But in the last three weeks, the Hubs’ defense has more than pulled its weight.
North forced four Boonsboro turnovers and dished out several big hits to help the Hubs lash the Warriors 40-12 Friday night in an MVAL Antietam game at Mike Callas Stadium.
It was the seventh straight win for the Hubs (8-1, 5-0), who are now in first place in the conference by themselves after South Hagerstown’s loss to Brunswick.
“The defense has really been setting the tone lately,” said North coach Dan Cunningham. “Coach (Roy) Shoemaker put together a great game plan and the defense was on. They came to play tonight.”
North’s offense did its part, too, scoring more than 35 points for the sixth straight week and the seventh time this season.
Isaiah Keyes ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns as the Hubs rolled up 362 yards on the ground. Kyle Hewlett added 91 yards on 20 carries.
“We made a couple of stops, a lot of plays that we did well. But at some point, athleticism takes over,” Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders said. “When their backs get into the second level, they’re tough. They’re really good.”
The Hubs made Boonsboro (7-2, 3-2) pay for its first two turnovers. Tre Anderson recovered a Justin Jardeleza fumble at the Boonsboro 15 and three plays later, Keyes dived into the end zone from the 4-yard line to give North a 6-0 lead.
The Warriors gained a bit of momentum later in the first quarter when Reiker Bowles picked off a pass from Nick Karlen deep in Boonsboro territory.
But North recovered another Jardeleza fumble moments later to turn the tide back to the Hubs.
North drove inside the 5 as the second quarter began. Boonsboro jumped on a Preston Carey fumble after a 1-yard gain, but officials ruled Carey was down when the ball came loose. On the next play, Carey swept around left end for a 4-yard score and a 13-0 lead.
“We took advantage of the short field when we had it,” Cunningham said. “That makes life so much easier on the offense when they know the defense is out there wreaking havoc on people.”
Zach Poffenberger returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to the North 31. From there, the Warriors needed just three plays to hit paydirt as Ryan Ruiz punched it in from the 1.
North responded with its best sustained drive of the night, a 12-play, 76-yard jaunt that ended with Keyes going in from the 3 to give North a 19-6 advantage.
The Hubs forced a Boonsboro punt with just 50 seconds left in the first half and Keyes helped North put the game out of reach.
He ran for 11 yards on first down from the North 16. After a 7-yard gain, he broke off a 62-yard dash that started right and ended out of bounds at the 4-yard line on the opposite sideline. Two plays later, Karlen scored on a keeper with 8 seconds left for a 26-6 halftime margin.
“You hate to give up a score right before the half like that. We certainly didn’t help ourselves much with that,” Anders said. “There were periods when we didn’t compete well, and that left us with a big hole.”
North’s defense kept up the intensity in the second half as Anderson leveled Boonsboro quarterback Chad Cowden as he delivered a pass, which was picked off by Trey King.
Anderson later contributed on offense, scoring on an 80-yard catch-and-run from Karlen to give the Hubs a 33-6 lead.
Keyes added his third touchdown run — an 18-yarder — in the fourth quarter.
Jardeleza caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Cowden to close out the scoring.
North Hagerstown 40, Boonsboro 12
Boonsboro 0 6 0 6 — 12
N. Hagerstown 6 20 7 7 — 40
NH — Isaiah Keyes 4 run (kick blocked)
NH — Preston Carey 4 run (Mark Grunberg kick)
B — Ryan Ruiz 1 run (kick failed)
NH — Keyes 3 run (pass failed)
NH — Nick Karlen 2 run (Grunberg kick)
NH — Tre Anderson 80 pass from Karlen (Grunberg kick)
NH — Keyes 18 run (Grunberg kick)
B — Justin Jardeleza 19 pass from Chad Cowden (run failed)