After a two-year break, River Hill is back in a familiar position: playing for a state football title.
River Hill defeated visiting Aberdeen Friday night, 41-7, in a game that was never close.
The Hawks (11-2), who won back-to-back 2A championships in 2007 and 2008 and lost in the 3A championship game in 2006, will play Thomas Johnson (10-3) in the 3A state title game next Saturday at 7 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.
Senior quarterback Raamah Vaughn ran for a 43-yard touchdown and threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Davis Grove, all in the first quarter. Vaughn finished with 10 carries for 85 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Evan Griffin scored on 35-yard and 25-yard runs.
"We were able to get balance in our run game and we completed a pass early which was big because I think it softened them up a little and helped us pound the ball a little more," River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen said. "Our guys just finished their blocks and kept blocking until the whistle, and we hurt them with some misdirection plays."
And the River Hill defense — led by linemen Jason Johnson, Alec Rau and Logan Kirby, and linebackers Riley Davis and Emmett Brew — was in the Aberdeen backfield all night, sacking quarterback Kenny Faulcon seven times and pressuring him on virtually every play.
"We couldn't get a snap off, we were confused up front. They seemed a little more experienced than we were up front, we haven't seen that type of defense this year," first-year Aberdeen coach Johnny Brooks said. "We couldn't get the passing game or the running game going ... they just outplayed us today, they're just a good team."
In the first half, River Hill had 216 yards of total offense, while Aberdeen had negative-20, including a loss of 32 yards on a botched punt play and eight plays that lost yardage.
The Eagles' one moment of excitement came in the third quarter when Faulcon scrambled and found receiver Chavez Cheatam for an 81-yard touchdown, briefly making it a 27-7 game.
Ab (10-3) 0 0 7 0 - 7
RH (11-2) 14 6 14 7 - 41
RH: Vaughn 43 run (Grove kick), 7:40.
RH: Grove 36 pass from Vaughn (Grove kick), 3:07.
RH: Vaughn 3 run (kick failed), :09.
RH: Griffin 35 run (Grove kick), 10:16.
Ab: Cheatam 81 pass from Faulcon (Bonsall kick), 9:10.
RH: Vaughn 5 run (Grove kick), 3:06.
RH: Griffin 25 run (Grove kick), 11:08.