River Hill springs upset, 20-19

Barnes' late kickoff return hands Oak. Mills 1st loss


High Schools

October 05, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

For the second straight week, River Hill staged a miraculous finish to steal a victory from one of Howard County's top football teams.

And for the second straight week, the Hawks' hero was Rogers Barnes.

In a battle of undefeated teams, Barnes returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to beat No. 3-ranked Oakland Mills before a large crowd yesterday at the Scorpions' homecoming celebration, 20-19.

The game-winning play began with 66 seconds remaining as Barnes scooped up a low bouncing kick, cut down the left sideline, received critical blocks from Ben Nowak and Kyle Ramseur, and outraced Oakland Mills speedster Tony Cole to the end zone.

Ryan Deiter, who had missed two field-goal attempts and an extra-point attempt, then kicked the game-winning extra point, but only after a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty against the Hawks.

"I looked back to see where Cole was and just ran as fast as I could," said Barnes, whose 55-yard touchdown catch with 55 seconds left last week forced overtime against Long Reach in a game River Hill won in four overtimes.

"In the huddle before the kickoff everyone said don't give up, and block. And they blocked," Barnes said.

It was the senior's first kickoff return for a touchdown, and allowed the No. 15 Hawks (5-0 overall, 5-0 league) to win for the first time on Oakland Mills' field and to pay back the Scorpions (4-1, 3-1) for spoiling River Hill's homecoming a season ago. The 5-0 start is the best ever for a River Hill team.

The return followed a 76-yard touchdown pass from Scorpions quarterback Nick Finney to Anthony Evans. Oakland Mills missed the extra-point kick, however, a miss that proved costly.

"They feel they're never out of a game now," said Hawks coach Brian Van Deusen. "Most teams would have given up. We were just hoping for a good return near midfield."

Cole ran by Barnes on the initial tackle attempt, but circled around and chased Barnes down the sideline, coming within a foot of catching him before missing on a diving tackle attempt at the 10-yard line.

Oakland Mills drove 37 yards to River Hill's 38-yard line in the closing 49 seconds, but two Finney passes fell incomplete in the final eight seconds.

"Rogers didn't get to play much last season because it was his first year playing," said Van Deusen. "He's got to be the surprise of the county this season."

Nowak also played a big role in Class 3A River Hill's win. In addition to the block on the kickoff return, he caught 10 passes for 70 yards and one touchdown and pressured Finney several times on pass rushes.

Oakland Mills, a Class 1A school, was unable to mount much of a running game. C. J. King was held to 43 yards on 14 carries.

But Finney had a huge day passing, completing 12 of 24 for 300 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Evans caught all three touchdown passes and finished with four catches for 167 yards.

Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet said: "Our specialty teams are killing us and we need to fix that or we're not going to win the games we need to win. Two weeks in a row now we couldn't kick an extra point. River Hill played a nice game but we didn't play well up front."

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