Maryland 3a semifinals

Linganore tops Hereford to reach state championship game

By Mike Frainie
Special to The Baltimore Sun
Friday, November 27, 2009; 11:37 PM

Hereford did a good job of staying close to host Linganore in the first half of Friday's 3A state semifinals. Then a gust of wind helped the Lancers build an insurmountable lead en route to a 41-9 victory over the visiting Bulls (10-2).

The victory earns the Lancers (13-0) a date with Huntingtown, which beat River Hill, 10-7, in the other semifinal, in the 3A final at M&T Bank Stadium next Saturday at 7 p.m.

Zack Zwinak rushed for 154 yards on 13 carries to pace the Lancers. Harold Williams led Hereford with 98 yards on 19 carries.

The Lancers led, 13-3, at intermission, and Linganore kicked off to begin the second half. Instead of booting it deep, place kicker Alex Eckard popped the ball up. It traveled about 15 yards before being getting caught in the wind and dying, then falling between a group of Bulls players.

The Lancers recovered the loose ball and scored on a Zwinak 44-yard touchdown run on the next play to put the game out of reach with 11 minutes 47 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

"That was a huge momentum changer for us," said Zwinak, a Penn State commit who is rated by several publications as the No. 1 fullback prospect in the nation. "We took advantage of our opportunities, and that was one of them."

The Lancers had used a Zwinak touchdown (six yards) and two Eckard field goals (36 and 24 yards) to build the lead in the first half. The Bulls mounted several long drives in the first half, but only came away with an Andrew Johns 27-yard field goal with 5:52 left in the half to show for their effort.

"We just muffed the kickoff," Hereford Coach Steve Turnbaugh said. "It just got caught up in the wind. They know how we play, and we know how they play. We moved the ball on them for most of the night. I'm proud of our kids and their effort."

"We made too many mistakes, and they capitalized on them," said Williams. "We gave them too many chances, and every time we did they cashed in on them."

For Zwinak, the state championship is a chance for redemption after dropping the 4A title game to Sherwood last season.

"It feels great to be going back," Zwinak said. "We know Huntingtown has a great team, so it'll be a tough week of practice for us. We know what we're capable of, though, so we'll see what happens."

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