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Marriotts Ridge football heads to first playoffs after beating Mt. Hebron

Marriotts Ridge football clinches its first playoff berth in school history Friday night with a 34-6 win over the Vikings at home in Marriottsville. (Megan Rufty/Baltimore Sun Media Group video)

MARRIOTTSVILLE, MD — Marriotts Ridge football coach Marcus Lewis knew that before his program could change its fortunes on the field, it first had to change its mindset during the offseason.

"The senior leadership with this group has been outstanding. We finally had a group that got tired. Tired of being pushed around, tired of being the laughingstock of the county," said Lewis, whose team defeated Mt. Hebron, 34-6, Friday night to finish the regular season 7-3. "They made a conscious decision last year that this year was going to be different."

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Things are so different that the Mustangs are headed to the playoffs for the first time in their 10-year history.

"We're aiming for something higher now, a state championship. That's what we're going for now, that's the next goal," said senior Jordan Chandler, who rushed for three touchdowns and a two-point conversion, and recovered a fumble in the win.

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The Mustangs also finished the regular season 7-3 in 2008, but that winning campaign was followed by 32 consecutive losses spanning 2009 through 2012. The team has won only two games each of the past two seasons.

"My class made a real decision for that to not happen again. It was ridiculous and we were done. We started out with a lot of hard work. As soon as the season ended we were in the weight room and outside running," said senior Eric Skogmo, the captain of the Mustangs' defense and one of their leading receivers. "We just made sure everything stayed positive and it rubbed off on everyone."

Marriotts Ridge lost back-to-back games to River Hill and Howard by a combined score of 75-15 in mid-September.

"In the beginning of the season we weren't quite ready to step into our role yet, but those losses taught us some valuable lessons and we took that and learned from it," said Skogmo, who helped his team bounce back to earn wins over Hammond and 2013 Howard County champion Glenelg in mid-October. "We all started to completely believe and nothing could stop us after that Glenelg game."

The Mustangs are riding a five-game winning streak into the 2A South playoffs, and have defeated their last three opponents by a combined score of 118-6.

Junior Trayvon Delk and senior Asad Dar also scored rushing touchdowns for Marriotts Ridge, and junior Bladen Miller intercepted a pass against Mt. Hebron.

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"I had to tell the guys, 'Smile, we're in the playoffs.' But I don't think they're satisfied with just being in," Lewis said. "They want to do some damage."

Mt. Hebron's only score came on the last play of the game on a 19-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Rickie Williams to junior John Gant.

MH (3-7) 0 0 0 6 – 6
MR (7-3) 7 7 14 6 - 34

First quarter
MR: Delk 5 run (Baig kick), :45. [7-0]

Second quarter
MR: Chandler 14 run (Baig kick), 1:37. [14-0]

Third quarter
MR: Chandler 6 run (kick blocked), 4:36. [20-0]
MR: Dar 14 run (Chandler run), 2:39. [28-0]

Fourth quarter
MR: Chandler 2 run (kick failed), 5:22. [34-0]
MH: Gant 19 pass from Williams (kick blocked), :00. [34-6]

Around the league

Glenelg 34, Atholton 2

The Gladiators have a modest three-game win streak with 129 points scored in that time heading into the playoffs.

Hammond 52, Centennial 16

The Golden Bears scored a season-high 52 points, while the Eagles scored a season-high 16 points in the loss.

Howard 28, Long Reach 0

The Lions completed a perfect regular season with their fifth shut out. Najee Savage rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns, and scored a third touchdown on a pass from Kevin Sheahin. Sheahin also threw a scoring pass to Malik Anderson (7 catches, 67 yards).

Oakland Mills 52, Wilde Lake 18

The Scorpions completed a 9-1 regular season, scoring an average of almost 43 points per game.

Reservoir 14, River Hill 13

The Gators battled in their final home game to beat River Hill for the first time. The Hawks have now lost three games in a row for the first time in more than a decade.

Jack Barry threw touchdown passes to Christian Lyles and Joey Janush to give the Gators a 14-7 halftime lead. Lyles and Janush also each intercepted passes, with Janush's ending the Hawks' final scoring threat with less than a minute to play in the game. Janush also blocked the extra point on River Hill's second half touchdown.

Final league standings

Howard, 10-0
Oakland Mills, 9-1
Glenelg, 7-3
Marriotts Ridge, 7-3
River Hill, 7-3
Hammond, 5-5
Reservoir, 5-5
Atholton, 3-7
Mt. Hebron, 3-7
Wilde Lake, 3-7
Long Reach, 1-9
Centennial, 0-10

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