got to give Spring Mills some due," Stains said. "They came out and did some things we didn't see on film."
Hurt finished with 235 total yards (133 passing, 102 rushing) and Tenney had 77 rushing yards to lead Spring Mills. North was held under 100 yards for the game.
"They didn't do anything differently," Stains said. "We knew what front they were going to bring. They blitzed a few more times than we anticipated, but they knew we were behind the 8-ball without having a quarterback."
Stains is hopeful the Hubs will get Cook and Neal back for the season finale in the Gridiron Classic against South Hagerstown.