Wilde Lake edges River Hill, 20-16, lifts record to 6-0

405 rushing yards help Wildecats pull out win


High Schools

October 13, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The 10th-ranked Wilde Lake football team attempted just three passes yesterday afternoon. Considering the Wildecats' talented group of runners, that may have been three throws too many.

Senior running backs A.J. Case, Austen Merrills and Brandon Bell and senior quarterback Hamp Fields combined to rush for 405 yards, and Case scored a 20-yard, game-winning touchdown with 1:28 to play as host Wilde Lake notched a 20-16 victory over River Hill in a Howard County League game.

Merrills paced Wilde Lake (6-0, 5-0 league) with 157 yards and a 75-yard touchdown run on 17 carries; Case had 114 yards on 15 carries; Bell added 76 yards and a 6-yard touchdown run on 12 carries; and Fields registered 58 yards on nine carries. The Wildecats gained just four yards through the air, and out-gained River Hill, 409-244, for the game.

River Hill (4-2, 4-2), which was led by junior Tim Morgan (19 carries, 63 yards), nevertheless led for much of the game and had a 16-14 fourth-quarter advantage after Fields missed a 21-yard field-goal attempt with 6:58 remaining after a 13-play, Wilde Lake drive.

But River Hill could only gain one first down and take 2:30 off the clock on its next possession, and the Wildecats responded with a seven-play, 61-yard drive leading to Case's winning touchdown.

"I saw the opening, my receiver gave me a block and I took it to the house," Case said of his off-tackle touchdown run. "We knew our defense was going to step it up and make the big plays."

River Hill had one final chance, needing to drive 78 yards in 1:18. But Hawks quarterback Chris Martin had injured his collarbone in the first half and could not throw the ball, according to River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen, and with 42 seconds remaining, Martin fumbled a botched pitch that Wilde Lake senior Grant Hendrich recovered.

"We were limited with what we could do," Van Deusen said. "Our backup quarterbacks are very inexperienced, so we thought if we could string a couple 10-yard runs to the outside together, since we had all three timeouts we thought we might be able to move it down the field."

Both teams executed their offenses surprisingly well, despite the fact that each had just two days of practice this week and the game was played on a muddy field with thick grass.

River Hill took leads of 7-0 on a 31-yard pass from Martin to Curt Gilliam, 13-7 on a 32-yard halfback option pass from Tom Perkins to Mike Barron and 16-14 on a 26-yard field goal by Joey Sowada.

"That's what we talk about: play until the very end of the game and the scoreboard will take care of itself," Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall said.

No. 13 Dundalk 40, Randallstown 13: The host Owls showed their unbeaten record isn't a fluke and established themselves as the team to beat in the Baltimore County 4A-3A league with an impressive victory over the Rams (4-2 overall, 3-2 league). Dundalk (6-0, 5-0) remained the lone unbeaten team in league play as it dealt a severe blow to the defending champion Rams' hopes of repeating.

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