3a State Semifinal
River Hill (11-1) at Gwynn Park (12-0)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
To the Winner: A berth in the state final at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Dec. 10 against either Westminster (11-1) or Baltimore City College (11-1).
Last Week: River Hill beat Severna Park, 34-28, in the East Region final; Gwynn Park defeated Lackey, 26-6, in the South Region final.
Offense: River Hill averages 31.9 points. Running back Nick Campanaro has rushed for more than 1,400 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. Quarterback Daniel Hostetler has thrown for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns and has 11 rushing touchdowns. Gwynn Park quarterback Andrew Banks has completed 70 of 138 passes for 1,406 yards with 21 touchdowns to lead an attack that averages 35.3 points. Banks's favorite targets are wide receiver Quinton McCree (31 catches, 790 yards, 11 touchdowns) and tight end Trevor Germany (18 catches, 291 yards, seven touchdowns). Yellow Jackets running back William Little has 676 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Defense: Gwynn Park has allowed opponents an average of just 5.4 points per game and has given up 13 points combined in two postseason games. Linebackers William Johnson, Little and University of Maryland-bound Adrian Moten are part of the fastest and biggest defense the Hawks will face this season, said Hawks Coach Brian Van Deusen. River Hill's defense allowed 10 touchdowns in its first 11 games but allowed four touchdowns and 245 passing yards against Severna Park, a team less formidable than Gwynn Park. The Hawks' defensive line -- led by B.J. Benning (10 sacks) and Jeff Wallin -- will have to control the line of scrimmage so linebackers Zach Martin (seven sacks, 20 tackles for loss), Peter Ridge and Greg Nowak have open lanes to the ball carrier.
Bottom Line: Gwynn Park, with possibly 10 Division I-bound seniors, may be the most talented public school in the state. But the Hawks have found ways to win close games all season and will arrive in Brandywine motivated for a game few people expect them to win, Ridge said. If the game is high scoring, Gwynn Park's speed gives the Yellow Jackets an advantage, but if River Hill's running game can control the clock, the Hawks have a chance to post the biggest win in school history.
-- JON GALLO