Marriotts Ridge finally slayed the dragon.
How the Mustangs beat River Hill, 15-14 in overtime, on Friday night for the first time in school history will never be forgotten in Western Howard County.
Jaylin Moore is the hero of Marriottsville for at least one night. The wide receiver and defensive back did a little bit of everything for Marriotts Ridge on both sides of the ball. He intercepted two passes — the first in the end zone in the final seconds of a scoreless first half and the second stalled the Hawks’ second-half 19-play, 55-yard drive that took nearly 12 minutes off the clock — but Moore’s heroics came on offense in the most critical moments late in the game.
The senior scored twice in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime and converted the game-winning two-point conversion to lift the Mustangs to arguably their biggest win in school history.
“This is the night of my life,” Moore said. “Best day ever. Best day ever.”
Forcing overtime took a miracle. River Hill, which led 7-0 after finally breaking down the Mustangs’ stingy defense on a 61-yard touchdown run by Anthony Behrmann in the third quarter, held the lead and possession with two minutes remaining.
That’s when backup quarterback Dylan Burnett, who was playing his first snaps of the game because starter Keegan Remick hurt his shoulder making a tackle on Moore’s interception on the previous drive, fumbled the ball at their own 3 yard line on a sneak. Jack Baxter forced it out and Ryan Reeling recovered the loose ball.
“It was just timing and opportunity,” said Baxter, who said he has seen the Hawks sneak it in goal line situations on film. “I was always ready for it on the short yardages.”
Two plays later, Moore scored and tied the game on a perfect 5-yard pass from quarterback Casey Pung to the front corner of the end zone.
River Hill (3-1) started overtime with possession and needed four plays a penalty to score, as Burnett successfully snuck it in from a yard out, but the night would belong to the Mustangs (3-1). Moore scored from 10 yards out on Marriotts Ridge’s first offensive play in overtime, and after the Hawks were penalized for encroachment on the extra point that would’ve tied the game at 14, Lewis decided to go for two.
“We hang around a program like that, I just figured I don’t want to be here all night, kids don’t want to be here all night,” he said. “I looked at a couple of them and before I even asked, ‘Let’s go for it, coach.’”
One yard separated the Mustangs from team history, and Lewis said there was no question the team’s best playmaker would be making the play. Pung took the snap from shotgun, rolled far to his right and lobbed it to Moore in space for the game-winning conversion.
“Just catch the ball,” Moore said of his thoughts. “They rely on me all the time to make plays and that’s what I do, make plays. Catch the ball, win the game.”
“Jaylin is an x-factor for us,” Lewis said. “We haven’t done a good job getting him the ball the first couple games. We obviously made a concerted effort to get it to him tonight and the results paid off for us.”
The ending overshadowed what was a hard-fought defensive battle for both teams. River Hill had five first downs in the first half, three of which came on consecutive plays on a quick drive in the final minute that stalled at the 7 with Moore’s interception, while Marriotts Ridge had only four.
Behrmann’s long touchdown run was by far the longest play of the night. He took the sweep and raced down the right sideline on the first play of the Hawks’ second drive in the second half. Marriotts Ridge’s offense wasn’t much better in the final two quarters, as its first three drives ended in a three-and-out, an interception by Nick Laumann and another three-and-out. Moore’s 50-yard interception return to the River Hill 32 didn’t result in a score for the offense, as the possession ended at the 11 after getting four yards on a fourth-and-5, but the Hawks lost eight yards on their next two plays and then fumbled on the third to give Marriotts Ridge life.
It’s the program’s first win over River Hill in 14 tries, though three of the last four meetings were decided by one score. On Friday night, they finally knocked the door down.
“It was it was a tough fought game there,” River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen said. “A defensive battle obviously and our defense was playing really well, but you can’t give a good team a lot of opportunities, and our quarterback went down and we turned the ball over and we had a couple interceptions early. And we just kept giving them opportunities and eventually you got to give them credit you know, they made some plays.”
Marriotts Ridge 15, River Hill 14 (OT)
Howard County Times: Top stories
RH: Anthony Behrmann 61-yard run, Santiago Bryant kick [7-0]
MR: Jaylin Moore 5-yard reception from Casey Pung, Evan Bury kick [7-7]
RH: Dylan Burnett 1-yard run, Bryant kick [14-7]
MR: Moore 10-yard run, Moore reception from Pung conversion [15-14]