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High-octane Huskies prove too much for Wolverines

Tuscarora’s offensive line creates space for senior quarterback Daniel Smith to leap and cross the ball over the goal line in the second quarter for one of his four touchdown runs.—Times-Mirror/Doug Stroud
To say Tuscarora High School's offense was clicking on all cylinders would be an understatement.

The Huskies scored touchdowns on nine consecutive possessions en route to a 63-49 victory against an explosive North Stafford squad in a 5A North Region semifinal game played on a glorious Nov. 27 afternoon at Fortune Field in Leesburg.

The victory earned No. 2 seed Tuscarora (13-0) a spot in the region championship game. The defending 5A North champion Huskies will host Conference 14 foe Stone Bridge (9-4) for the region title and a spot in the VHSL 5A state championship game Dec. 4 or 5 at Fortune Field.

Stone Bridge, the region's fifth seed, overcame a double-digit deficit to upset No. 1 seed Massaponax 50-49 on Friday night in the other 5A North semifinal game.

"That would be a great game," Tuscarora coach Mike Burnett said of playing Stone Bridge, prior to the Bulldogs' win. Tuscarora handily defeated Stone Bridge 42-19 in the regular season, though the Bulldogs were limited due to injuries in that game.

"You want their best players against our best players," Burnett continued. "I just love playing [at home] for obvious reasons."

The Huskies extended their home winning streak to 18 games with the 14-point victory over North Stafford. Tuscarora has won 27 of its last 28 games overall, dating back to the start of the 2014 season.

Trailing 7-0 after one quarter, Tuscarora exploded for four touchdowns in the second quarter and three more in the third to build a 49-35 lead. Senior James Douglas' 54-yard touchdown run with a little less than three minutes left in regulation put the game out of reach.

Douglas finished with 188 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Daniel Smith accounted for six touchdowns - four rushing and two passing. Smith produced 394 yards of offense - rushing for 230 yards and completing 11 of 13 passes for 164 yards.

"In the second quarter and second half, we were just owning them up front and that opened up a lot of things for our offense," said Smith, crediting the Huskies' offensive line. "High scoring games are a lot of fun for an offense."

North Stafford (9-4) enjoyed plenty of offensive fireworks of its own. Quarterback Jimmy Edwards passed for nearly 400 yards and five touchdowns - three of those scores going to 6-foot-3, 220-pound target Guy Keith, who hauled in eight receptions for 191 yards.

Despite allowing 49 points, Tuscarora was able to force two punts and senior Jonathan Roebuck intercepted a pair of passes.

"We have a lot of players that don't have a lot of experience," Burnett said of his defense. "We graduated 10 guys on that side of the ball. At times, we are outmatched a little bit. But we have to get better."

"Today was really a matter of not being able to defend a monstrous receiver," Burnett continued. "We put everybody back there. At that point, you have to tip your hat. I'm sure they felt the same way about Daniel. Thankfully, we got the stops when we needed them."

Tuscarora 63, North Stafford 49

-First Quarter
NS: Morton 45 run (Machi kick) 9:56

-Second Quarter
T: Douglas 1 run (Elmellouki kick) 10:26
T: Smith 4 pass to Speroni (Elmellouki kick) 5:37
NS: Edwards 56 pass to Ford (Machi kick) 3:34
T: Smith 1 run (Elmellouki kick) 1:48
NS: Edwards 80 pass to Keith (Machi kick) 1:33
NS: Edwards 40 pass to Davis (Machi kick) 1:05
T: Smith 17 run (Elmellouki kick) 0:23

-Third Quarter
T: Smith 21 run (Elmellouki kick) 7:31
T: Smith 12 pass to Biebighauser (Elmellouki kick) 4:05
NS: Kauthan 4 run (Machi kick) 1:21
T: Douglas 40 run (Elmellouki kick) 0:11

-Fourth Quarter
NS: Edwards 12 pass to Keith (Machi kick) 10:51
T: Smith 16 run (Elmellouki kick) 7:17
T: Douglas 54 run (Elmellouki kick) 2:50
NS: Edwards 11 pass to Keith (Machi kick) 1:27

THS offensive leaders

-Rushing: Smith (16-230-4), Douglas (33-188-3)

-Passing: Smith (11 of 13 for 164 yards, 2 TD)

-Receiving: Speroni (4-55-1), Washington (2-50), Biebighauser (2-17-1), Roebuck (2-25), Sampson (1-17)

-Photos by Doug Stroud


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