Smithsburg blanks Joppatowne, 21-0

November 19, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

There were two things about the visiting Smithsburg Leopards last night that made it nearly impossible for Joppatowne to win its Class 1A quarterfinal game.

They were big and angry.

With the Leopards' large offensive front controlling the line of scrimmage, and the Washington County team seeking redemption after last week's tough loss to Boonsboro, Joppatowne never had a chance in its 21-0 loss.

The Mariners (7-4) gained just 72 yards on offense, never really threatening the end zone.

Meanwhile, Smithsburg -- led by running back Billy Reuter (22 carries for 102 yards, two touchdowns) -- racked up 218 yards -- all but 14 on the ground.

"That's our game -- it's the way we've been doing it all year," said Carroll Reid, Smithsburg's 26th-year head coach, whose teams have won four state titles, the last coming in 1988. "We ran our game to perfection in the first half.

"They just wanted this, period."

Joppatowne, however, didn't look like a team that entered the game averaging 23 points a game.

"We were just flat," said Joppatowne coach John Kling, whose team hurt its cause with numerous penalties.

"The second half we came out and got a little bit of momentum, but penalties killed us.

"We've seen bigger than this and we've seen much better than this. I think it was more a case of us just being flat."

Smithsburg (9-2), the tournament's fifth seed, advances to next weekend's state semifinal against the winner of today's game between top-seeded Beall and No. 8 seed Bohemia Manor.

If the Leopards' offensive line plays as well as yesterday, however, the Western Maryland team can write its ticket to the state finals.

Its line took control of the game early, helping break on top on the game's opening possession.

Smithsburg drove 59 yards on 14 plays, capped off by Reuter's 2-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with 4:57 to play in the first quarter.

"I owe it all to my offensive line," said Reuter of the Leopards' front consisting of Lonnie Baswell, Scott Hoffman, Brian Nusseer, Jeremy Kretsinger and Jimmy Koontz.

"All we knew about them was that they were quick, so we just tried to come in here and play our game."

The Leopards controlled the ball for nearly seven minutes on the drive, as Reuter and fellow running back Brian Catania carried the ball on all but one play, mostly straight up the middle.

L Together, the two ran for 88 yards on 15 first-half carries.

Smithsburg extended its lead to 14-0 later in the half on a similar drive.

The Leopards went 45 yards on nine plays, with running back Kris Dietrich dragging tacklers for the final 14 yards on a counter to the left with 3:35 to play before halftime.

Joppatowne's best drive of the game was stopped midway through the third quarter.

After driving to inside Smithsburg's 30, the Mariners, faced with a fourth-and-20, kept their drive alive thanks to a Leopards penalty. But it went downhill from there.

First, quarterback Matt Berger was sacked for an 8-yard loss by Smithsburg's Elmer Sewell. Then, two plays later, Berger's long pass attempt was picked off by Paul Krot with 5:08 left in the quarter.

Joppatowne again looked to be in scoring position early in the fourth quarter, but Lamar Williams' 66-yard kickoff return to the Smithsburg 4 was called back for an illegal block.

Smithsburg finished the scoring late in the fourth quarter on Reuter's 26-yard touchdown run.

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