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River Hill, Wilde Lake Will Be in a Rush

River Hill junior Michael Campanaro leads the area with 14 touchdowns, but he won't be the only productive runner on the field.
River Hill junior Michael Campanaro leads the area with 14 touchdowns, but he won't be the only productive runner on the field. (2006 Photo By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)

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By Dave Yanovitz
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, October 5, 2007

When River Hill and Wilde Lake, separated by four miles in Howard County, played last season, the game was a standoff for 3 1/2 quarters. Then River Hill's Zach Martin scored from eight yards for a 6-0 win. Wilde Lake wouldn't lose again but missed the 3A playoffs despite eight wins; River Hill made the 3A title game but lost to Friendly.

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Running the football will be paramount for both teams in tonight's rematch.

River Hill's big three of Martin, a senior, and juniors Michael Campanaro and Malek Redd have rushed for 1,266 yards in four games. Campanaro (587 yards) has scored the most touchdowns, 14, in the Washington area, one more than Surrattsville's Davin Meggett. Campanaro has 10 rushing touchdowns, 2 touchdown receptions and 2 punt returns for scores. He's also averaging 14 yards per carry, second in the area to Friendly's Josh Haden (16.3).

"It's a big game, and we've got to play well defensively," Wilde Lake senior linebacker O.J. Robinson said. "They've got three great running backs. We have to keep them out of their comfort zone and make them run plays they're not comfortable with."

Similarly, Wilde Lake (4-0) has a big three of its own: Senior Vaughn Stamper and juniors Jerrell Epps and Ashton Hayes have combined for 1,210 yards. Epps leads in yardage with 489, while Hayes has seven touchdowns.

"We're going to try to blow back their lineman and cause a blowup in the backfield," River Hill senior linebacker Ryan Bounds said.

Neither team passes much. Wilde Lake quarterback Danny March has attempted 11 passes this season; River Hill quarterback Luke Hostetler has thrown nine.

River Hill's defensive numbers speak for themselves: zero points allowed in four games. Eleanor Roosevelt is the only other Washington area team to have shut out all of its opponents this season. And offensively, River Hill is averaging 46 points per game.

River Hill (4-0) has dominated the 12-team Howard County league in recent years. The Hawks have won 34 of the past 35 regular season games against county opponents, including 16 in a row. The last team in the county to defeat River Hill was Long Reach, which came from 14 points down to beat the Hawks, 15-14, on Oct. 29, 2005.

"I look for it to be just a battle," Martin said.

No. 8 River Hill at Wilde Lake Tonight, 7 No. 8 River Hill at Wilde Lake Tonight, 7

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