Long Reach again gains upper hand on Howard Conwell's 3 TDs spark Lightning to 37-14 victory

October 18, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Long Reach knew another loss would end its faint playoff hopes. But the defending regional champion Lightning also realized that a loss to neighborhood rival Howard could have had more severe consequences.

Devin Conwell ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns as Long Reach retained the ever-important area bragging rights over the Lions for the third straight year, blasting them, 37-14, yesterday. Conwell and fellow running backs Chris Brooks and Myron Jones combined for 306 yards rushing for the Lightning (4-3, 3-3 in Howard County).

"I think we just wanted it more," Conwell said. "We knew we had to win this one and the next four. We worked extra hard this week in practice to prepare for this game."

Howard (5-2, 4-2), which trailed 16-14 at halftime, had no answers for bigger and quicker Long Reach in the second half. The Lions only crossed into Lightning territory once in the final 33 minutes and finished with just 170 yards of total offense for the game.

Much of the Lions' ineffectiveness could be attributed to Conwell, who doubles as Long Reach's top linebacker. With defensive linemen James Burckhardt (320 pounds) and Douron Batson (290) clogging up holes, Howard attempted to run wide and off tackle, which usually set up helmet-to-helmet collisions with Conwell.

"He's the best linebacker and the best player in the county, second to none," Long Reach coach Pete Hughes said.

As a result, Howard running back Gerald Smith, who had 160 yards and three touchdowns last week, was limited to 25 yards yesterday against Long Reach. And the quick pursuing Lightning defense made its mark as four of Smith's 12 carries ended behind the line of scrimmage.

"Our goal was to stop him and make somebody else beat us," said Hughes, whose defense held Smith to 15 yards on 12 carries last year. "We came in with the best defense in the county as far as points are allowed. So 14 points is a disappointment. We're not used to giving up that many points."

But a Long Reach offense which racked up 358 yards of total offense offset those two Howard touchdowns as well as two Lightning turnovers and 65 yards of penalties.

After three lead changes in the first half, Long Reach went ahead for good on a 2-yard dive by quarterback Stewart Long with 3: 49 left in the second quarter, capping a 14-play, 73-yard drive.

The margin ballooned to 37-14 by the middle of the fourth, as Long Reach received a 17-yard touchdown run by Jones, along with scores of 7 and 5 yards by Conwell.

"They're a physical team and in the end, they just started wearing us down," Howard coach Vince Parnell said.

Glenelg 42, Atholton 0: Zach McQuigg completed 16 of 27 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Gladiators (2-5) over the Raiders (1-6).

Vince Pirro scored on runs of 4 and 2 yards and McQuigg threw his first touchdown to give the Gladiators a 21-0 halftime lead. Glenelg had 342 yards on offense.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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