River Hill made another strong statement that it is still the undisputed leader in Howard County on Friday night, defeating visiting Wilde Lake, 21-6.
"This is a very good Wilde Lake team, this is one of the best offenses I think they've had in years," River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen said. "I'm very pleased with our effort defensively."
Since a 10-0 loss at Atholton on Oct.1, their first in 49 games, the Hawks have beaten their last two opponents — Howard and Wilde Lake — by a combined score of 55-6.
Both of those teams had only one loss at the time.
"We knew what was at stake. We knew we had to send a message from losing to Atholton, we have to take it to every single opponent that comes across us," said Brent Kluge (97 yards from scrimmage), who scored on a 17-yard run halfway through the second quarter to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Three minutes later River Hill's Raamah Vaughn intercepted a Joe Kelly pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. It was Kelly's first interception of the year.
Aaron Wells led the Hawks with 98 rushing yards.
Wilde Lake junior Anthony Miller returned the opening kickoff of the second half 70 yards to the River Hill 27-yard line, but the Wildecats could not come up with any points on that drive.
The Hawks then engineered an 85-yard drive capped by a Harry McLaughlin quarterback keeper to go up 21-0.
Wilde Lake finally got on the board with less than five minutes left in the game on a 39-yard pass from Kelly to Jordan Mynatt.
Kelly completed nine of his 25 pass attempts for 105 yards, and rushed for another 28. Mynatt had five catches for 81 yards.
Khalil Viera led the Wildecats with 67 rushing yards.
Hammond and River Hill are now the last two one-loss teams in the county. River Hill defeated Hammond, 27-6, in the season opener.
Wilde Lake was coming off of a three-game stretch in which it shut out its opponents by a combined score of 141-0.
"(River Hill) tries to take away your best plays, and that's what every defense is trying to do, they just happen to be a little better at it than most teams," Wilde Lake coach Mike Harrison said. "We're going to work hard and make sure we get ourselves into the playoffs and maybe we'll get a chance to play them again."