Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the player who scored Reservoir's first touchdown. Craig Jones scored the touchdown, and finished with 260 yards on 21 carries.
Any doubts that the 2014 Oakland Mills football team could play with Howard County's best teams might have been erased with Friday night's 41-32 win at Reservoir.
The Scorpions (4-0) battled back from a 25-7 second-quarter deficit, as quarterback David Pindell threw touchdown passes to juniors Jordan Campbell (78 yards), Tre Hopkins (41 and 55) and Shawn Harris (21), and rushed for a 60-yard score in the fourth quarter to make it a two-score game.
"For the kids to be down 25-7 in the first half, and really get kind of dominated, and to be able to able to strike back, I told the kids that's resiliency and that's something you love to see in a team," Oakland Mills coach Tom Browne said. "To only give up one touchdown in the second half … the biggest thing that stands out about this team is that they're able to respond to adversity
"Some teams can answer the bell and some teams can't. This team can clearly answer the bell."
Pindell completed 15 passes (in 28 attempts) for 409 yards and four touchdowns in the game. Three different Scorpion receivers — Tre Hopkins (7 catches, 184 yards, 2 TDs), Jordan Campbell (2, 102, 1) and Shawn Harris (4, 80, 1) — caught touchdown passes. Pindell also rushed for 83 yards, and sophomore Naquan Williams-Day added 70 yards on seven carries and two catches.
"They're pretty confident kids. They're super athletic and super competitors. It puts my mind at ease and sometimes it makes me look like a good play caller when I'm probably not, they're just making good plays."
Harris also made three big plays as a defensive back in the second half, breaking up two passes on fourth down, one on the final play of the game, and intercepting a pass at midfield with 2:30 left to play.
"We always had confidence, it never worried us at all, we always knew we could come back from anything," he said. "But this was our toughest test so far."
The Gators rushed for more than 300 yards in the first half, but the Oakland Mills defensive line, led by Larry Aaron (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) and Zachary Vincent (6-2, 200), tightened up to allow only 126 in the second half.
"Going into halftime our coaches gave us a big speech about how to stop the run and it got everybody pumped up," Harris said. "Larry stepped up, and when the D-line got hyped, everybody got hyped."
Reservoir struck first on a 76-yard run by Craig Jones on its first play from scrimmage, and then took advantage of an Oakland Mills fumble to score on a 19-yard run by Josh Young (22 carries, 167 yards).
Before half time, the Gators had scored again on a 24-yard pass from Jack Barry to Matt Marsh and a 73-yard rush by Jones (260 yards on 21 carries).
But the Scorpions struck back quickly, and allowed only one more a score — a 2-yard plunge by Barry — in the second half.
The Gators (2-2) nearly took the lead again midway through the fourth quarter, but Oakland Mills linebacker Marven Kadje forced a fumble on the one-yard line that was recovered for a touchback.
"That's something that we work on every single week. We do the turnover circuit every Tuesday. We've been preaching to the kids all year that one of these games is going to be the big game where you get a strip," Browne said. "That was a huge momentum swing. That's a huge play by Kadje, just a heads up play to try to rip the ball out. That was awesome."
The two teams combined for more than 1,100 yards of offense in the game.
"We had some big plays and they had some big plays and they had a little bit more," Reservoir coach Bryan Cole said. "They're much improved from last year. They have some receivers who can go up and get the ball. They have the ability to throw deep, and they've been coming down with the ball more often than not."
OM (4-0) 7 15 7 12 - 41
Re (2-2) 12 13 7 0 - 32
Re: Jones 76 run (pass failed), 10:24. [0-6]
OM: Campbell 78 pass from Pindell (Zovko kick), 9:01. [7-6]
Re: Young 19 run (kick failed), 4:12. [7-12]
Re: Marsh 24 pass from Barry (Romer kick), 11:53. [7-19]
Re: Jones 73 run (kick failed), 6:19. [7-25]
OM: Hopkins 41 pass from Pindell (Zovko kick), 5:16. [14-25]
OM: Harris 21 pass from Pindell (Campbell pass from Pindell), 1:15. [22-25]
OM: Williams-Day 10 run (Zovko kick), 8:10. [29-25]
Re: Barry 2 run (Romer kick), :01. [29-32]
OM: Hopkins 55 pass from Pindell (kick failed), 10:53. [35-32]
OM: Pindell 60 run (pass failed), 2:49. [41-32]
Around the league
Glenelg 24, Hammond 13
The defending county champion Gladiators have now won three in a row since a Week 1 15-14 loss to River Hill.
Howard 39, Mt. Hebron 0
Najee Savage rushed for 100 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries as the Lions improved to 4-0 with their second shut out of the season.
Lanre Oshin (6 carries, 52 yards) and Malik Anderson (5, 35) accounted for Howard's other two touchdowns. Anderson was also the Lions' top receiver, with four catches for 49 yards.
Quarterback Kevin Sheahin completed 11 of his 14 pass attempts for 165 yards, spreading the ball around to eight different receivers.
On defense, Winston DeLattiboudere III made five tackles and two sacks, and sophomore Bryson Craven intercepted three passes.
River Hill 55, Centennial 0
Undefeated River Hill has now outscored its opponents, 153-20, on the season.
Saturday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m.
Long Reach (0-3) at Atholton (0-3)
Marriotts Ridge (1-2) at Wilde Lake (1-2)
(See related story)