A grind-it-out game in the truest sense, No. 2 River Hill narrowly escaped its first loss in over a year as the visiting Hawks defeated Glenelg, 7-3, on Friday night.
Hawks quarterback Drew Pritchard connected with fellow senior and captain Cory Daniel for a 55-yard touchdown pass with just over three minutes remaining in the game, a score that proved to be the deciding factor.
"It was crazy," Daniel said. "This was a tough team. Glenelg is always a tough opponent against us, and we knew we had to win to get the season going."
Just a few plays earlier, Daniel thought he had a touchdown after a similar deep throw from Pritchard. But an illegal-formation penalty nullified the play. River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen was proud that his team was able to rebound.
"It was a tough one," he said. "We had it open and he made a great play. I give our kids all the credit. It would have been easy to put their heads down after that."
Alex Paul's 22-yard field goal with just under seven minutes to play looked to be all Glenelg would need to knock off the defending Class 3A state champions before the game-winning score.
"Our kids played hard, and I'm extremely proud of them," Glenelg coach Butch Schaffer said. "They are a tremendous football program. We just made too many mistakes to win against a great team."
The Howard County foes traded possession after possession, with neither squad reaching the red zone until late in the second half.
Senior Luke Cheswick led the Gladiators on defense with an interception and a fumble recovery in the first half.
No. 3 Meade 23, Glen Burnie 0: Kyle Evans had 12 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown to lead the visiting Mustangs (1-0) past the Gophers.
No. 4 Old Mill 35, Broadneck 21: Canaan Gebele had nine carries for 30 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort for the visiting Bruins (0-1).
Reginald F. Lewis 8, W.E.B. DuBois 6: The host Falcons (1-0) scored first, putting together the game-winning drive with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
Raquan Chavis completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Eldridge, and Rashard Ballard scored the 2-point conversion.
Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this article.