Hammond closes with victory, laments playoff berth it missed Bears beat Atholton, 10-0, finish 8-2, with 4 shutouts

November 12, 1995|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Hammond concluded its football season on a bittersweet note at Atholton yesterday.

The 10-0 victory, the Bears' fourth shutout, was sweet. So was tying the school record for most wins in a season.

But the knowledge that they are not going to the playoffs despite an 8-2 record was bitter.

"Our kids are excited about winning, but it left a bad taste not to make the playoffs," Hammond coach Joe Russo said. "Oakland Mills is 8-2 and they'll be top-seeded in their region."

The culprit for No. 15 Hammond was a weak non-league schedule against Dundalk, Eastern Tech and Rockville, and its own failure to beat Oakland Mills or Wilde Lake -- league opponents whose strong winning records could have given the Bears the extra playoff points they needed.

Dave Friedman, Vince Sharps and William Oliver led another strong Hammond defensive effort that ended Atholton's hopes for its first playoff since 1985.

Friedman was Hammond's most aggressive tackler. Sharps recovered a fumble in the first quarter that led to a 24-yard field goal by Josh Zillmer. And Oliver recovered a fumble with 3:22 left to play that ended all hope for No. 13 Atholton (7-3).

"They are real quick on defense," Atholton coach Kevin Kelly said. "We played hard but lost two fumbles. And we lost some concentration arguing with referees."

The referees twice called live plays dead for Atholton due to inadvertent whistles. One of the plays was a potential touchdown run.

Sean Williams' interception in the first quarter for the Raiders went for naught after Atholton turned it right back over on a fumble.

Both teams hurt themselves with penalties.

Hammond lost a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tim Spruill on a holding penalty and had to settle for a field goal. They also lost a 25-yard halfback option by Zillmer that was nullified by holding.

Atholton lost a big gain by Ricky Trott on a clipping call.

The Bears held Atholton to 109 yards rushing and minus-7 passing.

But Hammond's offense wasn't much better -- 31 yards passing and 104 yards rushing.

Zillmer led the way for Hammond with 53 yards on 10 carries. He also caught two passes for 33 yards.

His 16-yard catch on fourth down late in the third quarter led to the game's only touchdown. Hammond drove 41 yards on 13 plays for the score -- a 2-yard bootleg by Spruill.

"It was another defensive struggle," Russo said.

"Our defense has been great this season."

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