The balance of power in Howard County football has shifted.
On Friday night in Clarksville, visiting Atholton shut out River Hill, 14-0.
Last Oct. 1, Atholton shocked the Hawks, 10-0, ending a 48-game league winning streak.
"Last year was kind of a cool thing, like 'Wow, we beat River Hill!' but this year we kind of expected it," Atholton quarterback Brian McMahon said. "A lot of us were saying in school today that we had a feeling that we would come out here and do something like this."
The Raiders controlled the game for 48 minutes, but missed out on scoring opportunities throughout.
With 25 seconds left in the first quarter, McMahon threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to DeQuan Ellison (8 catches, 108 yards) on 4th-and-10. It turned out to be the game winner.
"We realized that they had aggressive corners, so DeQuan and I did a double move," said McMahon, who passed for 185 yards and rushed for 78 more. "I put it up there and DeQuan gets pretty much everything I put up there for him."
But after the touchdown, Atholton threw an interception into the endzone, fumbled on the Hawks 25-yard line, punted, and missed a 33-yard field goal. On their first possession of the second half, the Raiders turned the ball over on downs inside River Hill's 10-yard line.
"River Hill played great in the red zone. It shrinks the field a lot so there's not the threat of going deep. They were flying to the ball … I think they got extra motivated since we were about to score," McMahon said. "After a couple of turnovers I got a little rattled but then, short term memory, you've just got to get right back out there and keep working hard."
The Hawks defense was led by Jason Johnson (sack, two tackles for loss), Davis Grove (two tackles for loss), Emmett Brew (sack), Raamah Vaughn (interception) and Evan Griffin (forced fumble and recovery).
But while River Hill's defense was doing a laudable job, they still could not get anything going on offense.
River Hill had less than ten yards of offense in the first half without earning a single first down. The Hawks never crossed midfield, gaining less than 60 yards of total offense and only two first downs in the game.
"We couldn't get much going up front and they were in our backfield all day," River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen said. "They kicked our butts today ... but fortunately it's early in the year and we've got a lot of time to get better and improve on this and hopefully we can get them back in the playoffs."
The Raiders' defensive front seemed to pressure River Hill quarterback Austin Altman on almost every play, forcing five turnovers. Austin Tennessee, Kenny Thomas and Brett Haas each had interceptions, while Damon Wells and Cameron Fogle recovered fumbles. Fogle, Jamal Washington, Paul Federinko and Steve Whiting (2) teamed up to sack Altman five times.
"It's not all the D-line, it's the coverage too, because of our cornerbacks he didn't have anybody to throw to," said Federinko. "That's how we play every game, that's how it's got to be."
Atholton head coach Kyle Schmitt credited his 24-year-old defensive coordinator, Justin Carey, for coming up with the defensive scheme that stymied the Hawks. Carey graduated from Reservoir in 2005 before playing linebacker at Bowie State.
"He was in college two years ago and he studies the game harder than even I do," Schmitt said. "We shut them down two years in a row and that's a hell of an offense to do that to … if we get defense like that every week we've got a chance to be really good."
Kenny Thomas' 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth essentially clinched the win.
That touchdown was set up after Atholton tried to punt the ball away from their own 48, but River Hill committed a roughing-the-kicker penalty to give the Raiders the ball back on the Hawks 37-yard line.
River Hill all-county running back Aaron Wells hurt his knee in a week one win over Reservoir and could be out for another three or four games.
"Pretty early we knew that we could move the football and they were having a lot of trouble," Schmitt said. "They were playing without their best player."
Things don't get any easier for River Hill, as they will travel to Hammond and Wilde Lake in the next two weeks.
The win was especially important for Atholton, which had to forfeit its week one win over Glenelg because of an offseason practice violation.
"It takes a little bit of the sting of the first game off. We don't want to be 1-2 in the county, that would put us behind the eight ball," Schmitt said. "We put ourselves in pretty good position right now ... we control our destiny at this point."
Aside from Glenelg, Hammond is now the only undefeated team in the county, and Atholton will see them on Oct. 14.
