Class 3A

River Hill Dominates Against Franklin

By Rich Campbell
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 2, 2006

Senior quarterback Daniel Hostetler plays the lead role in No. 7 River Hill's offense, which utilizes a perfectly synchronized array of fakes, deceit and misdirection. Handing off the ball is only part of the play for him. The rest is make-believe.

Hostetler played his part to perfection last night, and his demonstrative, convincing fakes helped keep Franklin's defense off-balance in a 56-7 rout in the Maryland 3A semifinals in Clarksville.

"Daniel does an excellent job of carrying out the fakes," River Hill Coach Brian Van Deusen said. "A lot of times we get guys on the defense confused or out of position, and we're able to hit some big plays."

Like any good actor, Hostetler has refined his performance through repetition. His older brothers played for River Hill, and he has played in the Hawks' offense for four years, so he has mastered the art of faking a pass or handoff after actually giving the ball away to one of his speedy running backs.

"I'm pretty fluent with the plays," Hostetler said. "I know them by heart. Each year I remember to do more fakes, more deception, because I'm more comfortable with the plays."

River Hill (13-0) advanced to the state championship for the first time. The win was especially gratifying because the Hawks lost to Gwynn Park in last year's semifinals, blowing a 12-point fourth-quarter lead.

On a windy night, River Hill mounted a lead too large to lose. The Hawks dominated the first half on both sides of the ball against Franklin (10-3) and quickly ended any suspense.

With 42 seconds remaining before halftime, River Hill led 42-0 and had outgained Franklin, 306-17.

The Hawks scored touchdowns on each of their first four drives. Defensively, River Hill held James Madison-bound running back Scott Noble to 17 yards on 10 carries. Franklin, of Reisterstown, did not make a first down until 5 minutes 21 seconds remained in the first half.

Hostetler rushed for two touchdowns and 47 yards on five carries. He also completed 4 of 5 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

"We didn't take this team lightly," Hostetler said, "but we didn't expect anything but to win."

No. 7 River Hill 56 Franklin 7 Running Wild: Hawks junior running back Zach Martin had 137 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Sophomore Michael Campanaro caught a touchdown and ran for one. "All 56 points were because of [the offensive line]," Martin said. "They just pushed the defense back, wore them down and just pounded it all night." Up Next: River Hill will play No. 2 Friendly in the 3A title game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

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