Highlights of River Hill football beating Atholton in a Howard County game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.
It was a tale of two halves for River Hill Friday night against visiting Atholton.
The Hawks fumbled twice, threw an interception and turned it over on downs all in the first 28 minutes. Yet, they held a 7-0 lead at the intermission thanks in large part to their defense, which forced six Raiders turnovers.
“The big thing was just protecting the ball, you know. We were moving the ball pretty well,” River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen said. “... I think it was just the three turnovers that kind of stopped our drives. We just didn't finish. So we just emphasized finishing. We can’t stop ourselves.”
The halftime message was well received by the River Hill players. The Hawks took the second-half kickoff deep into Raiders territory, scored on an Anthony Behrmann run three plays later and never looked back in a commanding 33-8 victory in Clarksville. The win was the 200th in River Hill program history.
The Hawks committed just one turnover in the second half — a fourth quarter fumble — but the game was decided by then. Overall, it was the four-headed rushing attack of Beau Brade, Behrmann, Zach Igwebe and Michael Crisitello that carried the offense, while Brade and the veteran defense pitched a shutout until the final two minutes and had three interceptions.
“We didn’t play so well the first half but in the second half, we definitely stepped up on offense and defense with less turnovers,” said Brade, a Maryland commit who scored the opening touchdown on a 4-yard run early in the second quarter and intercepted a pass in the first. “We got a whole bunch of turnovers on the defensive side all game, so I think we did pretty well.”
Behrmann led River Hill (1-0) with 16 carries for 104 yards and a score, while Igwebe had 17 carries for 90 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and Brade had nine carries for 61 yards and a touchdown. First-year starting quarterback Keegan Remick failed to complete a pass on the night but found the end zone on a 1-yard sneak to cap a short 19-yard drive early in the third quarter.
All five River Hill touchdowns started inside Atholton territory and two started inside the red zone. Long snapping on punts was a particular concern and resulted in three turnovers, two of which led the touchdowns for the Hawks. The other scoring drives started at the 48-, 30- and 46-yard lines. “We’ve got to clean up special teams, exchanges,” said Raiders coach Justin Carey. “The kids play hard but if you lose the turnover battle, you’re not going to win many football games. Defensively, we played strong, but it is a collective effort, right? With the turnovers and short fields, you can’t be on the field the whole time.”
All of the mistakes eventually caught up to Atholton. They had opportunities in the first half with the hurry-up offense and reached River Hill territory four times in their first five drives, but by early in the third quarter players were often struggling with cramps. That’s when the Hawks’ rushing attack took over and gained yards in bunches — they averaged more than six yards per carry in the third quarter.
“I think we just kind of wore them down at the end,” Van Deusen said. “We were rotating guys in and out and just trying to keep it balanced. And we weren’t getting anything too crazy, it’s just kind of same play over and over, but winning the battle up front and our guys were really running hard.”
River Hill 33, Atholton 8
The Hawks (1-0) scored 26 points in the second half to pull away and win their season opener. The Raiders (0-1) turned the ball over 10 times in the defeat.