"We're hoping to go 10-0, well 9-1, but we're going to say 10-0," McMahon said.
A (2-1) 7 0 0 7 - 14
RH (2-1) 0 0 0 0 - 0
A: Ellison 33 pass from McMahon (Haas kick), :25.
A: Thomas 3 run (Haas kick), 10:21.
A: McMahon, 18 carries, 78 yards; Thomas, 12-31; Newsome, 9-9.
RH: Osong, 7-30; Lawson, 5-10.
A: McMahon, 19-for-33, 185 yards, TD, INT.
RH: Altman, 3-16, 11, 3 INT.
A: Ellison, 8 catches, 108 yards; Powell, 5-37; Tennessee, 3-27; Waddell, 3-13.
RH: Vaughn, 2-9.
Around the league
Glenelg 28, Wilde Lake 8
The Gladiators shocked the defending state champs with a 22-point second half Friday night to remain undefeated. Junior quarterback Mark Darden broke loose for a go-ahead 25-yard run in the third quarter, then sophomore Jared Jacoby drove the dagger in with a pair of rushing touchdowns in the fourth.
G (3-0) 6 0 8 14 - 28
WL (1-2) 0 8 0 0 - 8
G: Crabill 5 run (EP failed).
WL: Miller 3 run (conversion).
G: Darden 25 run (Brister run).
G: Jacoby 10 run (Brister kick).
G: Jacoby 3 run (Brister kick).
Howard 35, Mt. Hebron 7
Ho (2-1) 21 7 7 0 - 35
MH (1-2) 0 0 0 7 - 7
Ho: Bonavitacola 80 kickoff return (Lee kick).
Ho: Anderson 16 run (Lee kick).
Ho: Bonavitacola 15 run (Lee kick).
Ho: McElligott 25 pass from Wade (Lee kick).
Ho: Wade 1 run (Lee kick).
MH: Gilmore 1 run (Brink kick).
Oakland Mills 27, Marriotts Ridge 20
MR (0-3) 14 0 7 6 - 27
OM (1-2) 8 0 6 6 - 20
MR: Smith 20 run (Durham run).
OM: Coleman 22 run (Andrews kick).
OM: Tenard Childs 15 run (Andrews kick).
OM: Britton 75 run (Andrews kick).
MR: Brown 80 kickoff return (run failed).
OM: Drew 12 pass from Coleman (kick failed).
MR: Durham 10 pass from Stevens (run failed).
Hammond 34, Centennial 7
Junior Dionte Jones rushed for 100 yards, caught four passes for 63 more, and scored four touchdowns as Hammond routed Centennial on Friday. Senior Devon Paye also crossed the century mark on the ground, gaining 131 yards and scoring a touchdown.
Ha (3-0) 14 14 6 0 - 34
C (0-3) 0 0 0 7 - 7
Ha: Jones 10 run (Kelley pass).
Ha: Jones 19 run (run failed).
Ha: Paye 33 run (run failed).
Ha: Jones 29 pass from Whitlock (Paye run).
Ha: Jones 18 run (run failed).
C: Peterson 3 pass from Morris (Vallerie kick).
Long Reach 32, Reservoir 20
Reservoir senior quarterback E.J. Montgomery completed ten passes for 223 yards, including three each to Robert Armstrong (100 yards, touchdown) and Kendrick Frazier (49 yards, touchdown), but it was not enough to get the Gators past the visiting Lightning, which scored 19 points in the third quarter, capped by a 27-yard Mike Conlon interception return. Allen Cross led Long Reach's vaunted running game with 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
LR (2-1) 6 0 19 7 - 32
Re (1-2) 7 7 0 6 - 20
Re: Frazier 24 pass from Montgomery (Marsh kick), 7:47.
LR: Dixon 9 run (kick failed), :00.
Re: Armstrong 70 pass from Montgomery (Marsh kick), 1:31.
LR: Cross 2 run (run failed), 4:04.
LR: Fisk 24 run (run failed), 2:35.
LR: Conlon 27 interception return (Jones kick), :07.
LR: Cross 33 run (Jones kick), 3:52.
Re: Montgomery 2 run, 1:09.