Quarterback Brian McMahon scored the only touchdown and later made a critical defensive play to lead Atholton to the biggest upset of the high school football season so far, a 10-0 win over No. 3 River Hill on Friday night. The visiting Hawks had won 48 straight games against Howard County competition and had not lost to a county foe since 2005.
The unranked Raiders came into the game struggling a bit at 2-2, but getting the dream win for a county team set off a playofflike celebration.
"Our kids were thrilled. Everybody was on the field," Atholton coach Kyle Schmitt said. "I told them early in the week what it would feel like. The guys had a couple of rough Friday nights this season. Then you're hugging people you don't even know and shaking hands, and the kids were ecstatic. For me as a coach, to be able to watch them have a moment like that, it's the reason you coach."
Linebackers Steve Whiting, Brian Anthony and Adam D'Amico led the defensive effort against the Hawks (4-1), who had won 46 straight regular-season games. Their last loss to a Howard County team came on Oct. 29, 2005, to Long Reach, 15-14.
In the first quarter Friday night, McMahon scored the touchdown on a 6-yard keeper, and Brett Haas kicked the extra point and a second-quarter field goal to put the Raiders up 10-0 at the half. But Schmitt said McMahon made the "play of the game" by atoning for his own mistake in the second half.
"We were down on their 10-yard line," Schmitt said, "and we threw an interception on a screen pass, and our quarterback Brian McMahon took on two blockers and ran the kid down at about [Atholton's] 25-yard line. That was an incredible play. [River Hill then] went four downs, and we stopped them on a huge fourth-and-6."
The loss is only the second since 2006 for the Hawks, who went unbeated and won state Class 2A titles in 2007 and 2008 before falling to Huntingtown in last year's state Class 3A semifinal.
Dunbar 14, City 6: Dunbar kept things simple in its victory over City. The Poets played tough defense, got timely plays on offense and were able to walk off the field at Poly with a hard-earned victory.
"We just wanted to control the clock and control the line of scrimmage," Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said.
The Poets got a first-half touchdown run from Epe Henriques (9 yards) and another in the second half from JaQuan Holt (10 yards).
Henriques' touchdown was set up by a personal-foul call on City (4-1, 3-1) that gave Dunbar (4-1, 3-1) a first down at the Knights' 22. He scored four plays later and ran in for the 2-point conversion to give City an 8-6 lead.
The Poets finished with only 108 yards of total offense, but 78 came in the second half and helped them control the clock. Henriques came to Dunbar this year after playing a big role in helping Joppatowne make it to the state title game in 2009. He finished with 52 rushing yards Friday.
The defense controlled much of the game. Dunbar played hard up front and held City to only 77 yards of total offense, including just 27 in the second half. The Poets also forced three turnovers, one of which was Mikal Mayo's interception deep in City territory that gave them the ball at the Knights' 14-yard line.
Holt scored his touchdown four plays later, on the first play of the fourth quarter, to give Dunbar a 14-6 lead.
"They've got a great defense," City coach George Petrides said. "It's going to carry them a long way. Their defense is tough."
— Jeff Seidel
No. 7 Archbishop Spalding 37, St. Mary's 0: K.K. Smith scored three touchdowns for the Cavaliers (4-2), and nine players had sacks against the visiting Saints. St. Mary's offense was limited to minus-6 yards.
No. 2 Arundel 56, Annapolis 13: Nick Rosati threw five touchdown passes on 17-for-31 passing for 231 yards for the visiting Wildcats (5-0) against the Panthers. Tyler Washington caught three of the TD passes and had 110 yards receiving, while Romeo Harris caught the other two scores. Arundel forced four fumbles and recovered two and also intercepted two passes. Kenny Edwards led Arundel with 10 tackles. Michael Partilla and C.J. Brinkley had the interceptions. Keith Collins scored late in the second quarter for the Panthers on a 2-yard run and later on a 34-yard pass from Brandon Johnson.
No. 5 Broadneck 51, Glen Burnie 6: Ronnie VanMeter scored the first two touchdowns of the game for the Bruins (4-1) against the visiting Gophers (0-5). He scored on a 73-yard run on an option play and also from 21 yards out, collecting his fourth and fifth touchdowns for the season. Broadneck's defense held Glen Burnie to 51 yards and scored two touchdowns off fumbles and recorded a safety. Va'a Niumatalolo returned one of the fumbles 22 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Gophers' touchdown came on a 71-yard run by Walker in the third quarter.