Since Oakland Mills got run over for more than 500 yards in a Week 6 loss at Glenelg, the Scorpions have been looking for an opportunity to reassert themselves. They found it on Friday night when the Scorpions (7-1) handed River Hill its first loss of the season, 28-21.
"We knew they were a good team so we came out and punched them in the mouth and played hard all four quarters," said Oakland Mills junior Larry Aaron, who had two sacks, three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. "This was our best defensive game. We stopped the run, which is something that a lot of people said we couldn't do. This was one of the biggest games of our lives and we fought hard."
After two shutouts to start the season, Oakland Mills allowed 30 points or more in four of the next five games, including the 35-6 loss at Glenelg.
"Glenelg ran all over us, and people said Oakland Mills can't stop the run," Aaron said. "We came out here and stopped the run, the offense scored points, and we won the game."
Oakland Mills senior quarterback David Pindell scored four rushing touchdowns, three in the first half.
River Hill's only score in the first half came on a 68-yard Jon Kanda touchdown run midway through the second quarter.
The Scorpions scored again on their first drive of the second half on Pindell's final touchdown run to go ahead 28-7, and it looked like they were on their way to a blowout.
But River Hill came back with a series of big plays. First, Trey Simpson scored on a 62-yard touchdown run three plays into the fourth quarter. Two plays into Oakland Mills' ensuing drive, Uwa Okojie forced a fumble which Kanda recovered. Less than a minute later, Kanda ran into the end zone from 15 yards out to make it a one-score game.
Oakland Mills' next drive took more than six minutes and ended inside the River Hill 15-yard line when the Hawks finally got a stop on 4th and 3. They managed to get back to midfield before turning the ball over on downs themselves on a pass play over the middle broken up by Shawn Harris with less than a minute remaining.
Using both of its remaining timeouts and four defensive stops, River Hill got the ball back with one second left on the Oakland Mills 30-yard line. Quarterback Noah Thyberg completed a pass to Kanda at the five-yard line as time expired, but Jordan Campbell wrapped up the big receiver where he caught the ball to end the game.
"That was hold your breath and hope somebody knocks it down and there are no flags," Oakland Mills coach Tom Browne said. "We wish we could have had a little more breathing room there at the end but it's a win."
After its 32-3 win over Hammond (3-5) on Friday, Howard is now the last undefeated team in Howard County. River Hill will host the Lions next Friday at 4:30 for a chance to get back into the county title race.
RH (7-1) 0 7 0 14 - 21
OM (7-1) 7 14 7 0 - 28
OM: Pindell 41 run (Zovko kick), 8:31. [7-0]
OM: Pindell 3 run (Zovko kick), 11:30. [14-0]
RH: Kanda 68 run (McGeehan kick), 7:14. [14-7]
OM: Pindell 6 run (Zovko kick), 3:02. [21-7]
OM: Pindell 1 run (Zovko kick), 9:46. [28-7]
RH: Simpson 62 run (McGeehan kick), 11:29. [28-14]
RH: Kanda 15 run (McGeehan kick), 9:57. [28-21]
Around the league
Howard 32, Hammond 3
Marriotts Ridge 43, Long Reach 0
Wilde Lake 32, Reservoir 14
Saturday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m.
Atholton (2-5) at Mt. Hebron (3-4)
Centennial (0-7) at Glenelg (4-3)