An undefeated regular season in which top-ranked River Hill captured its fifth straight Howard County title and recorded eight shutouts in 10 games was quickly put out of the Hawks' minds going into last night's matchup against McDonough of Charles County in the Class 2A South regional semifinal.
This is because River Hill's single goal this season was to capture its first state championship in football after falling short in the title game last year. The Hawks got one step closer to their goal as they dominated the visiting Rams, 34-0.
"We told the kids they had our best-ever regular season. We scored 440 points and gave up 14, but it's over now," River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen said. "Everyone is 0-0 again. We have to take it one step at a time."
McDonough was 7-3 during the regular season but entered the game 9-1 because two of its losses were ruled victories as a result of forfeits by Lackey and Friendly for using an ineligible player. The Rams, however, had no answers for River Hill's swarming defense that forced six turnovers.
The Hawks (11-0) were led by quarterback Luke Hostetler, who ran for two scores and threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Michael Campanaro. Zach Martin anchored River Hill's ground attack with 14 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Campanaro had a big game on both sides of the ball with 50 yards on 11 carries and the touchdown reception to go along with two interceptions and a fumble recovery that led to two River Hill scores.
River Hill scored 21 of its 34 points in the first half on Hostetler's pass to Campanaro and touchdown runs of his own from the 1- and 2-yard lines. In the second half, the first of Ryan Griffin's two interceptions gave River Hill the ball on the 3-yard line. Martin then ran 3 yards for River Hill's fourth score with 5:30 left in the third quarter.
River Hill plays Patuxent for the Class 2A South championship.
No. 4 Arundel 34, North County 29 -- Nick Elko threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Johnson-Farrell on fourth-and-12 with 25 seconds left to lift the host Wildcats (11-0) past the Knights (6-5) in a Class 4A East game. Elko, who was 22-for-39 for 305 yards and four touchdowns, set a state record for touchdown passes in a season with 34. The previous record was 32 by North County's Mike Evans in 1996.
No. 6 Broadneck 24, No. 7 Old Mill 13 -- Kyle Colleran threw for 83 yards and a touchdown as the Bruins (9-2) defeated the visiting Patriots to advance in the 4A East region. The junior quarterback connected with wide receiver Mike Atkins on a 35-yard touchdown in the third quarter and added 37 rushing yards to lead the attack.
No. 5 Hereford 63, Mervo 0 -- Lonnie Liggins took the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and junior Nick DePaola scored four times as Hereford (10-0) shut out Mervo to advance in the 3A North region. DePaola finished 77 yards rushing and was also a factor on defense, recovering three fumbles and recording a sack.
North Harford 36, Atholton 13 -- Dan Griffin had 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hawks (10-1) over the visiting Raiders in Class 3A East.