WINFIELD -- Raphael Wall scored on a 4-yard touchdown run in overtime to give Wilde Lake High a 13-7 win over Damascus last night at South Carroll in the state Class 2A championship game before an overflow crowd estimated at 6,000.
Wall, who ran for 72 yards in the first half but was hampered by cramps in the second half, took a pitch from quarterback Phil White and burst up the middle for the score on Wilde Lake's third play in overtime.
"It was a 25-lead where I had the option to go inside or out," said Wall. "I saw a crack inside and tried to bowl someone over."
The Wildecats had just stopped Damascus when linebacker Ben Casella fell on a fumbled exchange by quarterback Matt Byrne and running back Scott Braham.
In overtime in high school football, each team gets the ball at the 10 with four chances to score a touchdown or kick a field goal.
Wall's touchdown run climaxed an exciting football game that was dominated by defense. It also gave Wilde Lake its second state title. The Wildecats also won in 1985.
"I just tried to suck it up," said Wall who ran for just 15 yards in the second half. "My calves kept cramping and the cramps just wouldn't go away. The legs were like rocks. I knew I was going back in. This is the state championship."
Last night's victory also avenged Wilde Lake's error-filled semifinal loss to Damascus in last year's state playoffs. It was the second straight year Damascus lost in the state final. J.M. Bennett beat the Hornets last year.
"This is a great moment for us," said Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall. "They were well-coached an played hard. I guess this makes up for last year when we came so close. It just feels great."
Wilde Lake led, 7-0, at the half but Damascus put together a 12-play, 89-yard drive to tie the score when Byrne scored from 2 yards out with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter. Dan Whitehead's PAT tied the game at 7-7.
Wilde Lake's defense limited Damascus to 199 yards total offense, although Byrne was on the mark completing seven of nine for 73 yards. Running back Bucky Clipper (6 feet, 240) ran for 91 yards on 14 carries.
"We bent but we wouldn't break," said defensive back Ricky Rowe who led the Wildecats charge along with Casella, linebacker Brent Guyton and defensive end Denny Trager. "Our defense is the best part of our team and went through so much this year. We knew we could stop their offense."
This was the second week in a row Wilde Lake's defense stepped to the fore. In last week's 14-12 semifinal win over Douglass the offense struggled with penalties and a smaller, quicker Douglass defense.
This week the Wildecats faced a defense that matched up in size and had some success but was limited to 64 yards total offense in the second half.
Wilde Lake had put together a seven-play, 53-yard drive to take its 7-0 first half lead.
Junior back Damon Hamlin scored from 15 yards out with 4:08 left in the second quarter after Wall had taken the ball from the 29 to the 15 with consecutive runs of 6 and 8 yards.
After gaining a total of just 10 yards on its first two drives Wilde Lake had much better success on its next two. The Wildecats put together a 56-yard drive that reached the Damascus 30 before ending on an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-13.
The next possession was the 53-yard scoring drive.
Damascus managed just 52 yards total offense in the first half.
Damascus' only scoring opportunity ended with a missed 28-yard field-goal attempt by Whitehead, who had kicked a 50-yarder earlier in the season. Damascus had driven to the Wildecats' 12 but managed just a 1-yard pass on a third-and-four. Coach Al Thomas opted for the field-goal try, which was wide left with 3:27 left in the first quarter.
Wall led the Wilde Lake offense in the first half with 72 yards on 13 carries, nearly doubling his 42-yard output against Douglass in last week's 14-12 semifinal win.