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Punt, pass and win: River Hill shakes off slow start, downs Glenelg, 27-23

By Louis Nelson,

Points have not been hard to come by for River Hill this season, but early in Friday’s 27-23 road win over Glenelg, it seemed as though points might come at a premium.

The Hawks, who had yet to punt this season, opened the game with a three and out and punted on all three of their first-quarter possessions before fumbling the ball on the third play of the second quarter.

River Hill (5-0) mustered just 22 yards in the first quarter while Glenelg (2-3) jumped to a 7-0 lead on a drive highlighted by a 56-yard run by junior David Brookhart and punctuated by a five-yard run from senior Nick Crabill.

“We like playing in full games. That’s what we wanted,” River Hill quarterback Austin Altman said. “Our starters haven’t gone through a full fourth quarter yet and we knew Glenelg was going to come out and give us everything we could handle and they did in the first quarter.”

After watching his running backs struggle to keep their footing on the muddy Glenelg field, River Hill Coach Brian Van Deusen dialed up his passing game in the second quarter. After connecting on passes of 13 and 17 yards on the previous drive, Altman completed a 48-yard pass to senior running back Justin Arn to set up a 10-yard touchdown run two plays later from senior running back Evan Griffin to tie the game.

The Hawks took a 14-7 lead on their next drive, culminating an 80-yard drive with a pass from Altman to senior Nick Ball with 11 seconds left in the half.

“It was a confidence thing,” Altman said. “Once we realized that we made them bigger in our heads than what they really were, we knew that we needed to just play our game and things were going to go our way. So we started getting back to what we need to do, and coach called up great plays and things were clicking.”

River Hill put the game away in the second half with a pair of touchdowns, one in the third quarter on a one-yard run by Altman and another in the fourth on a five-yard run by Arn. Glenelg got its only other score of the game in the third quarter on a 65-yard kickoff return by Brookhart.

Altman finished the game with 12 completions on 19 attempts for 226 yards and a touchdown. The River Hill quarterback completed passes to just three receivers, Griffin, Arn and Ball, who finished with 68, 57 and 52 receiving yards, respectively. Arn finished as the leading rusher for the Hawks with 53 yards. Senior Stephen Osong finished close behind with 51 yards on the ground.

More coverage at Friday night scoreboard | Friday’s top rushers, passers, receivers No. 16 Seneca Valley upends No. 3 Quince Orchard, 12-9 No. 15 Damascus holds off Sherwood, 23-20 Stonewall Jackson sinks No. 13 Battlefield, 42-38 No. 9 Briar Woods dominates Tuscarora, 35-6 H.D. Woodson picks up first win, 32-8 over Wilson

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