Smith, Howard bruise River Hill in 14-10 win RB shrugs off injury, scores two touchdowns


October 04, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Gerald Smith, Howard's franchise player, didn't practice all week because of a bruised hip and was a doubtful starter yesterday against River Hill.

Ignoring his pain, the junior running back did start, and he scored the second of his two touchdowns on a 20-yard run with 2: 25 to play to lead the Lions to a 14-10 victory.

"Jose Monzon threw the best block I ever got," Smith said of the winning touchdown run. "It was picture-perfect. I was a half-yard behind him. And he blocked one way and I went the other way."

The play was off-tackle to the right side, and Smith cut back to the left.

Monzon also figured prominently in Howard's first touchdown, when he ran 17 yards to River Hill's 28 on a fake punt in the second quarter. Four plays later, Smith ran 19 yards to the 1, and then scored with 4: 29 left in the half.

Howard's come-from-behind victory was essentially a defensive battle, however, featuring solid play from defensive linemen Anthony Aceves, Travis Irving, Garret Staples, Brian Carey, Jason Miller and Michael McAleese, an interception by free safety Antonio Queen and a fumble recovery by nose guard Barry Dagold.

"We were lucky to get away with a win," Howard coach Vince Parnell said. "Our defense kept us in it, and really only gave up a field goal."

Howard's defense came up big late in the third quarter when Blaine Wicklein broke up a potential touchdown pass on third-and-goal at the 7-yard line. Howard (4-1 overall, 3-1 league) held when Irving sacked River Hill quarterback Steve Glasgow on the next play.

And Wicklein's blind-side blitz of Glasgow in the fourth quarter caused a fumble that Howard recovered at River Hill's 9-yard line with just over five minutes to play.

Smith, held to 45 yards rushing on 14 carries, fumbled on the first play after that recovery.

But he got a second chance when River Hill punter John Mele was tackled before he could get off his kick after a low snap. Smith scored the game-winner on the next play.

River Hill (3-2, 2-2) suffered its second straight loss. This one was especially painful, because the Hawks led 10-0 after one quarter, and 10-8 deep into the fourth quarter.

River Hill's defense also played admirably, because Howard entered the game as the county's top-scoring team, averaging 32 points.

The Hawks' defense scored their only touchdown, on the third play of the game. Jake Adams intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards for the score.

In the third quarter, Adams intercepted another pass at Howard's 35-yard line, but the Hawks failed to convert.

On its first offensive possession, River Hill drove 72 yards on 14 plays to Howard's 6 before settling for Mele's 23-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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