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Class 3A state football championship: No. 2 River Hill vs. Huntingtown

No. 2 River Hill (13-0) vs. Huntingtown (12-1)

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

TV: Ch. 54

Internet radio: SFMSports.net

Where: M&T; Bank Stadium

Coaches: Brian Van Deusen, River Hill; Brendan Galligan, Huntingtown

Last meeting: Huntingtown won, 10-7, in the 2009 state semifinal

Outlook: The Hawks take the area's longest winning streak — 23 games — into the Class 3A title game against the team that ended their last significant streak on a controversial call on the last play of the game. Back then at Huntingtown in 2009, officials said River Hill's quarterback fumbled the snap with 18 seconds to go, but Van Deusen said he was trying to spike it. Nonetheless, the Hawks turned the ball over three times and couldn't convert twice from inside Huntingtown's 5-yard line, helping the Hurricanes end their 40-game winning streak. This time, the Hawks face a mirror image in a Calvert County team that has a solid passing game to go with its stellar running offense, although the Hurricanes ran the ball 60 times in their 34-6 semifinal win at No. 7 Milford Mill. RB Carl Riffe (106 carries, 709 yards, 12 TDs) scored three times and ran for 226 yards in the semifinal, and RB Arnez Bowens (181 carries, 1,288 yards, 14 TDs) leads the Hurricanes. The Hawks, who defeated Urbana, 29-7, in the semifinal, have a balanced offense led by QB Austin Altman (107-for-162 passing, 2,241 yards, 27 TDs) and HB Evan Griffin (95 carries, 916 yards, 13 TDs; 30 catches, 619 yards, 7 TDs). Griffin, also a safety, had three second-half interceptions against Urbana. The Hurricanes, still looking for their first title in their fourth straight trip to the state tournament, suffered their only loss to Westlake and avenged that in the playoffs, where they won their three games by an average of 29 points. The Hawks, who have shut out six opponents and won by an average of 35.2 points, had their closest game in a 35-27 win over Howard County rival Atholton in the regional final. This is the Hawks' fifth time in the title game since 2006, and they've been to the state tournament seven times in eight years.

Katherine Dunn

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