to Possible State Berth
Photos: Laurel tailback Jermel Horsey finds room, while Milford fullback Prince Kemmerlin prepares for contact.
Publisher, Sussex County Online
MILFORD -- The Laurel High School football team continued its march to a possible state tournament berth with a key 14-0 victory over host Milford on Friday, Oct. 18, 2002.
The Bulldogs' convincing victory in a battle of second-place teams in the Henlopen Conference Southern Division puts them in prime position for a possible Division II state tourney slot.
Now 2-1 in the Henlopen South and 5-1 overall, the Bulldogs trail Delmar, Indian River and Smyrna in the division but with victories over two Division I teams already to its credit, they can virtually clinch a berth with wins over Indian River and Smyrna in the next two weeks.
Milford, meanwhile, saw its hopes for a state tournament berth dashed after dropping to 0-2 in the division and 3-3 overall. While out of the division race, the Bucs still have some hope for a state tourney spot with games remaining against IR and Smyrna.
Against Milford, it was all about defense as Laurel manhandled the Bucs' explosive offense. Except for a brief flurry on a late drive when the Bucs used a series of counters by Karel Devore to reach the Bulldog 4, the Bulldogs completely shut Milford down.
The Bucs couldn't register their initial first down until just 3:20 remained in the first half, and for the game, they managed only 78 total yards, including just 2 through the air.
Of those 76 yards, 49 came on Milford's last drive courtesy of Devore. That drive, however, ended with 2:23 remaining in the game when the Bulldogs stuffed Milford quarterback Jon Statton on fourth and one at the Laurel 4.
The Bulldog defense was particularly impressive in the first half, as it held Laurel to just 21 yards, picked off Stratton three times, sacked him once, tackled the Bucs twice for losses, and allowed just one first down.
The interceptions included a key pick on the final play of the first half after the Bucs, following a Laurel interception, returned the favor with an interception by defensive back R.J. Chandler, who returned the ball 33 yards to Laurel's 24 with 1:18 to go in the half.
Unable to budge Laurel's defense, the Bucs, on the half's last play, attempted a pass into the end zone but Laurel defensive back Davey Allison made a beautiful one-handed grab of the pass to preserve Laurel's 6-0 halftime lead.
Laurel had taken that lead with 8:51 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by tailback Jermel Horsey. The score was set up by a 39-yard toss from quarterback Andy Hartstein to end Anton Ridley to the 1-yard-line following an interception by defensive back Jeremy Jones.
The Bulldogs added their second score on a nifty 11-yard run by reserve tailback Devry Hill, who subbed for the injured Horsey in the second half and finished with 60 yards on 13 carries.
Horsey and fullback Chris Horsey had led the Bulldog ground attack to that point with 87 and 69 yards, respectively, but Hill carried the load in the fourth quarter.
8:51 -- LAUREL (7-0 Laurel)
11:16 -- LAUREL (14-0 Laurel)
Total Offense -- Laurel 59-260, Milford 41-78.
First Downs -- Laurel 12, Milford 7.
Rushing -- Laurel 48-207, Milford 33-76.
Passing -- Laurel 2-11-1, 53; Milford 1-7-3, 2.
Fumbles/Lost -- Laurel 0/0, Milford 1/1.
Penalties/Yards -- Laurel 8-48, Milford 2-20.
Laurel -- Jermel Horsey 17-87, Chris Horsey 13-69, Andy Hartstein 5-(-9), DeVry Hill 13-60.
Milford -- R.J. Chandler 12-16, Prince Kemmerlin 3-9, Jon Stratton 6-(-8), Donte Tilghman 4-23, Karel Devore 7-40, Rashad Waples 1-(-4).
Laurel -- Andy Hartstein 2-11-1, 53.
Milford -- Jon Stratton 1-7-3, 2.
Laurel -- Anton Ridley 1-39, Chris Horsey 1-14.
Milford -- Akeem Bunch 1-2.
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