No. 12 Wilde Lake and No. 17 Oakland Mills already had earned Maryland state football playoff berths going into yesterday's long-awaited battle between the Howard County unbeatens. So both teams had little to play for except shopping mall bragging rights.

The ugly weather and a knee injury to Oakland Mills's superb tailback, Korey Singleton, prevented him from adding to his season totals of 1,817 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. The Scorpions missed their offensive machine as they were handled easily by their league arch rivals, 18-0, before more than 3,500 at Oakland Mills.

Wilde Lake, a Class 2A school, improved to 10-0 overall and won the county title with an 8-0 record. Class 3A Oakland Mills dropped to 9-1, 7-1.

"I don't know if I prefer to win this one or the state title," said safety Ricky Rowe, who had an interception and teamed with Dennie Trager and Kenny Farace to limit the Singleton-less Scorpions to 63 total yards. "We live here and we wanted to win this one. We worked all week to stop Singleton. We didn't know he was not going to play."

Without Singleton, Rowe and Co. stopped the hosts cold. "I bruised my knee in last week's game and I couldn't cut," Singleton said. "I could move enough to play defense {linebacker}. . . . Wilde Lake's big plays beat us."

Rowe said he thought defense would be the key. Wilde Lake has allowed only 31 points and posted five shutouts.

Unfortunately for the Scorpions, there was nothing wrong with Raphael Wall, who was just behind Singleton in rushing with 1,502 yards and 24 touchdowns. The senior had his problems with the wet footing and managed only 45 yards on 15 carries. But his one-yard touchdown dive, after a nice 30-yard punt return by Joey Guyton, midway in the first period gave Wilde Lake all the points it needed.

Wilde Lake put the hosts in a deep hole late in the second period when Ben Casalla's punt out of a regular formation died at the Oakland Mills 17. The hosts couldn't move and had to punt. Farace burst through and blocked Joe Coughlin's kick. The ball rolled out of the end zone and Wilde Lake was credited with a safety and led, 8-0, with 54 seconds left in the half.

On the ensuing kickoff, Wilde Lake took possession at the hosts' 45. Phil White hit Adam Tyer for a 20-yard gain then threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Aba McMillon. White's conversion kick made it 15-0 with 10 seconds left and the Wildecats were in total command.

Forced to throw in the second half, Coughlin had no luck against the visitors. Neither team did much in the second half until White kicked a 20-yard field goal for the game's final points.