The balance of power in Howard County football has shifted.
No. 11 Atholton shut out No. 3 River Hill 14-0 Friday night in Clarksville, following up last October's 10-0 win that ended the Hawks' 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 (2-1) controlled the game for 48 minutes, but they missed out on several scoring opportunities.
With 25 seconds left in the first quarter, McMahon threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to DeQuan Ellison on fourth-and-10 that turned out to be the game winner.
"We realized that they had aggressive corners, so DeQuan and I did a double move," McMahon said. "I put it up there and DeQuan gets pretty much everything I put up there for him."
River Hill (2-1) had less than 10 yards of offense in the first half and didn't earn a single first down. The Hawks' initial first down came with less than eight minutes left in the third quarter, and the they never crossed midfield.
"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."
Kenny Thomas' 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth essentially clinched the win.
River Hill all-county running back Aaron Wells missed the game after hurting his knee in a Week 1 win over Reservoir. He 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," Atholton coach Kyle Schmitt said. "They were playing without their best player."
The win was especially important for Atholton, which had to forfeit its first-week victory against 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."
Hammond is now the only undefeated team in the county, and Atholton will face the Bears on Oct. 14.
"We're hoping to go 10-0," McMahon said. "Well 9-1, but we're going to say 10-0."
No. 11 Atholton 14, No. 3 River Hill 0
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.