Defense leads Bears to victory

October 02, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

Hammond allowed 276 yards of total offense. The Golden Bears moved the ball only 35 yards in the final 24 minutes before their final play yesterday.

Hammond leveled visiting Atholton, 26-7.

The game's final result is even more confusing because the Golden Bears didn't run an offensive play in the third quarter, and two of their last four drives produced negative yardage.

Hammond quarterback Tim Spruill wore a glove to protect a cut finger on his throwing hand and the Bears' starting running back/kicker, Josh Zillmer, left in the second quarter with a separated left shoulder.

But Hammond (3-1, 1-0 in the Howard County League) relies on its defense to match its offense in points scored, and it did.

The Golden Bears' defense forced five turnovers and scored 13 points, playing 31 of the game's 48 minutes.

"I like to call us opportunistic," Hammond coach Joe Russo said. "We're not that big that we are going to stop people out there, but we make the big plays."

Trailing 14-7, Atholton began the second half with a 16-play drive, consuming 64 yards and 9:12 to move to Hammond's 21-yard line.

After playing flawlessly in the drive, Atholton quarterback Jamie Burford tossed up a pass while being tackled by defensive lineman Jimmy Weston. Ron Gamble moved in front of Raiders running back Ricky Trott for the interception and ran it back 81 yards for the touchdown.

"I was just playing heads-up defense and got rewarded," Gamble said. "I knew I had to get to the end zone. If I got caught, it would have been the most embarrassing moment of my life."

After that interception, Burford was 2-for-7 with two interceptions as the run-oriented Raiders (3-1, 0-1) could not come back.

"It's hard to take," said Burford, who finished 11-for-20 but threw four interceptions.

Hammond opened the game with a seven-play, 72-yard drive, capped by Spruill's 2-yard touchdown scramble. The Golden Bears' offense then struggled for the remainder of the game and would move into Atholton territory in two of their last six drives. Spruill, however, ran 90 yards on a quarterback sneak with 25 seconds left, attempting only to run out the clock.

"Atholton had a good game plan, keeping the ball out of our hands," Russo said. "We were very fortunate."

The Raiders tied the game at 7 by driving 80 yards in 3:18. Burford, who was 3-for-3 with 25 yards on this possession, hit Mike Radford in the right corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.

Hammond answered by punting after three plays. The Golden Bears' defense responded on cue.

Linebacker William Oliver grabbed Burford on Atholton's 7-yard line, whipping him to the ground and causing a fumble. Picking up the loose ball on the 5-yard line, Mike Friedman scored to put Hammond ahead 14-7 with 8:16 left in the second quarter.

Centennial 33, Mount Hebron 2

Robbie Hauff rushed for 159 yards and scored four touchdowns, leading No. 15 Centennial (4-0) past host Mount Hebron (0-4). Centennial built a 26-0 halftime lead. Brian Dowell was seven of 12 passing for 119 yards.

Oakland Mills 27, Wilde Lake 7

Senior running back Jake Daft rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead host Oakland Mills (2-2) past Wilde Lake (1-3). Daft finished with 137 yards and Sammy Smith made three catches for 66 yards for Oakland Mills.

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