Wilde Lake picks off victory vs. No. 11 Long Reach, 28-14


Wilde Lake cornerback A. J. Case said he has a thing about footballs in the air.

"I don't like for them to be completed," Case said.

He and his teammates did a good job of making sure Long Reach didn't complete many passes in yesterday's showdown of crosstown Columbia rivals.

The Wilde Lake set a school record with five interceptions on the way to a 28-14 victory over No. 11 Long Reach (2-1 overall, 1-1 Howard County).

Case, also a running back, had the third of those five interceptions, and it led to Wilde Lake's first touchdown with 6:54 left in the second quarter. He scored it on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Hamp Fields.

Case also scored the final touchdown for Wilde Lake (3-0, 3-0) with 2:47 left in the game on a 96-yard run. He finished with 134 yards on 13 carries.

Wilde Lake running back Austen Merrills injured an arm during the game and had trouble holding the ball. But he carried 15 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns. His first put the Wildecats up 14-0 late in the first half.

An interception by Wilde Lake's Nick Ness early in the fourth quarter gave the Wildecats possession at the Long Reach 37. Merrills ran for a game-clinching touchdown on the next play.

Helped out by two personal-foul penalties against Wilde Lake, Long Reach drove 64 yards to score on a halfback option from Jereme Scott to Brandon Goff with 3:41 left. A two-point conversion cut the margin to 21-14.

Wilde Lake expected an onside kick. Instead, Long Reach kicked long and pinned the Wildecats at the 1-yard line.

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