CLARKSVILLE, MD — River Hill football coach Brian Van Deusen didn't care how his team won in Friday night's 3A East regional semifinal game against Reservoir, just as long as his Hawks won.
After losing three straight games to end the regular season, including a 14-13 loss at Reservoir last week, the Hawks — who have won more than 100 games and four state titles since their first state finals appearance in 2006 — were starving for a victory.
River Hill (8-3) got what it needed Friday night against visiting Reservoir (5-6), holding on for a 28-26 win to advance to next the 3A East regional championship next week against Glenelg.
"We weren't happy with the way we finished the season obviously, but the playoffs come and it's a clean slate. We still did enough early in the season to get the one-seed, so everything is still ahead of us," Van Deusen said. "It wasn't pretty tonight, but Reservoir is a good team … we had some tough games there but at least we've got the momentum back now and we're headed in the right direction."
Reservoir struck first with an 8-yard run by Craig Jones (15 carries, 107 yards) four minutes into the game, but the Hawks answered with 14 unanswered points before the end of the first quarter, on a 26-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Noah Thyberg (5/7, 79 yards, 2 TDs) to senior Jon Kanda, and a 68-yard run up the middle of the field by sophomore Brady Daniel. Freshman kicker Cooper McGeehan was 4-for-4 on extra points in the game.