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Campanaro Carries Load For Hawks

By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, October 6, 2007

After the final seconds had ticked away on River Hill's dominating 25-8 victory over Wilde Lake last night in Columbia, running back Michael Campanaro smiled and laughed as teammates slapped his shoulder pads, basking in the eighth-ranked Hawks' win in a key Howard County matchup that gave River Hill sole possession of first place in the league.

But just minutes before, Campanaro was writhing on the ground, pounding the field with his fists. With his uniform saturated with sweat and streaks of dirt and grass, he lifted his helmet from his head and alternately gasped for air and gritted his teeth. A cramp had seized his right calf.

"It was bulging out," said Campanaro, who bulldozed Wilde Lake's defense for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. "I've got to hydrate a little better next week. I felt it."

The drive that likely induced Campanaro's cramp started with 46 seconds remaining in the third quarter, when Campanaro carried the ball on 10 of his team's 12 plays. River Hill (5-0, 5-0) removed its quarterback from its pistol formation, and Campanaro received a direct snap each time. Despite knowing that he would run the ball each time, Wilde Lake's defense still had no answer for Campanaro. He racked up 76 yards on the drive and punched it in from the 1-yard line for the game's final score.

"There was plenty of time left on the clock and I just wanted to take this game over and end it," Campanaro said.

Wilde Lake (4-1, 4-1) entered last night's contest averaging 33 points per game, but managed only 93 yards and four first downs in the first half. The Wildecats found success on their second possession of the third quarter, moving the ball 80 yards and recording their only touchdown of the game when junior running back Jerrel Epps ran the ball in from the 4-yard line.

That score was the first River Hill's defense had allowed in five games.

"We came out in the second half and played like we should've played in the first half," said Wilde Lake's Cody Blue, a senior defensive lineman who had nine tackles. "If we played like that we probably would've won this game."

No. 8 River Hill 25, Wilde Lake 8 Turning Tides: Long winning streaks in Howard County are nothing new. While River Hill has won 35 of its last 36 regular season games against county opponents, Wilde Lake went 50-2 and won three 3A state titles between 1989 and '92, according to Wildecats Coach Doug DuVall. Complimentary Threat: River Hill running back Zach Martin recorded his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior had 113 yards on 19 carries. No. 8 River Hill 25, Wilde Lake 8 Turning Tides: Long winning streaks in Howard County are nothing new. While River Hill has won 35 of its last 36 regular season games against county opponents, Wilde Lake went 50-2 and won three 3A state titles between 1989 and '92, according to Wildecats Coach Doug DuVall. Complimentary Threat: River Hill running back Zach Martin recorded his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior had 113 yards on 19 carries.

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