Cumberland Times-News

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September 28, 2013

Hampshire rolls over Mountain Ridge, 37-20

Ennis’ early TD passes spark 3-1 Trojans win

FROSTBURG — Shane Ennis was nearly perfect in the first half and the Hampshire Trojans weren’t too shabby in the second, either, as they built a commanding lead and rolled past Mountain Ridge, 37-20, Friday evening at Miners’ Stadium.

Ennis, a 6-foot-3 senior quarterback, completed 6 of 8 passes for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first half, and had a short touchdown run that put Hampshire up 30-0 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.

Dale Bryson and Dane Heavener had touchdown catches. Bryson finished with three catches for 122 yards and Heavener had three for 78, all in the first half.

“I’m not opposed to throwing the ball, and Shane has been on target. He’s been throwing the ball great all year,’’ said Hampshire coach Darren Grace, whose team has won three of its first four games.

“I’m happy with the three wins. Our big problem is staying healthy. We’ve been riddled with injuries.”

Bryson and Heavener had shoulder injuries heading into the game and both were dinged up in the first half. Heavener stayed in the game but Bryson did not return after halftime.

Fullback Dalton Clower and halfback Lucas Powers, who had long touchdown runs in the second half, were also returning from injuries. Clower (8 carries, 103 yards) had been out since the second game with a sprained knee and Powers (18 carries, 92 yards) had been out since the opener because of a concussion.

The Trojans had tackle Zach Reynolds miss most of the game with an injury last night.

The Friday night magic that Mountain Ridge had a week ago in a 35-21 win at Allegany was missing in the Miners’ home opener. Mountain Ridge quarterback Michael Strietbeck injured a knee on the opening series and was unable to return until the second half.

His absence caused problems and the Miners never did get the offense, which piled up 407 yards a week ago, into gear. Mountain Ridge had 54 yards total in the first half against the Trojans.

“We lost our continuity when he went down. But when something like that happens, the rest of the team has to step it up. We were in a lull for a while, and when we finally got out of it in the second half, we were not able to recover.

“Hampshire’s a good football team. I thought we had a great week of practice and it would carry us through any over confidence and that the guys had put Allegany behind them,’’ said Mountain Ridge head coach Roy DeVore. “But Hampshire did a great job on defense on Rashawn (Johnson) and their quarterback did a fine job. They came to play. They played hard and they played well.”

The 30-0 hole was far too deep for the Miners to dig their way out of, although Strietbeck did throw for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter — a 27-yarder to Zach Beal and a 12-yarder to Cody Stephens.

Rashawn Johnson scored on a 74-yard kickoff return in the third quarter and finished with 28 carries and 100 yards. He had 64 of the 100 yards in the second half.

“Our defense played well and we knew Rashawn Johnson was a shifty runner and likes to cut back,’’ said Grace. “He’s a very good running back. We worked hard on our pursuit and tried to keep him inside and eliminate his cutbacks, and I thought we did a decent job of that.”

Johnson returned the opening kickoff 50 yards and it appeared the Miners were going to pick up where they left off a week ago, but Charles McDonald picked off a pass by Strietbeck, who hurt his knee on the play, and the Trojans marched 82 yards in six plays. The big plays were a 60-yard pass play to Bryson to the Mountain Ridge 27, and a 25-yard touchdown strike to Heavener in the end zone.

It remained just 6-0 until late in the half when Ennis found a streaking Bryson behind the secondary and hit him in stride with a 48-yard touchdown pass with 3:25 to go. The play began a string of four straight Hampshire possessions that ended in points.

A 34-yard pass to Heavener and a 14-yarder to Bryson in the final 19 seconds of the half led to a 30-yard field goal by Evan Staley and a 16-0 halftime lead.

On the third play of the second half, Clower went up the gut, got to the sideline and went untouched on a 47-yard touchdown run. Dennis Hammons dashed 49 yards on a reverse to set up the next score, a three-yard sneak by Ennis, that made it 30-0.

Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to get the Miners on the board. Strietbeck’s TD strikes to Beal and Stephens came in the fourth quarter, as did a 56-yard sprint by Lucas Powers for Hampshire’s final score.

Second-half play deteriorated at times into a foul fest, as the teams combined for 20 penalties and 182 penalty yards in the final two periods. There were several unsportsmanlike calls on both sides. Johnson was flagged for two in the fourth quarter, was ejected, and will be ineligible to play next week at Frankfort.

Hampshire will host Keyser on Friday. After next week’s game at Frankfort, four of Mountain Ridge’s final five games will be at home.

Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at mmathews@times-news.com

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