Wilde Lake extended its winning streak to 17 games and maintained the area's No. 1 ranking with a 21-0 victory over injury-riddled, mistake-prone Oakland Mills yesterday at Wilde Lake.
The Wildecats (4-0), seeking their ninth Howard County title in the last 12 years and their second straight state championship, feasted on the poor health of their Columbia rivals with excellent defense.
Wilde Lake limited Oakland Mills to minus 10 yards, including minus 17 on the ground. The Wildecats, who likely killed any 3A playoff hopes for the Scorpions (1-3), allowed Oakland Mills to cross midfield only once.
The Scorpions entered the game badly hampered by injuries.
In last week's victory over Thomas Johnson, running back Kenya Edwards broke his arm and was declared out for the season. Akil Benjamin, another running back, severely sprained his ankle and missed yesterday's game. And quarterback Antwan Baker, who was ejected after a brief shoving incident with a Thomas Johnson player, complied with a county rule that forces a player tossed out of a game to sit out the following week.
To replace their backfield, the Scorpions switched Gregg Washington -- normally a wide receiver -- to quarterback. Kelly Sykes, normally a tight end, played fullback. Derrick Brooks, the Scorpions' usual backup tailback, started.
The results were less than impressive
Oakland Mills managed just four first downs and committed five turnovers, including a fumble Wilde Lake turned into a third-quarter touchdown. The Scorpions' best field position was their own 38. Their deepest penetration was the Wilde Lake 26. Washington completed one of 10 passes for 7 yards. Wilde Lake sacked him nine times and intercepted him once.
"I figured we had to hold them to 10 points, because I didn't think we could score more than that," said Oakland Mills coach Ken Klock. "They've got a pretty good defensive team, and we're really hurting in the skill positions. We've got a kid who has played quarterback for five days. We're going to have to win some games on defense."
The score would have been more lopsided had the Scorpions' defense -- which sacked Wilde Lake quarterback Phil White six times -- not kept Oakland Mills in the game early.
After Wilde Lake's opening drive stalled on the Oakland Mills 7 with a missed 25-yard field goal by George Bradford, Brooks (15 carries, 36 yards) lost fumbles on two of the Scorpions' first three plays, giving Wilde Lake possessions at the Oakland Mills 19 and 33. The Wildecats first chance ended with a blocked field goal. Their second opportunity ended with a punt.
The Wildecats finally scored midway through the second quarter. Bradford intercepted at midfield, and three plays later, Damon Hamlin (11 rushes, 81 yards) ran 27 yards for a touchdown. Bradford kicked the first of three extra points, and Wilde Lake took a 7-0 lead into halftime.
The Scorpions fell apart in the third quarter, as Wilde Lake sacked Washington five times. With 1 minute, 55 seconds left in the period, defensive back Paul Knox blitzed up the middle and hit Washington inside the Oakland Mills 5. The ball popped loose, and James Easterly fell on it in the end zone.
Wilde Lake finished the game in similar fashion late in the fourth period. Easterly caused the Scorpions' fourth fumble while sacking Washington on the Scorpions' 4. White ran 4 yards to complete the scoring with 1:22 left.
The Wildecats gained 178 yards. White completed nine of 18 passes for 100 yards. Hamlin also caught three passes for 52 yards.