River Hill 21, Wilde Lake 7
On an evening when Howard County held an outdoor night sporting event at a school other than Howard for the first time in more than 40 years, River Hill quarterback Ben Hostetler and running back Tyler Martin stole the spotlight.
The senior duo shined under the newly installed stadium lights by combining to rush for 143 of their team's 213 yards and all three touchdowns in a 21-7 victory over Wilde Lake last night in Clarksville.
The defending county co-champion Hawks (5-0, 5-0 county), off to their best start in school history, posted just their second victory in nine meetings against Wilde Lake (2-2, 2-2).
"River Hill and Wilde Lake always play a good football game, but the fact that we're playing at night is what makes it special," Wilde Lake Coach Doug DuVall said. "It's definitely a big night for Howard County, one of the biggest we've ever had."
The standing-room only crowd of 3,000 was five times more than the county had averaged per game last year. Until yesterday, the county could hold outdoor sporting events at night only at Howard High, which had been the county's only school with a lighted field.
"You look at most of the counties that border Howard: Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Frederick, and they all have lights and play night games, and then there was us in Howard County," said DuVall, a Howard alumnus who played in the county's first night game 41 years ago. "We were like the stepchild that was different. High school football should be played on Friday night."
The game marks the first fruits of a year-long campaign to raise $1.085 million from the community to install stadium lights at each of the county's 11 high schools.
After Martin opened the scoring with an eight-yard scoring run in the first quarter, Wilde Lake tied the game on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Chris Forrest to Brandon Young with 1 minute 15 seconds left in the first half.
River Hill took control late in the third quarter when Hostetler scored on a 6-yard run with 1:05 remaining to give his team a 14-7 lead. On River Hill's next drive, Hostetler secured the victory with a 1-yard run with 9:09 remaining.
"This is just a huge win for us because it's the first night game," Martin said. "The game was amazing and the atmosphere was incredible. This is what playing under the lights is all about."