For starters, Long Reach swamps River Hill, 21-6 Lightning takes control in battle of new schools

September 08, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff

Never before had two new county schools opened in the same year and began the season with varsity football teams that played each other in their first game. And it will probably never happen again.

So when the Long Reach Lightning and the River Hill Hawks took the field yesterday amid sunny skies and a gentle breeze in Long Reach, the ample crowd buzzed with a particularly festive and anticipatory spirit.

The crowd didn't have to wait long for the first score. The Lightning's Devon Conwell recovered a fumble at River Hill's 27-yard line in the third series, and six plays later, with 4: 09 left in the first quarter, Trevor Randall scored from the 4-yard line.

With the first of two touchdowns by Randall, who carried 10 times for 75 yards, the Lightning was on its way to a 21-6 victory.

Long Reach (1-0) did it with 375 yards rushing and 135 yards passing. Conwell, a freshman, led all rushers with 17 carries for 107 yards.

Clarence Reid carried 12 times for 68 yards and one touchdown and had a two-point conversion. And Chris Smith gained 72 yards on six carries.

Long Reach quarterback Greg Matusewitch completed nine of 13 passes for 135 yards. Willy Bhafia caught four passes for 62 yards.

"We're like a family and we're committed," Conwell said. "We practiced even during the heavy rain yesterday [Friday]. River Hill played real well considering we had more talent."

River Hill (0-1) rallied to tie the game on a 10-play, 60-yard drive at the start of the second quarter. A roughing-the-passer penalty and an encroachment penalty against Long Reach helped the drive. Long Reach had seven major penalties, one of which wiped out a 33-yard touchdown run by Smith.

Quarterback Beau Pich scored River Hill's touchdown on fourth down from the 3-yard line.

On the next series Long Reach regained the lead, 14-6, on a power run by Randall and Reid's conversion run.

"We were inexperienced and not conditioned well enough," said River Hill running back and defensive back Mike Kelley. "They [Long Reach] were also faster and quicker."

Long Reach opened the game in a wing-T offense, and Matusewitch completed eight of 10 passes in that first half.

The Lightning switched to a ball-control power-I in the second half and that helped limit River Hill to just eight plays and 55 yards in the second half. The Hawks had 116 total yards.

"Long Reach's defense was good," River Hill coach Don Van Deusen said. "The offensive potential is there for us because Beau can throw, but we can't let him run all the time or he'll get injured."

Pich completed just two of 14 passes and threw one interception, although Long Reach could have intercepted four others. Pich was River Hill's leading rusher with 33 yards on four carries.

"We used six defensive backs against their run-and-shoot offense and dared them to run," Long Reach coach Pete Hughes said. "They were bigger on the line than us, but they started to tire in the second half. Our effort was impressive and I'm happy with the outcome."

Wilde Lake 29, St. Stephens 7: Derrick Bell completed six of seven for a 101 yards and three touchdowns as visiting Wilde Lake (1-0) defeated St. Stephens (0-1). Dain Lewis had sixteen carries for a 136 yards, a touchdown and rushed twice for 37 yards and two touchdowns.

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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