Sloppy field conditions and injuries dampened a showdown between Howard County's two unbeaten teams, but Wilde Lake's defense and special teams had the last word at Oakland Mills.
The Wildecats (10-0) allowed the Scorpions only three first downs and 17 net yards yesterday, as Wilde Lake won, 18-0, to take the county championship and record the first undefeated season in school history.
"We've been 9-1 six times, and we've been trying to go 10-0 for 18 years. This is great," said Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall, whose Wildecats will be the host team against an undetermined Class 2A quarterfinal opponent Saturday.
Wilde Lake has won two straight league titles, has won or shared eight of the last 11 and will go after its first state championship since 1985.
Oakland Mills fell to 9-1 and will play host to an undetermined 3A quarterfinal opponent Saturday.
A rain-soaked field and injuries to Oakland Mills running backs Korey Singleton and Eric Graham took some of the allure of the game billed as a battle between the area's two top runners -- Singleton and Wilde Lake's Raphael Wall.
Singleton, who entered the game leading the state with 1,817 yards and 24 touchdowns, was restricted to playing defense due to a bruised knee suffered last week against Glenelg. Graham, who had rushed for 640 yards, wore street clothes on the sidelines, thanks to a midweek doctor's examination that showed calcium deposits in his thigh.
That forced the Scorpions to turn to little-used sophomore Derrick Brooks, who had nowhere to run as Wilde Lake's defense spent most of the day in the Oakland Mills backfield. Brooks managed just 11 yards on 22 carries. Quarterback Joe Coughlan completed three of nine passes for 30 yards and was sacked four times for 32 yards.
Oakland Mills never crossed midfield. Its deepest penetration was its 45.
"There's not much we could do without No. 22 [Singleton]," said Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet, who decided after pre-game warm-ups that Singleton couldn't cut properly on the knee.
Wilde Lake's offense met a stiff challenge in the Scorpions, but the Wildecats -- who picked up 103 net yards -- used great special teams play and big plays to make the difference.
Wall, who entered the game with 1,504 yards, rushed for a season-low 42 yards on 14 attempts, but his second carry produced Wilde Lake's first touchdown. Joe Guyton set up the score midway through the first quarter with a 35-yard punt return to the Scorpions 10. Two plays later from the 1, Wall scored his 25th touchdown.
Wilde Lake then added nine critical points to its lead in the final minute of the first half. With 54 seconds remaining Oakland Mills was forced to punt from its 13. Ben Casella blocked the punt and the ball rolled out of the end zone for a safety.
After Damon Hamlin returned the ensuing kickoff 22 yards to the Scorpions' 45, Wilde Lake quarterback Phil White 19 yards on a crossing pattern to Oba McMillan, who made a sensational diving grab. Then, after a Wildecats timeout, White found Adam Tyer over the middle for a 26-yard scoring play that gave Wilde Lake a commanding, 15-0 halftime lead.
White added a 21-yard field goal with 4:55 left in the game.