If last year's River Hill football team resembled a track team, with speedy scatbacks Evan Griffin and Justin Arn combining for more than 3,200 yards from scrimmage, this year's team would be better characterized as a rugby squad.
The Hawks (3-0) won their 27th consecutive game Friday night at Atholton (0-3), 28-6, behind a pounding running game led by Kalonji Moore, Cory Daniel and Jon Kanda. All three players stand at least 6-feet tall and weight at least 200 pounds.
"We have a lot of athletic players on offense, our running backs are big and strong and can break tackles, and our linemen just give us a good push. That's going to get us a lot of yards," Moore said. "I told the team during halftime that we have to just pound the ball and score some points, and that's what we did … This year's team is bigger and stronger, and in the third and fourth quarter (opponents) are going to wear down."
The defending state champion Hawks scored first on a 14-yard pass from Drew Pritchard to Chris Galloway with two minutes left in the first quarter, but Atholton answered with a touchdown pass from Phil Frazier to Byran Barney midway through the second quarter. The Raiders missed the extra point, and River Hill led by a precarious 7-6 score at halftime.
But in the second half, Moore, Daniel and Kanda were just too much for the Raiders defense.
"It's a little different then what we were last year," coach Brian Van Deusen said. "This year, we've got some big kids who can pound. Cory is really a tight end, but we try to get him the ball as much as we can. And Kalonji came up big tonight."
RH (3-0) 7 0 7 14 - 28
A (0-3) 0 6 0 0 – 6
RH: Galloway 14 pass from Pritchard (Potocko kick), 2:10.
A: Barney 14 pass from Frazier (kick failed), 8:42.
RH: Moore 9 run (Potocko kick), 4:58.
RH: Pritchard 1 run (Potocko kick), 10:40.
RH: Patterson 9 run (Potocko kick), 3:11.