Intimidation was clearly not a factor for the Howard football team Friday night. One week after Hammond completed 31 passes for 440 yards in a 47-38 win over previously undefeated River Hill, snapping the Hawks' 30-game win streak, visiting Howard (6-2) held the vaunted Golden Bears' offense in check in a 26-7 win.
"Our kids did a great job. We thought we had a good game plan coming into the game, trying to take away what they like to do and make them do other things. We were willing to give them some stuff, but the kids executed the game plan and played hard," Howard coach Bruce Strunk said.
The Lions took a 20-point halftime lead on rushing touchdowns of 18 and 3 yards by running back Terrell Charles, and a 29-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Sheahin to Keenan Fischer.
Hammond finally broke through with less than two minutes left in the third quarter on a 96-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Martin to John Mbah, and the Hammond defense stopped the Lions on their next drive. But on the ensuing punt play, Howard's Shane Kieta recovered the ball after it bounced off of a Hammond player's leg, and Charles (33 carries, 228 yards) scored his third touchdown of the game on a 12-yard run five plays later.
Najee Savage rushed 19 times for 89 yards for Howard
"It was just a tough game but we're going to have to play through it. We came out a little bit weak in the first half," Mbah said. "We're just going to pick back up and prepare for next week ... this game just let us know that anybody can get it any week."
Martin completed 10 of his 26 pass attempts for 187 yards, and was sacked seven times — six in the second half — for a total loss of 43 yards.
"Our secondary really prepared, watched a lot of film and definitely got to know their quarterback and their tendencies, our linebackers played a great game, our defensive line put pressure on their quarterback, which obviously put them into bad situations, that helped us a lot," said senior Peter Emery, who sacked Martin for a 9-yard loss in the fourth quarter.
Winston Delattiboudere (-11, -4), Brett Schaefer (-10), Zack Robinson (-5), Eric Martinez (-3) and Kyle Walker (-1) also made sacks for the Lions.
"We knew that the quarterback was going to scramble and try to get a good pass off as best he could, so we really worked on trying to rush the passer and if we got too far upfield we rolled back and made sure we contained him. Sometimes we let him out but we kept pressure on him the whole game," Emery said.
The win strengthens Howard's hopes of qualifying for the 4A North regional playoffs, but makes things difficult for Hammond (5-3), which entered the week holding onto the fourth and final spot in the 2A South.
Ho (6-2) 7 13 0 6 - 26
Ha (5-3) 0 0 7 0 - 7
Ho: Charles 18 run (Travisano kick), 6:29.
Ho: Fischer 29 pass from Sheahin (Travisano kick), 5:55.
Ho: Charles 3 run (kick blocked by Stoughtenger), :46.
Ha: Mbah 96 pass from Martin (Najafabadi kick), 1:58.
Ho: Charles 12 run (run failed), 9:06.
Around the league
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Jared Jacoby rushed for 119 yards including a 10-yard touchdown to lead the Gladiators (7-1) past Centennial (5-3) in a key 3A East showdown.