You Should Have Seen
GREG NOWAK, RIVER HILL
The sophomore wide receiver had five catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, and made two interceptions at cornerback to lead his team to a 52-21 victory over then-No. 19 Long Reach on Saturday.
Nowak's brother, Ben, made his mark on county football last year. As a senior, he caught 62 passes for 673 yards and six touchdowns and was named All-County offensive player of the year.
"Greg's looking more and more like his brother every game," said senior quarterback Ben Hostetler. "They even wear the same number: 84."
Nowak's biggest reception came after Long Reach had pulled to within 31-21 early in the second half. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Nowak out-jumped a defender to grab a 30-yard touchdown pass from Hostetler and extend the lead to 38-21.
"I try to play like my brother, but I don't feel like I'm in his shadow because this is my first year playing receiver," said Ben. "I just try to get open and catch every ball that comes to me."
Nowak leads the county with 26 catches and six receiving touchdowns, and is second in receiving yards with 416, four behind Long Reach's Kenny King.
"I'd say this was the best game Ben has ever played," Coach Brian Van Deusen said. "In previous games, he showed his ability on offense, but if you look at what he did by making some big catches and also intercepting two passes, this was his most complete game. And he's only a sophomore, so he's going to be even better."
MATT WINGER, ATHOLTON
The senior running back rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries to lead his team to a 29-7 victory over Centennial, its first victory of the season.
Winger finished 29 yards shy of the school's single-game rushing record of 204, set by Ricky Trott in 1996.
Winger, who scored on a one-yard run midway through the third quarter to give his team a 22-0 lead, has rushed for a team-high 633 yards and three touchdowns on 108 carries this season.
"I was worried how well he would do because he hurt his wrist a few weeks ago and didn't play last week against Howard," Atholton Coach Chuck Fales said. "But he went out there and was pretty much unstoppable."
Though points had been at a premium for the county's lowest-scoring offense, the Gators' 42-0 victory over Reginald Lewis (Baltimore) was their best showing since becoming a varsity team last year.
The team had scored just 51 points in the first seven games of the season.
Senior running back Justin Carey rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns to lead an attack that rushed for 228 yards on 35 carries. Sophomore quarterback Matt Barbusca completed three of five passes for 56 yards, including touchdown passes of 15 yards to junior Travis Davis and 28 yards to senior D'Angelo Pierre.
"We needed to put up a big win for confidence sake," Coach Joe Lewis said. "We had a lot of kids play well, and when you're trying to build a team like we are, any time you can get your kids confident in what they're doing, it's important."
KYLE BARNETT, MOUNT HEBRON
The senior quarterback completed just four passes, but each play ended in the same place: the end zone.
Barnett, who attempted just eight passes, threw 52- and 32-yard scoring passes to junior Chris Eccleston and 69- and 19-yard touchdowns to Derek Chell.
"We knew looking at film we could throw on Glenelg, and we knew their defense couldn't stay with our receivers," Barnett said. "We could have done a few things better, but when you're up 28-0 at halftime, you can't ask for much more than that."
You Should See
RIVER HILL AT MOUNT HEBRON
7 p.m. Tomorrow
Howard's only undefeated teams meet for at least a share of the county title.
"Every week, the games keep getting bigger and bigger," River Hill Coach Brian Van Deusen said.
Just how big?
Don Disney, county coordinator of athletics, will meet with Mount Hebron officials to discuss ways to accommodate a crowd that could surpass the county record 5,500 fans who attended the Wilde Lake-Howard football game in 1974.
"We've had a lot of games in Howard County," Disney said. "But this might be the most anticipated game in the history of Howard County."
Mount Hebron, which last won a county title in 1982, and River Hill, last season's co-champion, have similar styles of play.
Mount Hebron has rushed for 1,887 yards and 28 touchdowns; River Hill has 1,515 yards on the ground and 25 scores. River Hill senior quarterback Ben Hostetler has thrown for 891 yards and 12 touchdowns; Mount Hebron senior Kyle Barnett has thrown for 733 yards and eight touchdowns.
"You have the two most balanced teams in the county, so you can't load up to stop River Hill's running game because they'll beat you with the passing game," Mount Hebron Coach Larry Luthe said. "It's the same way with us."
River Hill is also motivated by what happened last year.
Mount Hebron kicked a field goal with 1.5 seconds remaining for a 23-20 victory, costing the Hawks home field advantage in the playoffs.
"We haven't forgotten about last year," River Hill senior linebacker Ryan Deiter said.
"That was one of the toughest losses we've ever had, and now we're also playing for the county title, so this is just a huge game."
-- JON GALLO