Down 2-0 early in the third quarter, Howard found itself just one big play away from seizing the momentum from Hammond.
Throughout their County League scrap with No. 11 Hammond, the visiting Lions did an adequate job of getting the plays needed to score.
L But Bears junior William Oliver stepped in to thwart Howard.
His block of Matt Sartwell's punt in the end zone early in the third period gave his team their second safety for a a 4-0 lead and helped Hammond (6-0 overall, 3-0 league) grind out a 10-0 win.
Oliver not only put points on the board, but he kept the Lions off the board.
The junior defensive end blocked Matt Anderson's 30-yard field goal attempt with six seconds left in the first half -- allowing the Bears to retain a 2-0 lead.
"Nobody [on either play] blocked me, I was kind of [surprised]," Oliver said.
Howard coach Joe Thomas said, "That blocked field goal really did change things. We'd been moving the ball during the whole half, and we had a chance to take the lead, but that [blocked field goal] took away our momentum."
Nonetheless, the Lions (3-3, 0-3 and losers of three consecutive games) found themselves in striking range during the game's latter stages, but bad field position and a key penalty played a huge part in their misfortunes.
After a late hit on a Tim Spruill punt return, the hosts found themselves with a first down on the Lions' 17-yard line.
Spruill, the Bears senior quarterback-running back then gained 17 yards on two carries to give Hammond its final margin of victory. The 5-10, 175-pounder slipped through two tackles on his 5-yard score around right end.
"Howard definitely played us tough for the whole game," said Spruill, who gained 50 yards on 13 carries.
"They got beat up last week against Centennial [a 22-0 loss], so I think we took them too lightly. They showed today that they are a good football team."
During the first half, the Lions enjoyed a 117-42 advantage in total yards, with junior running back Anthony Haywood gaining 70 of those yards on 10 carries.
Hammond's defense caught up with Haywood during the second half, as he finished with 77 yards on 15 attempts.
"We knew we had to step it up a notch this week, and I think we did a lot better job of moving the ball, we just couldn't score," Thomas said.
Bears coach Joe Russo showed some concern for his offense.
"Howard played very good defensively, but our offense was definitely out of sync," he said.
"This was the second week in a row that we couldn't take advantage of our opportunities. But the bottom line is what's on the scoreboard."
Defensive tackle Savoy Sunders and linebacker Hansel Henry combined to sack quarterback Chris Poling in the end zone to give the winners their first two points.
* Centennial 26, Mount Hebron 0: John Webster threw for two touchdowns and ran 55 yards for another as Centennial (4-2) topped visiting Mount Hebron (2-4). Webster completed 14 of 16 passes for 142 yards.
Jason Zolak caught four passes for 63 yards and one touchdown.
* Atholton 40, Glenelg 0: Lamar Macon rushed for 106 yards and scored two touchdowns, leading Atholton (4-2) over Glenelg. Macon, a junior, also had a 90-yard kickoff return.
Jason Sandner contributed two rushing touchdowns. John Sanford and Josh Neal also scored for Atholton.
* Mount St. Joseph 42, Gilman 0: Top-ranked Mount St. Joseph (6-0) crushed Gilman (0-5), holding the Greyhounds to three first downs. Archie Wannamaker finished with 210 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 26 carries, and Lucas Phillips completed 11-of-16 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown.
* Randallstown 28, Dundalk 14: Devin Johnson rushed for 174 yards and scored three touchdowns, leading No. 14 Randallstown (5-1) past Dundalk (1-5).
* Calvert Hall 14, McDonogh 7: In a battle of struggling squads, Matt Deuchler ran for a score and threw for another as the Cardinals (2-4) rallied to beat the Eagles (0-5).
* Loyola 34, Poly 0: The host Dons (1-4) got their first win of the year, thanks to three touchdown runs from Matt Smith and 211 yards of total offense from quarterback Brent Hall.