River Hill Runs Past, Shuts Down Rival

River Hill running back Zach Martin (213 yards, 27 carries) breaks loose for one of his three first-half touchdowns.
River Hill running back Zach Martin (213 yards, 27 carries) breaks loose for one of his three first-half touchdowns. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
By Daniel Lyght
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 7, 2006

A highly anticipated game between last season's Howard County co-champions quickly turned into a River Hill romp as the Hawks jumped to a 25-point halftime lead and beat 3A East Region rival Long Reach, 32-16.

Long Reach came into last night's game having scored the most points in the league (145 in four games), but River Hill's offense controlled the evening.

The visiting Hawks (5-0, 5-0 Howard) scored on four of their first five drives, leaving the Long Reach defense grasping for jerseys and a strategy to defend the inside and outside running combination of junior Zach Martin and sophomore Mike Campanaro.

"They're our rivals so this game is always huge, especially knowing that we knocked them out of the playoffs last year," Martin said. "Getting the momentum early was huge because we know if we lose, our chances for the playoffs are slimmer."

The key difference was the River Hill running game, which produced 383 yards. Martin accounted for 213 yards on 27 carries. He scored three times in the first half, from 7, 10 and 20 yards out. The other score came on Campanaro's fingertip bobble and catch that he took 75 yards to the end zone.

"We took what our O-line gave us and seeing those huge holes there could do nothing but make us smile," Martin said.

Long Reach Coach Pete Hughes said the holes in the defensive front were caused by poor adjustments to the Hawks' offensive formations.

"We worked all week but for some reason we never adjusted to their formations," Hughes said. "They were quick in lining up and that prevented us from recognizing the formations, but most of their big plays came when we were misaligned."

The Long Reach line came in with at least two defensive linemen weighing around 300 pounds, but River Hill left tackle Zach Robinson said his teammates on the line were not focused on size.

"We stuck to the game plan," Robinson said. "We had good communication even when they were changing fronts."

River Hill's defense came in with a tough reputation, having allowed just 16 points in four games. In the first half, the Lightning (3-2, 3-2) produced 53 yards of total offense.

"We looked good in the first three quarters then we let it slip," Martin said. "We always want that doughnut if we get a shutout -- as a team, nothing makes us happier."

River Hill 32 Long Reach 16 Quick Work: River Hill had three days to prepare for its rivals -- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Hawks played their homecoming game last Saturday and canceled practice Monday because of the Jewish holiday. Bragging Rights: River Hill has won five of the past six contests with Long Reach. Two of those meetings were one-point games.

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