Wilde Lake made only three first downs, but won yesterday.
The 10th-ranked Wildecats defeated No. 8 Oakland Mills in an emotional, hard-fought overtime game, 13-10.
Mario Merrills provided the winning touchdown, breaking a tackle at the 10-yard line on first down after Oakland Mills' Robert Roche had kicked a 30-yard field goal in overtime for a short-lived 10-7 Scorpions lead.
The rivalry between the teams is always intense, and yesterday's game was more so because it had both county championship and playoff implications.
Oakland Mills (5-2 overall, 4-2 Howard County League) dropped out of a tie for first place with Howard. Wilde Lake (6-1, 5-1) can win the county title outright if River Hills defeats Howard the last game of the season.
Oakland Mills was ranked first in the Class 1A, South Region and hoping for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage. Wilde Lake needed a win to qualify for the Class 3A East Region playoffs.
"It doesn't matter what sport. Oakland Mills is our evil twin brother," said senior Wilde Lake quarterback Chad Fawcett. "I'm supposed to keep things calm, but I had so much adrenalin flowing and we were so jacked up I couldn't make my reads like I normally do. I've been thinking about playing Oakland Mills since the first day I ever played football."
Fawcett completed nine of 25 passes for 161 yards, but the big one was a 33-yard strike to Hugo Linares on a post pattern with 9: 54 left in the second quarter. It was the first play following an Oakland Mills fumble by Roche, who tried to pick up the ball instead of falling on it. It was one of seven Oakland Mills fumbles, of which the Scorpions recovered five.
Other than that touchdown pass, Oakland Mills' defense was outstanding and held the Wildecats to 47 yards rushing.
"Their run defense was especially good," Fawcett said. "Every time I turned around, No. 65 [Andrew Deming] made the play, and No. 58 [Robert Scott] did a great job. Anytime you play a team where their quarterback wears No. 32 and a neck roll, you know you are in for a smash-mouth game of football."
Oakland Mills had 165 yards rushing and 75 yards passing, and drove 80 yards in 11 plays for its only touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Nick Fambro caught a 15-yard touchdown pass, and freshman phenom Keion Reames rushed five times for 38 yards on the drive. Reames led all rushers with 65 yards on 10 carries.