It was nice while it lasted. It was brutal how it ended.
The St. Mary's football team had its eight-game winning streak snapped -- no, shattered -- at South River on Friday night, 40-7.
The Seahawks celebrated their homecoming by ripping through the Saints' defense for 374 total yards, including 279 on the ground. St. Mary's managed 194 yards, most coming long after the outcome had been decided.
"They kicked our butts, that's all," said St. Mary's coach Brad Best, whose team fell to 8-1. "We've been doing that all year, and they did it to us."
South River (5-3) kept its slim Class 3A Region IV playoff hopes alive in dominating fashion, building a 20-0 halftime lead against a St. Mary's team that had scored a county-high 220 points coming into the game.
The Seahawks found their greatest success running to the outside, where junior Chris Messineo gained most of his 113 yards. Backfield mate Larry Gross added 76 yards, including 61 in the first half.
"They just hooked our guys. They blocked us, and we didn't make the plays," Best said. "We knew what they were doing, but they just took it to us. It was a lesson in humility."
Was the winning streak a burden on the Saints?
"That may be true," Best said. "It's tough from week to week. These guys do a great job of not letting it show that it bothers them, but it may."
They don't have to worry about it anymore.
South River's first touchdown came with 5 minutes, 56 seconds left in the opening quarter, when Messineo burst up the middle for 15 yards and a score. The short drive began on the St. Mary's 41 after a Jake Cameron 41-yard punt return.
The Seahawks needed only three plays, including two Gross runs that netted 26 yards. Brian Hutson missed the extra point, and South River led, 6-0.
After St. Mary's was forced to punt, South River traveled 69 yards for another score, with Merlin Chaney (46 yards) going in from the 6 early in the second quarter.
Cameron's two-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
Chaney also had runs of 12 and eight yards on the series, and Gross picked up 26 yards on three carries.
Three consecutive interceptions ensued, including two by South River junior Ricky Brookman, who earlier had batted down a pass intended for an open Mike McClellan.
South River coach Dave Summey later would refer to Brookman as "one of the best defensive football players in the county."
After Brookman's second theft, the Seahawks marched 56 yards for their third touchdown.
Cameron completed his only pass of the half, hitting tight end Brian McElhenny in the end zone from 11 yards out.
McElhenny also was on the receiving end of the two-point conversion pass, despite triple coverage from Anthony Conte, Ward Eichelbeger and Chris Overend. He later added receptions of 52 and 20 yards.
"He's a first-year senior player," Summey said of McElhenny. "He could have made an impact last year. He's definitely an impact player."
St. Mary's scored on its first possession of the second half -- Joe Conte ran six yards for the touchdown -- and appeared to grab some momentum. But South River retaliated in quick fashion, using four plays and a Chaney nine-yard run to go up, 26-7.
It was the last St. Mary's would be heard from.
South River played without its second-leading rusher, Kevin Ferguson (418 yards), who missed the game for disciplinary reasons. But the ground attack hardly suffered.
The Seahawks were never better than Friday night.