River Hill football clinches at least share of county title with fourth straight shut out

The last time Wilde Lake’s football team stepped onto the field at River Hill back in 2010, the Wildecats knocked off the Hawks, 13-7, to win the Class 3A East Regional championship.

On Friday night, Wilde Lake walked off that same field with a different feeling.

Senior running back Stephan Osong scored three touchdowns and the River Hill defense picked up its sixth shutout of the season as it cruised to a 37-0 victory.

“We wanted to win the battle upfront and take it to them,” Osong said. “We wanted to pound them until they gave up … They beat us here two years ago and we have a banner (in the locker room) from 2010 that says ‘Wilde Lake shocks River Hill.’ Everyone took a second, read it and used it tonight.”

The win clinched at least a share of the Howard County title, and River Hill can win it outright next week by beating Howard.

“This county is getting tougher and tougher,” Hawks coach Brian Van Deusen said. “It’s got to be one of, if not the toughest county in the state. Four of the last five state champions (in the Class 3A) have come through this county. Anytime you can win this county it’s a good thing. But our focus is getting better each week.”

River Hill dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball – limiting Wilde Lake to just 28 yards on the ground while racking 223 rushing yards on offense.

The Hawks marched 71 yards down the field on the opening possession of the game – all on the ground – before settling for a 27-yard field goal by Alex Potocko to take a 3-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Osong helped his team blow the game open. First, he went up the middle for a one-yard touchdown run to cap another long drive.

After the defense backed the Wildecats up to their own 16-yard line, Osong came free and blocked a punt attempt. The ball rolled into the end zone and he scooped it up, pushing River Hill’s lead to 17-0.

Later in the quarter, the senior broke several tackles and rumbled 19-yards down the left sideline to another score.

The Kirby brothers – junior lineman Logan and sophomore linebacker Brian – were catalysts for the Hawks defense. The duo combined for 11 tackles and each added a sack. Anthony Corrao added two sacks and Jason Park recovered a fumble.

“A lot of credit goes to our defense. This is our fourth shutout in a row,” Van Deusen said. “Justin Nestor and Logan Kirby on that left side really helped us going against their big front.”

Wilde Lake – playing without two starting lineman – had trouble protecting quarterback Spencer Ampofo and creating holes for the run game. Ampofo threw for 103 yards, with 95 going to Malik Jackson.

“The kids played hard and they didn’t quit in the football game,” Wildecats coach Mike Harrison said. “We were a little undermanned tonight. We did a good job moving the ball at times but man, they just keep bringing pressure and you’re just running for your life. They are the high water mark in the county, and probably in the state.”

WL (4-5) 0 0 0 0 - 0
RH (9-0) 3 21 6 7 - 37

First quarter
RH: Potocko 27 field goal, 6:28. [3-0]

Second quarter
RH: Osong 1 run (Potocko kick), 11:14. [10-0]
RH: Osong 3 blocked punt return (Potocko kick), 7:28. [17-0]
RH: Osong 19 run (Potocko kick), 2:35. [24-0]

Third quarter
RH: Griffin 9 pass from Altman (kick failed), 3:46. [30-0]

Fourth quarter
RH: Carter 9 run (Potocko kick), 7:06. [37-0]

Statistical breakdown

Leading rushers
WL: Handy 8-25; Long 3-8; Team 24-28.
RH: Osong 10-71, 2 TD; Griffin 8-49; Arn 6-48; Carter 2-23, TD; Team 30-223, 3 TD.

Leading passers
WL: Ampofo 9/14, 103.
RH: Altman 7/16, 124, TD, INT.

Leading receivers
WL: Jackson 8-95; Long 1-8.
RH: Ball 2-17; Carter 1-50; Griffin 1-9, TD; Osong 1-9.

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