Football playoff push is on



Their playoff hopes dashed by a crushing, 15-14 loss at Long Reach two weeks ago, River Hill had to win its last two games and get some help to get into the Class 3A East regional playoff race.

It took only the next game to put River Hill back in it.

The Hawks' 22-7 victory over Mount Hebron on Friday, coupled with Annapolis losing 33-24 at North County, has given the Hawks new life. River Hill (8-1) has moved into fourth place in the region with 83 playoff points.

Long Reach (8-1) is third in Class 3A East with 85.6 points. Severna Park (90) and North Harford (87), both 8-1, are 1-2 in the region.

Annapolis is 6-3 in the region with 72 points after moving ahead of River Hill, but was upset, 33-24, at North County (5-4).

If the Hawks win at Howard (3-6) on Friday and Long Reach wins at Mount Hebron (5-4) on Friday, both teams should be in.

"Long Reach was a pretty tough loss with them taking the lead with 46 seconds left, and we missed the field goal with time running out," said River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen, whose Hawks bounced back against a good Mount Hebron team.

"We told the kids all week that Mount Hebron was a very good team with a great back in Chris Eccleston. Our defense played well and controlled them, keeping Eccleston out of long runs and holding him to just one touchdown."

Eccleston carried 17 times for 108 yards and his metro-area leading 24th touchdown. Eccleston, who also caught four passes for 103 yards, and the Vikings were stopped inside the 1-yard-line by the Hawks in the third period.

The goal-line stand set up an electrifying 99-yard touchdown pass between two cousins to give the Hawks a 14-0 lead. Junior quarterback Dan Hostetler, who went long distance twice to senior cousin Josh Hostetler, the first from 67 yards away, went practically the length of the field on the second one.

"I've never seen a ball spotted as close to the goal line as that after we made our goal-line stand," Van Deusen said. "We were still there on third down and our line had been pass-blocking well all day, so we went for it. We caught Eccleston on a safety blitz and Josh got open."

Josh Hostetler had three receptions for 191 yards.

Also, Nick Campanaro ran 18 times for 106 yards and a touchdown in the Hawks' victory.

Smith won't sweep

Reigning Class 2A state champion Alison Smith's bid for a sweep of the postseason ended when the Atholton junior turned her right ankle twice during her race at the Class 2A South regional cross country championships at Patuxent High on Thursday.

Smith, The Sun's Al-Metro Runner of the Year in cross country last fall, managed to finish second in 20 minutes, 34 seconds - 40 seconds behind winner and Patuxent senior Allison Parris - despite hobbling across the finish line.

"Her ankle is sore," said Elizabeth DeFrances, who co-coaches the Raiders with Neil Steen. "But we think she'll be OK for the state meet [at Hereford High School on Saturday]."

Glenelg C.S. reigns

Glenelg Country School claimed the Interscholastic Athletic Assocition of Maryland B Conference regular-season crown in girls tennis and also had a good showing at last week's championships.

Alex Hossick was the No. 1 singles runner-up, falling to Friends' Caroline Capute in straight sets in the finals. At No. 2 singles, Brittany Henderson came out on top with a 6-2, 6-2 win over John Carroll's Ally Davenfelzer.

Centennial still on top

Top-ranked Centennial won its 14th Howard County title, 3-1, over No. 3 Glenelg last week, the 10th crown under 12-year head coach Mike Bossom. The Eagles are going for their 14th regional title this week.

The defending state champion Eagles (15-1) are seeking to repeat as Class 3A East regional champs, which would be the ninth regional title under Bossom, in quest of the school's 12th state title, the eighth under Bossom.

"For us, its always been about the states, always been our main goal," said Eagles senior hitter Sarah Gregorini, who had 10 kills, five aces and 15 digs in the county final.

If Centennial is alive after tonight's action, the Eagles will host the regional final Friday night.

Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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