River Hill stays in chase, running off Centennial

Hawks eke out 21-14 win with 322-148 yardage edge


October 27, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Host River Hill kept its football playoff hopes alive yesterday with a difficult 21-14 victory over an improving Centennial team in a Howard County League game.

But as senior quarterback Chris Martin knows, the Hawks will need to improve in certain areas if they are to achieve those aspirations. The Hawks (6-2 overall, 5-2 league) must defeat Mount Hebron and Glenelg to have a shot at the Class 3A playoffs, and even an 8-2 finish will not guarantee them a spot.

"We've got to step it up in practice big time," said Martin, who scored on a 4-yard run in the third quarter that proved the difference. "We can't slack off; we can't act like it's a country club. Some guys didn't really realize the caliber of team Centennial is. We haven't been playing to our potential."

Martin rushed for 43 yards on 16 carries, completed two of three passes for 49 yards and delivered a vicious shot from his safety position to break up a pass on Centennial's potential game-tying drive in the final minute.

In all, the Hawks outgained Centennial 322-148 in total offense, but still needed to stop the Eagles (3-5, 2-5) twice in the fourth quarter after twice failing to score from inside the Centennial 3-yard line. Trailing 21-14, Centennial stopped River Hill on third-and-goal when junior Justin Dowell made the second of his two sacks, and Hawks kicker Joey Sowada left a 33-yard field-goal attempt short.

River Hill stopped Centennial in three plays and drove to the Eagles' 1-yard line, but Centennial earned one final chance with 1:13 remaining after Martin lost 3 yards on a rollout run. Needing to drive 96 yards in 73 seconds, the Eagles gained 32 before River Hill senior Matt Magen put the game away with his second interception.

Statistically, River Hill controlled the game. The Hawks ran 62 total plays to just 35 for Centennial. Junior Tim Morgan had 90 yards on 22 carries and gave the Hawks a 7-0 lead with a 3-yard touchdown run to cap the game's first possession.

River Hill junior Kyle Ramseur added 62 yards on five carries, and he gave the Hawks a 14-0 cushion with a 35-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Though Centennial went into halftime being outgained 200-44, the Eagles only trailed 14-7 as a result of a 12-yard touchdown pass from Scott Middleton to Pat Davis. In the third quarter, Davis scored again on a 1-yard run.

"It's tough to bounce back when you've dug yourselves a 14-0 hole in the first quarter like we did today," said Centennial coach Ross Hannon. "We showed a lot of heart and character against a team that has a chance to make the 3A playoffs."

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