Strong third quarter propels River Hill football past Long Reach

River Hill quarterback Robby Windsor went down in last week’s loss to Reservoir with a sprained ankle. This week, the senior captain returned to the field against Long Reach and helped his team rebound.

“It was a bad week of practice that week and this week we had to step up and we practiced a lot better,” Windsor said. “We were fired up and we were ready and that’s from the coaches.”

Battling back from a halftime deficit, River Hill scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter and never looked back on the way to a 21-12 road victory. The Hawks improve to 2-1 on the season, while Long Reach drops to 2-1.

After a slow first half with a steady rain falling in Columbia, River Hill went down 12-7 through the first two quarters. Windsor said he was not executing like he knew he could, going 3-for-8 for 25 yards, a touchdown and an interception before the break.

“(The rain) is not an excuse. You have to battle through adversity and that’s on me.”

At the start of the second half, though, River Hill began rolling on the ground. After calling 13-straight run plays and possessing the ball for over half the third quarter, Windsor threw a 16-yard strike to wide receiver Derek Sandoval to get to the one-yard-line.

Two plays later, Windsor took it across the goal line himself to put the Hawks back ahead 14-12.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Long Reach quarterback Eric Benesch fumbled the snap in Lightning territory, giving Windsor and River Hill excellent field position. Windsor, seizing the moment, found junior Anthony Behrmann in the right side of the end zone for another score and a two-possession lead.

“It was a huge play,” Windsor said. “We got a ton of momentum from that and that really changed the game from there. We put the game away.”

River Hill never trailed again, with Windsor having a hand in all three touchdowns.

“He’s a good quarterback and [he has a] strong arm,” River Hill head coach Brian Van Deusen said. “He’s been hobbled by a sprained ankle so we limited his running and tried to mix in some passes as much as we could just to keep their defense honest. He made some plays that we needed. We needed somebody to step up and make some plays and Robby did that.”

Long Reach quarterback Eric Benesch was in control early, completing 11 of his 20 throws for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the first two quarters. But a lingering shoulder injury hampered him in the second half, as he threw for 31 yards after intermission before being replaced by backup Jose Ribalta in the fourth quarter.

Ribalta completed 4-16 throws for 41 yards, including four straight incompletions to close out the game.

“We just didn’t play well,” Long Reach head coach Jamie Willis said. “We beat ourselves with turnovers and penalties. But that’s the sign of being young. Some days it’s going to be like that so we just have to get better.”

River Hill (2-1) — 7 0 14 0 — 21

Long Reach (2-1) — 6 6 0 0 — 12

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