After allowing 47 points and suffering one of its worst defeats a week ago against Wilde Lake, a young Oakland Mills football team bounced back yesterday to edge host River Hill in a defensive struggle, 14-8.
Spoiling River Hill's undefeated season, as well as its homecoming, the Scorpions avenged last season's first and only loss to the Hawks by being opportunistic and working hard on the line against a bigger, older opponent on a warm October day.
The running of C.J. King and key defensive efforts from Tony Cole and Archbishop Curley transfer Dominique Owens were highlights among the Scorpions' many contributors.
Oakland Mills (4-1 overall, 2-1 Howard County), the Class 1A state runner-up last season, was also aided when River Hill quarterback Chris Martin, the homecoming king, missed most of the second half with leg cramps. Martin almost never leaves the field for River Hill, punting, returning punts and kickoffs and playing defensive back.
"He's never had that problem [cramps] before," said River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen.
King, coming off two straight subpar games because of a sprained ankle, appeared sound while rushing 17 times for 103 yards. He broke a lot of tackles. And he rushed four times for 40 yards to spark a 72-yard scoring drive in the first quarter.
Teammate Dennis Lange rushed twice for 33 yards on that drive, including a 25-yard touchdown effort that put the Scorpions ahead 7-0 with 2:46 left in the first quarter. Lange had 53 yards for the game.
River Hill (4-1, 4-1), a Class 3A school, scored a safety with 9:44 left in the second quarter when Peter Perantonakis tackled Lange in the end zone.
Owens intercepted a tipped pass late in the second quarter and returned it 25 yards to the River Hill 11.
From there, King made runs of 9 and 2 yards to score, and Ben Bernier kicked his second extra point for a 14-2 Oakland Mills lead.
Owens, who played linebacker, blitzed several times and came up with four sacks to go with his interception.
Another player who gave the Hawks headaches was Tony Cole. His fourth-quarter tackle on a run by Tim Morgan on fourth-and-two stopped the Hawks 2 inches short of a first down at the Oakland Mills 41.
"[Cole] was little but quick, and he knifed in and messed up some of our counters," Van Deusen said.