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No. 1 Wilde Lake falters against Oakland Mills, 18-15

Oakland Mills lineman David Howard waited nearly a year to avenge last year's blowout loss to Wilde Lake. Yesterday, the junior got his chance.

C.J. King's 3-yard run capped a 93-yard drive with nine seconds to play as the 11th-ranked Oakland Mills football team toppled No. 1-ranked Wilde Lake, 18-15, in a showdown of unbeaten Howard County teams before a raucous crowd of nearly 2,000 at Wilde Lake.

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In erasing the memory of last year's 47-7 loss, the Scorpions (3-0 overall, 2-0 league) improved to 16-13 in their series against the defending county champions.

"I remember last year, and I wasn't going to go through that again," said Howard, who at 6 feet 4, 250 pounds, is the Scorpions' largest offensive lineman. "They had size, yeah, but we were stronger and better. That's why we won the game."

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Sophomore quarterback Nick Finney (15-for-25, 225 yards) was sacked just once while throwing passes to five receivers, and King finished with 160 yards.

"But I couldn't have done it without my linemen," said King, whose third-quarter fumble recovery as a linebacker stopped a Wilde Lake drive at the Scorpions' 8-yard line.

King followed the block of running back Dominique Owens and tight end Thiel Thomas around the right side for his score, but King also credited Howard, Sean Kendig, Anthony Chadwick, Mike Gilmartin, Brandon Staples and Dan Alexander.

Spurred on by fans clad in Scorpions orange, who lined the track behind the Oakland Mills bench, their game-winning drive pushed back a line featuring Maryland-bound Dane Randolph (6-4, 245), Syracuse-bound Steve Simms (6-6, 315), his twin, Stewart (6-4, 335) and Shawn Frederick (6-4, 255).

"They ran right down the middle of our line. Our guys were tired and they were strong - especially No. 77 [Howard] - I was head up with him the whole game," Randolph said. "They passed a lot more than we thought they would. It was a tougher game than we thought."

Scorpions junior defensive back Mike Sweatt preserved the finish by foiling Wilde Lake's field goal-turned pass play in the end zone.

The play developed on fourth-and-goal at Oakland Mills' 7-yard line. As place kicker John Trinary approached, holder Chris Forrest, also the quarterback, took the ball to the right. Gabe Ross nearly caught his pass, but Sweatt bumped him and tipped it away.

The Scorpions scored on their first possession. It covered 73 yards in nine plays, ending with Finney's 17-yard toss to Ryan Thompson in the end zone for a 6-0 lead with 7:11 remaining.

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After a Wilde Lake (3-1, 3-1) defender grabbed the facemask of the punt returner, the Scorpions had the ball on Wilde Lake's 32-yard line. From there, the Scorpions went four plays before Finney's 16-yard pass to Owens made it 12-0 early in the second quarter.

"I was nervous, but Nick told me, 'Nique, I'm passing you the ball,' and he threw it perfectly," Owens said of Finney, 15. "There were times when he played like a fifth-year senior. He's the best quarterback in the county."

Scorpions' fans screamed for more, but were silenced by Ross' momentum-stealing 80-yard kickoff return. He reached Oakland Mills' 11-yard line before being dragged down by Tony Cole. But DuVall Brooks ran for a touchdown on the next play, and Trinary's extra point had Wilde Lake within, 12-7, with 9:10 left in the half.

Wilde Lake took a 15-12 lead 2:57 before halftime on Alex Gould's 4-yard scoring run, followed by Forrest's conversion pass to Ross.

"Wilde Lake played hard to the end," King said, "but my soldiers - that's what I call my team - my soldiers won a war today."


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